There's always a risk when a company formed by a strong personality -- especially when the company is identified closely with that individual -- is acquired. Yet I had high hopes when JBoss was acquired by Red Hat last year.
At the JBoss user conference in Las Vegas last summer I got the strong impression that the JBoss open source and community strengths would translate well into the Red Hat culture. JBoss founder Marc Fleury made a fortune, sure, but he seemed still driven by the vision of software development as community process with commercialization under the new model of support and maintenance.
He voiced high hopes of extending that vision to SOA and across the middleware spectrum. Alas, we learn this morning that Marc has left Red Boss. Here's his statement:
"I have done what I can to help Red Hat succeed. People need to understand that Open Source is a tsunami that is transforming the software industry in its wake and its inevitability is now well beyond challenge or the force of individual personality." He will now apparently "pursue other personal interests, such as teaching, research in biology, music and his family."
That is until his non-compete is up and the entrepreneur bug stirs anew, I suspect.
Sounds like the entrepreneur in Marc was not going to operate smoothly at Red Hat. While Marc's presense -- and ability to stir drama, passion, and allegiance -- will reduce Red Hat's pizzazz quotient, the Red Hat model endures.
Let's hope that Marc's exit does not prompt some kind of diaspora of other strong open source leaders. Let's hope that Red Hat manages the converged open source stack well. Let's hope that meaningful schisms don't emerge -- unless it's for the best interests of the users and developers.