The article is well worth a read, and provides a great peg for something I noticed earlier this week, when I got a press release from a new open source sales and marketing automation startup called LoopFuse. We’ll be getting briefed by LoopFuse in the new year, but what caught my eye was the people behind the firm – Roy Russo and Tom Elrod. Given that Roy and Tom led the JBoss Portal and JBoss remoting projects this seemed like pretty big news to me. Are options vesting or something?
Certainly the departure of key JBoss developers and architects from Red Hat is a big loss. At any software company losing talent hurts, but so much of the JBoss mythos was built around the Cult of the Committer that to lose core team-members is even more of a big deal. It was always touted as a core JBoss advantage that the people that wrote the code worked at the firm. As VARGuy puts it: “Red Hat needs to keep Jboss evangelists happy.”
Intriguingly, Asay is on the board of LoopFuse, but doesn’t talk to this angle on his blog. Not sure why Matt initially discounts Apache Tomcat in the piece, which really is the leading open-source application server, but he gets to it.
Its no surprise to see JBoss being marked down by investment analysts. But if it starts to lose more committers it may have a real problem on its hands. Arguably the new business model has significantly evolved from the Fleury Era cult of personality, but in the open source world it is still a massive boon to have core developers on staff. I am not saying JBoss is dead or anything silly like that- but the situation is certainly interesting.
One other push-back against Matt. He says BEA has no future as a standalone player. Yet what of Red Hat-any number of tech firms could swallow it. Next year we’re going to see some major industry shifts in the commercial open source space, and a Red Hat acquisition is quite possible, especially if the investment analysts continue to downgrade the stock as a player in its own right. I wonder if these analysts have also caught wind of the very faint whispers I have heard that IBM finally preparing its own Linux distribution. Not sure what else would spook the herd. Unless, as vendorprisey just suggested on the phone, this could be a symptom of the current credit crunch. Capital is really hard to come by, for building a business (the mode Red Hat is in). BEA on the other hand has pretty reasonable cash flow.
Charles Phillips surely has a price in mind at which would bid for Red Hat. If you can’t beat them.. We already know what the BEA offer looked like.