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Apache Beehive, XMLBeans and Open Source Strategy

Posted by cliff on September 17, 2004 at 1:36 AM PDT

So I've learned that I'm not so good at keeping a blog going, which is surprising since, in person, I can ramble on quite a bit: see an example of my rambling in a recent interview for TheServerSide linked from

If you don't have 38 minutes to watch the entire interview, but want to know more about Apache XMLBeans, Apache Beehive (which is currently incubating at Apache), how these projects relate to the JCP, or my views on open source strategy, you can just take your pick an individual clip. I'd certainly love to get any feedback.

I guess I should probably blog separately for each of these topics, but for now here's a quick thought on corporate use of open source:

I've seen a few articles in the media lately about companies that open source their products in order to end-of-life a product or produce a short burst of marketing excitement about a product that isn't going anywhere. While there are companies out there doing that, I can tell you that couldn't be farther from the truth about BEA's reasons for open sourcing XMLBeans and more recently, Beehive. There were many reasons to open source these projects (none of which have anything to do with charity, by the way):

  • grow the Java pie (a pie that BEA has a direct interest in) by making J2EE easier
  • remove any unintended lock-in concerns that customers might have by taking a proprietary innovation and removing the proprietary part
  • significantly enlarge the user base of the technology that our customers are already using today. A stronger ecosystem around the technologies that our products depend on means more value for our customers.
  • improve our competitive position by making our core programming model a required commodity. Lots to say about this one, but it will have to wait for another blog.

These are just a few reasons that have nothing to do with marketing or tossing a dying product over the wall. Instead, these are objectives that a corporation might use to provide more value to its shareholders, while also serving as an incentive for the corporation to do everything it can to make the open source community as strong and diverse as possible. Aligning strategic business objectives with the interests of open source communities is essential for the success of any serious corporate involvement in open source.

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