Pratik has posted 5 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Groovy, Grails & SpringSource - Initial Thoughts

11.12.2008
| 10172 views |
  • submit to reddit

SpringSource today announced that it has purchased G2One, the folks who have been driving the development of Groovy and Grails. The following are my _initial_ thoughts, in no specific order, and perhaps of even less coherence.

  • This is awesome, it will help Groovy & Grails (GG) get into the enterprise. This will go a long way to ease adoption of dynamic languages for large corporations.
  • Worried that the SpringSource people will screw something up and my investment in learning GG will be for naught
  • Hoping that the SpringSource people will use their money and influence to *really* push the GG platform development. When I say "really" I mean: Grails 2.0 out in 6 months with a plehtora of improvements in speed, integration, and features in an even cleaner programming mode. And Groovy 2.0 out with the anticipated performance gains and then some, along with solidification of the platform.
  • Worried that Spring will become too entrenched in Grails such that other technologies would be difficult to integrate.
  • Hoping that my projects can continue to use both without worrying about license changes in the future. We signed up for the ride when it was liberally licensed (APL). Don't change it on us. Like most companies, we'll be happy to buy support, just don't violate the spirit of open-source that defines our arrangement today
  • Hoping that they do not sellout to "THE MAN" and go public or some nonsense like that. Why can't you build a company, develop and sell great projects, treat your customers and even free-loaders (open source leeches) with respect? Keep your employees happy, keep community happy, and still make tons of money. There's no need to be as big as Google or IBM. 
Let me finish by saying that I expect my above concerns will be addressed. I know some of the great people at SpringSource and I know they will do the right thing. More than anyone, they know that open-source starts and ends with community.
References
Published at DZone with permission of its author, Pratik Patel. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

Comments

Andrew McVeigh replied on Wed, 2008/11/12 - 5:49am

i'd be very surprised if SpringSource didn't go public. (Note that I have absolutely no inside information on this -- it's all my opinion). All the signs are there: seasoned VCs with extensive experience at public listings who are looking for stellar returns, early adherence to fiscal principles and watching cashflow etc, shrewd strategic acquisitions. perhaps it will go public when the market picks up -- early indications is that 2010 is the earliest that this will happen.

however, that doesn't have to mean badness or stopping the open source parts.

Jacek Furmankiewicz replied on Wed, 2008/11/12 - 8:14am in response to: Andrew McVeigh

Considerning I've been through one private-to-public experience in my career, this is something I do not wish to any Spring or Grails user (or employee for that matter).

Once VCs and public companies get into the picture, there is much less emphasis on software quality or innovation. It's all about "making the numbers" and squeezing every cent of revenue possible.

Perfectly valid approach for a commercial software company (nothing wrong with that, that's what they're here for, it's how we all get paid), but very bad news for any open-source infrastructure company (or its users in particular).

I guess it's time to start looking at EJB 3.1 seriously after all, just in case.

I think the people at G2One and SpringSource will be far less enthusiastic once they are forced to let one of their long-time colleagues go because they "didn't make the numbers this quarter".It's the often forgotten flipside of a buyout :-)

 

Andrew McVeigh replied on Wed, 2008/11/12 - 8:23am in response to: Jacek Furmankiewicz

Considerning I've been through one private-to-public experience in my career, this is something I do not wish to any Spring or Grails user.

Yes, i've seen a VC investment indirectly when I was consulting, and also seen how they pushed for either the company to go stellar or to fail. They blocked the company from continuing their profitable consulting activities, because it "doesn't scale" and pushed them full-time to make a product. The company was eventually sold on, but it seemed unpleasant at the end.

Once VCs and public companies get into the picture, there is much less emphasis on software quality or innovation. It's all about "making the numbers" and squeezing every cent of revenue possible.

I didn't get that feeling in the case I was involved with a bit. It seemed as long as the CEO and the CTO had the trust of the VCs they were ok with rethinking strategy etc. They gave them a lot of space. I guess it all depends on the VCs, as well. Looks like Rod and SpringSource have gone blue ribbon on this one -- they've picked benchmark and others, I think.

I also doubt that initially Rod would let it lead to lack of innovation. Who knows though? Everytime i've spoken to him, he's never seemed focussed on the money per se -- otherwise I guess he could have sold out already. To me, he has always seemed to regard the investment as a way to fund the innovation.

Who knows what happens though in a few years when it's very large and public?

Perfectly valid approach for a commercial software company (nothing wrong with that, that's what they're here for, it's how we all get paid), but very bad news for any open-source infrastructure company (or its users in particular).

I don't know. Some of the best open source stuff I've worked with has come out of commercial companies, where perhaps they saw giving the stuff away as a competitive advantage.

I guess it's time to start looking at EJB 3.1 seriously after all, just in case.

EJB3.X isn't too bad, actually. Then again, there are problems with many of the products in this space, although Glassfish is very nice.

