The merger between ObjectWeb, an open source consortium and Orientware, a Chinese IT Institute, was announced yesterday. The newly formed entity will operate as the OW2 Consortium and will extend the technical collaboration partnership established between the two sides last year.
Here is a list of OW2's principles as per the ObjectWeb site:
- enhanced commitment from the members, through three levels of membership (Strategic, Corporate and Individual)
- deliberate market awareness with the underlying rationale to bridge the gap between enterprise developers and users
- a refined governance model promoting increased participation from the community, with three councils addressing technology, ecosystem development and operations
- possibilities to create local chapters so to facilitate international development in a decentralized way.
ObjectWeb, is most recognized for its work with the open source Java application server, JoNAS, but has also released message oriented middleware (JORAM JMS) as well as a Java/XML application and webservice SOA server (Enhydra). Orientware, which operates as a consortium of Chinese universities and software companies who write open-source middleware, has been focused on providing "...a
comprehensive middleware platform for the Chinese national information
infrastructure that could challenge its foreign counterparties with
respect to performance and functionality."
This move has some interesting implications on the role that organizations in both EUR and ASP regions will play in terms of accelerating the growth of commercially backed open source efforts. From my perspective, China represents a potentially vast hotbed for open source growth, but one which is currently in a state of transition that complicates the act of fulfilling such potential. By merging with ObjectWeb, I'm looking for Orientware to leverage what is left of members of the French consortium as a channel through which to better expose its members, as well as the Chinese open source landscape in general, to a larger portion of the open source community. Also, look for outside parties to recognize the merger as a two-way bridge into what is developing into what already is a huge opportunity for the global open source community. This can undoubtedly bode well for OW2, as it has moved from being government funded to relying on membership dues and the more interest the better.
Obviously, the newly formed consortium will need time to settle and gel, so I am initially skeptical about how this will affect the output from communities like JoNAS. For all of its potential, I wonder how OW2 is going to absorb ObjectWeb without hurting the quality of its offerings. However, since I haven't spoken to anyone from OW2 I'm not informed enough to even speculate how the new entity plans to deal with such issues. Strategically, OW2 might fare best by ensuring that the merger only affects the composition of the consortium without filtering down negatively to the individual community level.
Regardless of the outcome, the merger will provide valuable metrics about how ready global open source focused organizations are for the type of global restructuring that have typically been the domain of larger types on the proprietary side of the fence. Nonetheless, we're keeping a close eye on any developments here at Entiva and will continue in the meantime.