Thursday, May 5, 2011

Will Oracle's Hudson Karma follow the project to Eclipse?

To borrow & adapt a line from the Supreme Court, "You know Karma when you see it".

Clearly, the Hudson project has had bad Karma hanging over it due to Oracle's moves that forced the re-creation of the project as Jenkins - The idea of forcing most of the community out did not sit well with people, and the resulting fast adoption of Jenkins as the default best open source CI offering in the market followed. See KK's slides for the rapid adoption of Jenkins –

What is surprising to me is that Eclipse has seemingly backed the proposal already (see comments from the Eclipse Foundation leads Mike Milinkovich and Ian Skerrett in the threads quoted below defending the proposal and trying to educate others on open source).

It surprises me on two levels. First, Eclipse has a deservedly sterling reputation. Maybe Karma does not transfer, but it seems to me that there is a risk to this reputation.

Second, given the reputation Eclipse has as a community builder, I would have expected some amount of communication and collaboration with the original Hudson community and the project creator, Kohsuke Kawaguchi. While it can be argued that Hudson and Jenkins are simply separate open source projects now with different communities, the Tweets and posts and blogs have been full of people wishing for the good old days of a single project. Perhaps Eclipse thought no notice beforehand and having behind the scenes discussions between companies for the past couple of months without involving anyone from the Jenkins community was the proper way of reaching out to the Jenkins community. Or maybe various corporate interests just want to try to have the Hudson project be resuscitated and brought back to life to compete with Jenkins.

The first day showed that the bad Karma may indeed follow the project into Eclipse. Here are a sampling of quotes:

"I'm just a Hudson and Jenkins user, but I did get the impression that Oracle did a hostile takeover from the original Hudson community. It left a negative impression.
I must admit that this move on Eclipse Foundation's behalf put EF in a negative light."

"Our team decided a month ago to switch to Jenkins as it was clear that Jenkins had more energy and support, and it was unclear where Hudson would end up."

"For me as an outsider the Hudson/Jenkins project is the baby of KK. I know a lot of other people have been involved in the project(s) but at the end of day it is KK and his incredible skills that drive the whole thing. What would Linux be without Linus or Python without Guido? Whatever will happen I will follow Jenkins and KK. It is not because of some irrational worship. It is about trust. I trust KK as I trust PJ of Groklaw, Linus Torvalds and many other in the opens source world. But I do not trust Oracle."

"From the owner change of Hudson to the Jenkins fork, some people say, it was a "heavy communication misfire" on both sides. I can't see that. Oracle clearly played hardball on the Trademark and what will go where and when. It backfired, and when lots of customers and devs left, there is was a 'Plan B': the move to Eclipse."

"Obviously, Oracle is hoping that there are many paths for success; they have already tried one with Hudson and failed, so they have no choice but to keep looking… However, dismissing the original community that was built around Hudson, is not likely to help them attain that goal."

"Mik: When you write “IP-clean, inviting, API-robust and long-lived” do you mean by that Jenkins is not IP-clean, not inviting, not API-robust and short lived?
You also write about meritocracy. Did you see the number of commits in the project and who made them? This is not an open source drama. It is about companies, or organizations (acting for companies) trying to gain ownership of something which is not theirs."

"What I'm questioning is what is Eclipse getting out of this?"

"the only meaningful reason to have Hudson at Eclipse is that this move will unity the Hudson/Jenkins community"

"Ha, what happened? Sonatype not doing the job well enough?"

"So nothing much has changed then except that are using the eclipse foundation as a white wash? So if the jenkins people came back their treatment would be different somehow?"

"Face it. Oracle is not Sun, does not want to be and never will be. They have proven this with so many very public examples in such a short amount of time that calling it a "conspiracy" insults us and makes you out to be a fool."

"Is this proposal basically about the trademark and not so much about the code or the community?"

"I don't understand what Eclipse Foundation is getting.
Wouldn't it be the similar to, say for example, any large company forking Jenkins, apply for Jenkins trademark, screw the rest of Jenkins community, then put some employees working on it, then propose to donate the project to Eclipse Foundation?"

"If there's such a thing as donating Hudson, surely it has to involve the original Hudson community."

"It's ironic Oracle can propose to donate something that's 90%+ coded by someone else, just because Oracle has the trademark."

"the only meaningful reason to have Hudson at Eclipse is that this move will unity the Hudson/Jenkins community"

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Cloud is the New Path to Open Source Monetization

To date there have been several ways to monetize open source projects:
- Don't. Just donate your time and code.
- Sugardaddy. Get a job at a big company that embeds your open source project in other products that make money.
- Services. Do consulting or training.
- "Pro" version. This is where most of the scalable open source businesses have gone like Red Hat, MySQL, JBoss, Spring, etc. This is typically some combination of support, packaging of bits, and enhanced features like the Red Hat or JBoss Network.

For those open source projects looking to expand, there was often frustration that only a few percent of the users who were all gaining value form the project would actually pay anything. This has limited growth. Look at RedHat being a $1B company and VMWare being a $2B+ (much younger) company. The reason is quite simple - there are free ways to get Red Hat's technology and you have to pay VMWare to get their technology.

Well, the Cloud has opened up a new avenue to monetize your open source project. When you offer your open source project as a hosted service, people are willing to pay you for that service. SauceLabs offering of Selenium is a great example of this.

This is one of the key strategies behind CloudBees. Not only are we offering a variety of open source projects like Jenkins, Maven and Git as cloud services, we are opening up our platform for other open source projects to also run in the Cloud.

Today, we announced our first open source cloud partner, Sonar. SonarSource is the company behind the leading open source project for doing code coverage analysis. The Cloud is a perfect deployment environment for this type of technology - where code analysis is done in bursts that may be quite resource intensive. So the pay-for-use model and no administrative and capital costs of the cloud is quite compelling.

CloudBees is greatly easing Sonar's transition to the Cloud. Our platform gives the project multi-tenancy and billing capabilities. In addition, many of our Jenkins-in-the-cloud users make use of Sonar and the integrated Sonar plug-in.

To be sure, the Cloud is not an instant path to monetization. Users have to migrate over according to their project schedules and hardware refresh cycles. For Jenkins, we have seen a powerful interest in Cloud deployment. Our customers April usage was double March (although still on relatively small numbers of about 1,500 users. However, if this growth continues over the next year it will produce a nice revenue stream - certainly int he neighborhood of the early JBoss days of selling training and documentation and a bit of phone support.

Here is a video demo.

We welcome other open source projects to engage with us. We have also just announced a free cloud development service for any open source project.