Mashup Down Under

01 August 2007

business java tools

Picture 13.pngMike "JIRA JIRA JIRA" Cannon-Brookes pinged me on IM tonight to let me know that Atlassian has acquired Cenqua. Cenqua, as you might know, makes the fancy-dandy FishEye product for viewing source repositories. Atlassian is the Australian wiki/bug-tracking giant run by stylish surfers.

Congrats to both groups. I enjoyed having beers with the Cenqua kids at JavaOne this year.

A More Pronouncable Maven Corp

19 April 2007

business java maven opensource

Today, my Canadian friend Jason van Zyl announced his new company based around all things maven.

Jason, as you may know, is the founder of both Maven and the first maven-centric company, Mergere. For some history, Mergere was a child of Simula Labs. Simula started life as a VC-ish incubator, but now seems to be some sort of opensource delivery plumbing, particularly after selling LogicBlaze off to IONA last week.

After his stint in LA, Jason returned to his Canadian motherland and enjoyed a brief respite before launching Sonatype today.


He says he's happy to have Sonatype be classified as a training company, but ultimately he's building out a vast partners network to help make maven pervasive. While they are working on projects with some top-shelf clients, they generally prefer to find partners to provide professional services.

I think this open attitude and approach towards other commercial interests within the maven project ecosystem is absolutely correct. Jason is ultimately the outbreak monkey for maven, and how he deals with his community will make or break any commercial effort. As the entire market for maven-related stuff grows, it will require many players to thrive, not just a single dominant controlling organization. I think Sonatype is heading down the right path by becoming a natural commercial nexus instead of attempting to become a 10,000 lbs gorilla.

Disclosure: Jason's a good friend and co-founder of the Codehaus, so I'm not unbiased.

Trip Report: TSSJS Vegas

24 March 2007

business community events jboss opensource traveling

tssjs_bob.jpg Just got back from Vegas, where I participated on a panel about opensource and business at TheServerSide Java Symposium. It involved five of us from businesses that were related to opensource in some form. It did not include Geir Magnusson, who apparently had better things to do.

Questions that Joe Ottinger and the audience threw at us ran the gamut from business strategy to licensing minutia. On the topic of how each contributes back to the community, JBoss, Interface21, and Liferay obviously employ developers, while SpikeSource primarily upstreams improvements, since they are basically just expert community members.

tssjs_dan.jpg I think an audience member brought up the idea of the company "holding documentation hostage" for paying customers. Most everyone agreed that ultimately it depends on what you view your business as. If a company holds its docs hostage, someone else will ultimately create some competing docs. It might be the community. It could be a book publisher, who is an expert in creating fantastic docs and holding them hostage until you pay the cover price. That's how O'Reilly, APress, Manning and other companies participate in opensource.

One audience question involved how to define success in an opensource company. Once again, we all seemed to violently agree that success is defined just as for any other company. Profit! It's a dirty but true secret. Companies try to make profits. Opensource is just a method of software development, not a complete business model.

tssjs_dion.jpg The issue of trademarks did arise. I'm not going to poke the bear here, but company counsel has replied on some of the other blogs out there.

On a different note, I finally got to meet Hani Suleiman, Ross Mason and Mike Cannon-Brookes in person. I ran into Dan Diephouse, Dion Almaer, Jonas Bon and Geert Bevin again.

Only lost $90 on the slots between me and my wife.