Unwavering Commitment to Open Systems

Unwavering Commitment to Open Systems

By Jen Wiese, Community Engagement Manager

June 2021

After about a year of development, version 1.0 of the Grails® framework was released in February of 2008. From the very beginning the Framework has been 100% free and open source software, a model that was as important to the team back then as it is today.

Today, with Puneet Behl driving the Grails framework forward as Object Computing’s technical development lead, the open platform supports a very active and prolific community, which has published close to 2,000 plugins to expand and customize the Framework’s capabilities. Since the beginning, the community of users, plugin authors, and core developers has, as a team, been collectively responsible for the success and longevity that the Framework continues to have.

In 2015 Object Computing became the home to the Grails framework. The values expressed through the technology's capabilities, licensing model, and open community being a perfect fit with Object Computing's values made this unification a tremendous fit. The team later brought Apache Groovy V.P. and Chair of Groovy PMC Paul King to Object Computing to invest in the continued growth and reach of Apache Groovy.

The advancements that Groovy and the Grails framework have accomplished in recent years would not have been achievable if not for the dedication and innovativeness of the development team and would not have been possible without the investment support needed to continue accelerating these technologies.

More than a decade after version 1.0 of the Grails framework was released, Object Computing set out to create another developer framework. This time the ambition was to improve the experience around developing and deploying microservices and serverless applications, with particular focus on runtime performance, developer productivity, tight integration with all of the major cloud providers, and creation of deployments with considerably lower costs associated with them compared to similar applications built with other technologies when deployed to the cloud.

Object Computing launched the effort with Grails framework co-founder Graeme Rocher as the technical development lead. After a couple of decades innovating and supporting the Grails framework, Graeme was able to apply many lessons learned to shorten the amount of time that it took for the team to develop the initial releases of the Framework. His thought leadership, technical expertise, and innovative spirit got the Framework up and running quickly.

The project eventually became the Micronaut® framework and we released 1.0 in October of 2018. Again we released the Framework as 100% free and open source software, and again the technology has quickly grown a passionate and productive community, driving adoption and many successful implementations. Today James Kleeh is Object Computing’s technical development lead for the Micronaut framework, and the technology is progressing tremendously well with James’ technical leadership.

These Frameworks are truly innovative technologies that continue to help organizations and individuals create tremendous value. 

At Object Computing, we embrace the idea that all of us is better than any one of us. The successes of these developer frameworks are among many examples of that principle being proven out. Together, we all can do so much more than the sum of what each of us would be able to do individually. We have been advocating for, developing, and supporting free and open source software since the organization’s first days in 1993. 

In 2021, many organizations in the world embrace open source technology, but that was not the case in 1993. The priorities of openness and community really have driven almost every aspect of Object Computing’s progress over the past 28 years. Our commitment to advocating for and supporting free and open source software is a foundational priority that will not change. It is an important part of who we are as an organization and as individuals.

In 2020 we launched two separate foundations to propel the advancement of these technologies and to ensure their continued governance and sustainability. Those were the Micronaut Foundation and the Grails Foundation

The goals of these Foundations are the same:

  • Ensure technical innovation and advancement of the Framework as a free and open public-use software development toolkit for a growing global community
  • Evangelize and promote the Framework as a leading technology in the JVM space
  • Build and support an ecosystem of complementary documentation, functionality, and services

Each of the Foundations includes a volunteer Technology Advisory Board made up of thought leaders and representatives from different sectors of the technology industry. Pulling together that group of folks with diverse experiences, priorities, and areas of expertise is a huge win for the technology and the community.

Another important role that the Foundations play in the evolution of these technologies is funding much of the core development work that is done. A team of engineers and evangelists and technical writers and system administrators and all of the other roles necessary to enable success of free technology is no less expensive to grow and maintain than it would be for commercial software. Having a team of people dedicated full time to the success and longevity of the technology is critical and, of course, is not free. The initial cash investment into these Foundations from Object Computing in 2020 was $2,200,000. 

The Foundations are not-for-profit, and 100% of the revenue that they generate is used specifically to fund development, evangelism, and support of these technologies. The goal is furthering the technology and empowering people and organizations. 

Object Computing is committed to the continued support of both Foundations, and we will be doing that alongside a community of supporters. Organizations that are getting real value out of the technology will consider the level of support that makes the most sense for them. There are sponsorship options to suit all sizes of organizations. We are happy to work with organizations to optimize their sponsorship relationships and help them receive the benefits that are most important to them. The impact that the technologies can have will grow with the amount of support that these Foundations receive.

Some of the motivations that organizations have for contributing support:

  • Sharing it back
  • Contributing to the Framework’s continued support and evolution
  • Prioritizing integration with other technologies
  • Prioritizing feature requests or bug fixes

The benefits that supporters receive are described on the Grails Foundation page and the Micronaut Foundation page. In addition, when an organization wants to contribute, we would like to have a discussion with them about how they would like to prioritize their contributions, and we will work with them to publicize their support of open source software. Some organizations will be happy to know that their funds are confirming the future of the technology on which they rely. Others will want to focus their investments on particular efforts. The goal is working together and getting everyone involved in the most valuable experience possible.

The Groovy, Grails, and Micronaut (2GM) community is full of people and organizations who care about sharing. As technologists, we are all passionate about creating the very best technical solutions that we can. As members of our global community, we are all passionate about working together and sharing with others what we can imagine and what we can create. In everything we do, we are better doing it together. We will all continue to enjoy what we do and share together, and we hope that you will be a part of that.

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