This morning, the software company Terracotta announced their acquisition by Software AG, one of the world's largest software vendors. Terracotta is the company behind some of the most widely used software for application scalability and performance, including some indispensable tools for Java developers—Ehcache and Quartz. One of the big questions following this acquisition is the future of these projects' open source nature.
According to a letter from the Terracotta CTO Ari Zilka, the technology provided by Terracotta "only gets better from here" for their community, customers, and the overall Java community. For their community members, Zilka is promising to continue strategic investments in open source technology used to improve performance and scale for its users’ applications. He promises that Terracotta will continue to host the same content that its community expects, and specifically plans to continue expanding on the "open source front".
For their customers, Zilka is promising to use Software AG's scale to bring better coverage and access directly from the Terracotta team. According to Zilka, the acquisition by Software AG gives Terracotta more resources to be effective in support and on the product front.
As for the Java community, Zilka promises that their products will integrate easily with
Software AGs existing products. He insists that Software AG and Terracotta are
working together to bring a new level of cost-effective and massive scale to the
existing Terracotta products by combining their resources.
While all of this news sounds great for Terracotta and its users, it still brings up the question of the software's open source nature. Now that Terracotta is owned by a large enterprise software company, will its products still stay open source? The FAQ on the press release answers this question directly by confirming that "the open source versions of each project will continue to be maintained and advanced". The creator of Ehcache, Greg Luck, confirms this: "Ehcache will remain available in its current two editions: open source under the Apache 2 license and commercial with value-add features. And of course it will get even more investment as part of the larger organization".
Zilka’s letter wants to convince developers that the Software AG acquisition will have a positive effect on the Terracotta community, their current customers, and the Java community at-large. Luck explains that the acquisition will not prevent him and Terracotta from "focusing on standardizing Java caching by leading the specification of JSR107" and implementing that directly into Ehcache.