Letting the cat out of the bag

TomEE creator lifts lid on new company Tomitribe

Elliot Bentley
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David Blevins says his company’s mission is to support creation of “amazing” open source software.

Apache TomEE, the lightweight open source Java server, now has solid commercial backing in the form of Tomitribe. 

Formed by creator David Blevins and several contributors, this new company will provide enterprise support and training.

TomEE is an augmented version of Tomcat that – as the name suggests – embeds many Java EE technologies such as EJB, CDI and JSF. Having achieved Java EE 6 Web Profile certification, the Apache project debuted at JAX London 2011 and has since been integrated into Jelastic’s Java PaaS.

At JavaOne this week, Blevins has revealed further details of his new company, including how it was conceived and – crucially – how it will make money.

Tomitribe’s mission, says Blevins, is to encourage greater developer involvement in open source by “support[ing] them in creating amazing open source software”. This, says Blevins, should “come out of our [Tomitribe’s] time, not family time”. As such, the company’s business model appears designed not to squeeze massive profits out of the open source version’s success, but to fund full-time open source development on the project.

The company is not offering a commercial ‘enterprise’ edition of TomEE (not yet, at least). Instead, Tomitribe will provide paid consulting, training and support services for TomEE users, an approach which has supported many major open source projects but built few business empires. In addition to promoting its paid services, Tomitribe’s website also contains a free resource center gathering existing slides, tutorials and videos, with more content promised.

If Blevins can keep his new venture as lean as his software, this community-focused approach could push TomEE even further.

Ps. For an introduction to using TomEE, check out this JAXenter tutorial by Jonathan Gallimore (a TomEE contributor now employed by Tomitribe).

Photo by Josh Semans.

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