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Vert.x app framework properties siezed by VMware

Paul Krill | Jan. 10, 2013
Project leader Tim Fox left VMware for Red Hat and was told to hand over administrative rights associated with the technology; the companies are discussing a solution to the impasse

Vert.x, an event-driven open source application framework running on the Java Virtual Machine, has become the subject of a jurisdictional dispute after the leader of the project recently departed VMware for Red Hat. The two companies, though, say they are working on a path for the project moving forward.

In response to a request from VMware, Vert.x, project leader Tim Fox said in a Web post this week that he had transferred ownership of the vert.x domain, blog, and Google Group to VMware. He also did the same with the vert.x organization in GitHub. "This means I am no longer administrator of any of the above, although I am still able to 'manage' the Google group and commit to the projects under the Vert.x umbrella," he said.

Fox, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday, said he had received a letter from VMware lawyers, delivered in person, that he must relinquish the properties in question. He claimed he proposed VMware give him permission to continue to use the Vert.x trademark and domain after he left their employement, but this proposal was refused.

Geared to Web and enterprise development, Vert.x leverages open source projects, including the JRuby Ruby engine, Netty network IO technology, the Groovy language, and the Mozilla Rhino JavaScript and Jython Python engines. According to the Vert.x website, the framework offers a run time with "real concurrency and unrivaled performance." Developers can use such languages as Ruby, Java, JavaScript, and Python, with Scala and Clojure support planned.

Fox said he was "very concerned about the turn of events," adding that it creates uncertainty in the Vert.x community. "For now, I will continue leading the Vert.x community the best I can under these restrictions, but we, as a community need to consider what this means for the future of Vert.x and what is the best way to take the project forward."

VMware and Red Hat, meanwhile, are in active discussion about how to best support the project going forward, said Mark Little, vice president of Red Hat/JBoss, and Alexis Richards, senior director at VMware, in a joint online response to Fox's predicament. "We've been discussing various options, including whether to move the project to an open source software foundation, and would very much like to hear the views of the community." Both companies believe Fox's status as project lead remains an essential component of the project's success, the officials said.

Fox left VMware last month and started at Red Hat last week as a senior principal software engineer. "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 administer the Vert.x project after I had left their employment."


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