Things to Keep in Mind as a Vert.x Observer: You Don’t Know Anything


Great, so everybody in programming land is now jumping up and down about the evil RedHat and VMWare and freaking out about vert.x.  Predictably, all these commenters appear to be reactively comparing this to the Judson schism.  (Ugh.  It isn’t the same.)

In Chicago we have something called a “Gapers Block” – a term that a traffic reporter uses to describe a traffic jam due to people stopping to see the carnage.   This vert.x situation is today’s Gapers Block, and I’d suggest that people stop staring and try to keep traffic moving.

I know I’m going to get a lot of flack for writing this post, but 24 hours into this vert.x situation and the whole thing is starting to smell like Hudson v. Jenkins all over again.  Or is it?  Vert.x isn’t Hudson.  It doesn’t have nearly the following that Hudson had.   It is interesting, yes?   But, 95% of people jumping on this “trending topic” on Twitter and Hacker News probably don’t use it.

If you don’t know anything about the relationship that exists between Tim Fox and his former employer, you should stop pouring gasoline on the flame.   You don’t know anything about the situation between Tim Fox and his former employer so here are some things to keep in mind:

  • You have no idea what sort of employment agreement Fox was covered by when he worked for VMWare.   You don’t.
  • You have no idea what sort of actions Tim Fox took to inform his employer about his plans surrounding vert.x.  You just don’t.
  • You are an observer to a public open source struggle, that’s it.   Stop making ridiculous statements about situations you weren’t interested in yesterday that are founded on abstract ideals of open source and freedom.  Remember this: companies are not evil.

For VMWare and RedHat, you should reconsider.   I understand that you may have valid claims on vert.x, I do.  But, the project doesn’t seem large enough to warrant this much bad PR.   The project is Apache licensed, why don’t you just fork it, rename it, and don’t make such a fuss.   It isn’t like there’s a huge community to schism at this point.

For Tim Fox, this isn’t Hudson.  From what I can see there are few vert.x users, and you dominate the commit history.   If you are going to try to enlist the public in your struggle, why don’t you publish the following documents:  (1. Your employment agreement with whoever you worked for when you created vert.x, 2. Any legal documents you may have been served with.)   Playing this out in the court of public opinion isn’t a great option for you as both RedHat and VMWare do a lot for the community and have supported open source for years.

Hudson was different, it was already the most important open source Java project when the troubles started.  Vert.x, not so much.    Also, vert.x is very clearly covered under an Apache 2.0 license.  Fork the thing, rename it, and be done with it.