Fork in the road?

Vert.x future uncertain after VMware IP issues

Chris Mayer

Now the creator has left VMware, where does it leave the asynchronous framework likened to node.js

The future of the asynchronous vert.x project appears
uncertain after the project’s creator, Tim Fox
alleged that VMware have claimed possession of the vert.x

Writing in the vert.x mailing list
, Fox says
that lawyers from ex-employers VMware delivered a letter to his
home asserting their rights to the rights to the vert.x IP (but not
the source code, which is under an Apache 2.0 license). It comes
soon after Fox’s move to competitors Red Hat.

The polyglot framework, which aids development of scalable
non-blocking applications, is heavily inspired by node.js, and has
generated significant community and enterprise interest since

1.0 release back in May 2012

Fox says he is left with no
alternative but to “immediately give up and transfer to VMware all
administrative rights” relating to the vert.x project. This
includes the
project, Google
, domain and

Fox wrote: “In the spirit of open source and as
a commitment to the Vert.x community I had expected (perhaps
naively) that VMware would continue to let me continue to
administer the Vert.x project after I had left their

However, according to Fox, further talks between the two
parties have “failed to come to a better solution.”

JAXenter approached VMware for a comment on the situation,
but had yet to hear back by the time of going to

Fox said he was “very concerned about this turn of events”
that he empathised with those in the
community for the “uncertainty” it has created.

The announcement spread through Twitter like wildfire, with
notable industry heads having their say:

Fox later posted a second message to the mailing list that there
were two options available for Vert.x – fork the project under a
new name, or find a neutral organisation (ie. not VMware or Red
Hat) to host it. He also assured the community that Vert.x is not
going to disappear altogether.

The similarities between this situation and that of the
Hudson/Jenkins fork cannot be ignored. In 2010, some of the
community behind continuous integration server project Hudson were
concerned about Oracle’s perceived control of the Hudson trademark,
which they acquired
in its Sun Microsystems purchase.
The community voted in favour of a new name Jenkins, while Oracle
said they’d continue with Hudson, creating a fork.

Will we see a similar fork of
vert.x in the distant future? It looks likely, with the project
continuing to acquire attention for its fresh approach to
application development. A fork wouldn’t be too harmful so early in
vert.x’s lifespan too.

Hopefully a resolution can be found, and that the community
finds a way to continue with vert.x, in whatever guise that may

Image courtesy of dvs

comments powered by Disqus