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Open-source Java pals Groovy and Grails seek moneybags backer

Pivotal's pulled out

Two major open source Java projects, Groovy and Grails, are looking for new sponsors.

Pivotal, a company which supplies tools for big data analytics and cloud-oriented agile development, has announced the end of its funding for Groovy (a dynamic language that runs on the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) and Grails (a web application framework which uses Groovy) from March 2015.

Pivotal states that it is “trusting that the community will continue to develop strong solutions after its dedicated developer sponsorship expires".

In a further FAQ the company states with regard to Groovy that “with over 50 per cent of commits on the project by the community and the language reaching maturity, Pivotal no longer feels the need to continue funding ongoing development".

Groovy and Grails were originally supported by a company called G2One, which in 2008 was acquired by SpringSource, developers of the Spring application framework.

SpringSource itself was acquired by VMWare in 2009. In 2013 VMWare and parent company EMC spun off Pivotal as a new venture to manage Spring, among other projects.

Pivotal’s announcement does have implications for Spring. Although the company promises that “Spring continues to be a strategic part of Pivotal’s portfolio and an area of investment" Grails will be removed from the Spring IO Platform, an application platform based on Spring.

Groovy project lead Guillaume Laforge says that Groovy was downloaded over four million times in 2014 and that there are many "ideas the Groovy team wants to develop further, features we want to bring to life, improvements we want to make", despite Pivotal’s view that the language is reaching maturity.

Groovy is also used by Gradle, a build automation engine recently adopted by Google for its Android development tools.

Pivotal’s announcement is a reminder that major open source projects depend on commercial sponsorship, driven either by mutual self-interest from companies that use the software, or in hope of kudos and good publicity from association with popular projects.

Any takers for Groovy and Grails? Potential sponsors are invited to email with their proposals.®

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