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New negotiations

Will Groovy soon be an Eclipse or Apache project?

JAX Editorial Team
Meeting image via Shutterstock

As Pivotal’s final weeks of Groovy sponsorship draw to an end, the latest developments show a promising outlook in terms of new funding and movement. But who is set to take up the Groovy sponsorship reigns and what are the expectations for the jump?

In mid-January, Pivotal announced that it would no longer be sponsoring the open-source projects Groovy and Grails after their latest releases in March. The software company has been looking to concentrate their resources in other areas, such as Data and Agile development.

On top of this, it has recently been revealed that Codehaus will be shutting down, although no clear date has been set. For Groovy, this means moving off the Codehaus infrastructure quickly. Yet the question still remains: Who will take on the project?

Eclipse, Apache or SFConservancy?

On Wednesday, Cédric Champeau published an open letter to the community presenting the options available to the Groovy development team in terms of programming. Regardless of whether and how further funding can come about, Groovy is set to move to a foundation.

There are three candidates on the shortlist:

  1. The Apache Foundation
  2. The Eclipse Foundation
  3. The Software Freedom Conservancy, which is home to Git and Mercurial

Weighing up the pros and cons like this is reminiscent of the situation that the Vert.x project found itself in two years ago. Project manager Tim Fox, who moved from original Vert.x sponsor VMware to rival Red Hat, was caught up in all sorts of issues resulting from the move. It’s probably due to this that Vert.x developer Stuart Williams is amongst the chatter and feedback in the open thread.

SFConservancy as a favourite?

The Groovy team has quite precise expectations of it’s new home, which Champeau specifies in his online post. It’s important to him that the JVM-language continues to be under the Apache 2.0 license, as well as not needing to adhere to any strict requirements in terms of governance by any foundation. The latter would be the case with Apache and Eclipse, while the Software Freedom Conservancy offers their projects greater freedom.

In other areas – infrastructure, tools, project history – SFConservancy seems like a firm favourite for the Groovy language to step into. With their laissez-faire principles, they would demand less from the Groovy team and not impose any unwanted processes. The Apache Foundation, and especially the Eclipse Foundation, are much more restrictive in certain areas, at least through the eyes of Champeau.

SEE ALSO: Groovy 2.4 is here

But the SFConservancy has its disadvantages: No provided infrastructure is available, meaning the Groovy team would have to build their own. This takes time. And money.

None of the above three foundation options have been excluded just yet, something Champeau emphasized on the thread. The decision process is completely open; it’s to be driven by contributions and feedback from the community that can be posted online here.

Enter Google stage right

To add another player to the mix, Peter Ledbrook has shared his thoughts on Groovy’s future and how Google would be the right candidate as the new sponsor of the language. While this isn’t a certainty, Ledbrook believes that picking up Groovy is something Google should think about:

Of course, I don’t know whether that will happen, but in light of Swift for iOS development, I think it’s something that Google should definitely consider. I’m sure a more productive and expressive alternative to Java would be more than welcome within the Android development community and it fits nicely with their use of Gradle for the build system.

With Groovy reaching a stable place in its current development, the forecast is looking positive in the eyes of many Java developers and aficionados.

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