"We have the ambition to be the dominant company in enterprise Java open source," SpringSourceCEO Rod Johnson told ZDNet. "You put our portfolios together you have the vast majority of what we care about."SpringSource is known for the Spring Framework, a Java application framework it now calls part of the Spring Portfolio. Covalent is known as a third-party support company for Apache products.
Johnson said Covalent was especially attractive because of its work with Apache Tomcat. "Tomcat is becoming dominant in deploying Java and we're dominant in developing for Java.
"This is a Java play but it extends SpringSource beyond Java. We'll be supplying support on the Apache server as well."
Terms were not disclosed but Johnson revealed SpringSource is about four times larger than Covalent. Both companies are based in San Mateo and share some of the same investors.
Johnson also discussed his view of the state of play in the Java marketplace.
"Historically there has been competition between SpringSource and the JBOSS division of RedHat. We've been winning it rather handily.
"It's not a secret that the acquisition of JBOSS hasn't gone well. I think they have lost some momentum, a lot of leadership, a lot of their technology leaders, and frankly the basis of their Java technology was old. They were a play on commoditizing the application server. We're based on innovating in open source and bringing solutions together."
Johnson said the purchase also keeps SpringSource from being bought by Sun, although skeptics will say it also makes it more attractive to Sun.
"We have a good relationship with Sun. We had very good relations with mySQL. Now that Sun is an open source company it really would work, it's a natural opportunity" for Sun to work with SpringSource.
"We do think, however, this is the best way to stay independent."
The deal may also say something about the opportunity in third-party support. Covalent has been around for about a decade, offering support services for products written by others, yet the much-younger SpringSource scaled right past it.