SpringSource pounces on Covalent

Open source 'supergroup'

Two California-based open source software companies are to join forces to launch an assault on the emerging market for open source in enterprise computing. Development tools specialist SpringSource (formerly Interface21) today announced it has taken over Covalent Technologies, a leading contributor to Apache Software Foundation (ASF) open source projects.

The acquisition brings SpringSource a stake in a broad portfolio of Apache products including the Apache Tomcat application server and Apache HTTP. But more importantly, the deal extends SpringSource's reach to an impressive list of world-class companies. In addition to its Apache developments, Covalent has an established support organisation with customers including NASA, Intel and British Telecom.

SpringSource CEO Rod Johnson claimed the combined resources of the two companies will give enterprises an open source alternative which can match or beat established proprietary software for performance and quality.

"When we started talking to each other last summer we had a sense that the enterprise market is moving towards open source and the combination we can offer is compelling," he said. "Their requirements are changing and they want a mean and lean alternative, which Tomcat and our modern tools can deliver."

Covalent CEO Mark Brewer, who will join SpringSource as vice president and general manger of the Covalent business unit, said success in the open source market is based on the same criteria as proprietary products.

"Although the software comes free, enterprises still expect the same level of support as they would get from BEA or Oracle," Brewer said. "We have shown we can do that - we have a 95 per cent retention rate on our subscription support services."

Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed. ®

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