Sure, We've Made Mistakes

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-11-14 Print this article Print


What can you say about SpringSource's business plan going forward? And, with 20/20 hindsight, are there any decisions or things you wish you or SpringSource might have handled differently?

We are focused on being the leading company in enterprise Java. We'll be building out our software portfolio and bringing more products to market to help us do that. We'll be developing more and more software both in open source and in subscription add-ons around it.

Sure, we've made mistakes. We probably should have taken funding a year earlier. If we had done, we'd be maybe six months further down the track in building out our vision. But I don't have any major regrets.

What should we expect from the Covalent integration? Now that SpringSource employs the vast majority of the Tomcat committers, will we start to see tighter Tomcat/Spring Framework integration? Tighter Tomcat/dm Server integration?

Tomcat is used inside dm Server, so Tomcat is central to our server strategy. We're putting a lot of effort into improving the Tomcat ownership experience for our customers. Spring will remain portable, but certainly Tomcat/Spring is such a popular combination that we'll be putting a lot of effort there.

The Covalent integration has succeeded far beyond our expectations. Covalent had a great team, and we've retained all their permanent employees and have been recruiting into that part of our organization. We've gained a lot of deep support expertise, and have grown our involvement in the Apache community and projects such as ActiveMQ.

What was the reaction of your business partners to your new maintenance policy? Were you surprised by the negative reaction of the Spring community to your announcement of your new maintenance policy? Did you make any changes to the new policy based on the feedback from the community?

Our partners understood what we were doing and why, and they felt comfortable with it. I can't recall any partners who complained to us.

We did modify our initial policy based on feedback from the community, and I think the result is better for it. I don't think we did a great job initially of explaining to the community exactly what the changes meant to them, and I think that lack of clarity caused some of the reactions. We ended up with a fair solution that has been welcomed by the community, and we remain very community-driven.

In my blog about the maintenance policy one of the points I made was that I wish we could implement a policy that said: "If you are an organization deriving tremendous value from Spring by using it in large production environments, please send SpringSource a check for 1 percent of the value you are receiving by using Spring. We will use this money to pay salaries, grow our investment in open source and return a profit." But in reality, that won't work. We came up with a fair compromise.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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