Andrew

 

Jacek Furmankiewicz replied on Wed, 2008/11/12 - 9:52am in response to: Andrew McVeigh

You are assumming Rod and the gang still runs the show when they go public. Usually the "old" execs/leads are the first to go to make room for the new owners.

That's just the experience I had. Hope it goes better for them.

phil swenson replied on Wed, 2008/11/12 - 10:05am

I don't think you guys have to worry about SpringSource going public.  Right now the IPO market is dead and until the economy makes a big comeback, no one is going public.  A couple years ago the thinking was you need $100m in revenue to go public.  Now the VCs are saying $200m.

 I can't imagine SpringSource is close to $100m in revenue, let alone $200m.

Andrew McVeigh replied on Wed, 2008/11/12 - 10:30am in response to: phil swenson

from the previous interview with Rod on the acquisition of G2One:

We believe on our revenue projections that it's feasable that we will be able to go public in 2 or 3 years time when the public market comes back, so we need to ensure we are squeaky clean. We can't afford to cut any corners.

Cheers,
Andrew 

James Sugrue replied on Wed, 2008/11/12 - 10:44am in response to: Andrew McVeigh

Ya, Andrew's right. It really does seem like SpringSource will make a play to go public once the markets settle down. And I think that's a good thing.

phil swenson replied on Wed, 2008/11/12 - 11:07am in response to: James Sugrue

I stand by what I said.  Unless SOX gets repealed and the economy makes a huge turn-around (both would be good things), it's very tough to go public.  This isn't 2000.  Do you guys really think that SpringSource is doing anywhere near 100m in revenues?

Andrew McVeigh replied on Wed, 2008/11/12 - 11:28am in response to: phil swenson

Unless SOX gets repealed...

Why would repealing a law on financial transparency help revive the economy?  I work at a bank subject to it (US footprint even though it isn't US-based) and AFAIK it's not even an issue.

This isn't 2000.  Do you guys really think that SpringSource is doing anywhere near 100m in revenues?

I have no idea what their revenues are, as they are private.  No, i seriously doubt they are doing anywhere close to that at the moment.  However, the statement from Rod said 2-3yrs out.  The IPO market will come back eventually... 

Andrew

phil swenson replied on Wed, 2008/11/12 - 11:49am in response to: Andrew McVeigh

"Why would repealing a law on financial transparency help revive the economy?  I work at a bank subject to it (US footprint even though it isn't US-based) and AFAIK it's not even an issue."

Complying with SOX is very expensive.  Do a search on "SOX IPO" and you will find a lot of talk about how SOX has stifled the IPO market in the US.  Lots of companies are going public on the London Exchange to avoid the onerous SOX compliance costs.  Depends on how anal the lawyers are inside the corporation, but I have a CEO friend at an Internet company that wants to go public and to comply they banned IM, chatrooms, iTunes, any private software on your computer, no SaaS use by the company (because it's difficult to audit and backup), etc.  Big productivity hit.  Very anti-agile with all the documentation you have to do for every little thing.  And very expensive.   

 There are a lot of economists who think SOX was an overreaction to all the Enronish crap that went on in the early 2000s.

 "However, the statement from Rod said 2-3yrs out."

 Ya, don't forget that he's trying to convince enterprises that Spring Source is a safe, growing, stable company.  Enterprises don't like working with startups and small companies because they might go under, change direction, etc.  So he is in sales mode.  Also revenue projections are usually a shot in the dark for small companies.

I'm just naturally skeptical as I've worked for a handful of startups and have a lot of friends in the startup community, so I know how these guys are always in sales/optimisitc BS mode.

 

Andrew McVeigh replied on Wed, 2008/11/12 - 12:54pm in response to: phil swenson

Complying with SOX is very expensive.  Do a search on "SOX IPO" and you will find a lot of talk about how SOX has stifled the IPO market in the US.  Lots of companies are going public on the London Exchange to avoid the onerous SOX compliance costs.

Ah, that would explain it.  I'm in London, so people don't talk much about it.  And to the bank(s) I work for, Sarbox is just part of doing business in the US market.  There's a heck of a lot of other stuff (MFID etc) that affect them also, in more onerous ways.

I have a CEO friend at an Internet company that wants to go public and to comply they banned IM, chatrooms, iTunes, any private software on your computer

Yup, just like a bank. 

There are a lot of economists who think SOX was an overreaction to all the Enronish crap that went on in the early 2000s.

It didn't help much, based on the current situation :-(

Andrew 

 

Liezel Jane Jandayan replied on Tue, 2011/08/23 - 10:57pm

Grail helps development teams embrace agile methodologies, deliver quality applications in reduced amounts of time, and focus on what really matters: creating high quality, easy to use applications that delight users. Grails naturally complements Java application development since it is built on Spring and based on Groovy, the leading dynamic language for the Java platform.-Jonathan Berkowitz

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.