A widely used open source project maps out a plan for building a viable open source company.
What does it take to build a company on the back of a non-commercial, open source project?
The figures behind Apache Maven are betting that for the widely deployed, open source Java project management tool, the answer is relying on open source's ability to slip in the enterprise back door, gain fans organically and only then upsell users on commercial-grade improvements.
So far, Maven has enjoyed growth without a commercial backer behind it. That's now changing as Sonatype, a company founded by Maven founder Jason Van Zyl, steps up as its commercial backer, with new executive leadership and a plan for products based on the project.
Sonatype's new CEO, Mark de Visser, is a veteran of both Linux vendor Red Hat and PHP vendor Zend, and he's confident that Maven can be the basis of a viable commercial enterprise. In an interview with InternetNews.com, De Visser detailed new products that are in the pipeline and Sonatype's plans to build its business. The approach is one that could shed light on the broader issue of how to create a successful business enterprise around open source.