Tom Bayaens and Alfresco launched Activiti yesterday, a new open source business process management platform which is looking to take on the commercial suites head on. But there’s something else brewing under the surface. Whilst I could have focused on a review based on a powerpoint presentation, Tom’s direction made it pretty clear that he’s throwing down the gauntlet to the likes of Bonitasoft; we’re going with Apache and we’re going to win.
In earlier years the likes of Intalio were vocal in supporting open source BPMS but they’ve slightly lost their way in recent times, there’s very little marketing noise generated and attempts to engage with them has been fruitless to be honest, so the meteoric rise of Bonitasoft has been pretty easy and with a vibrant development community there’s always something being said about them. When Tom left jBoss they had around 25,000 downloads a month at their peak and he admits he’s looking to exceed this in 12 months with Activiti, how this compares with Bonitasoft I’m not sure just now but the direct challenge is not in how often both are downloaded, whether there is BPMN 2.0 and CMIS compliance or not but what licence model their working with.
This is going to be a fight between GPL and Apache and Tom is very confident his open source model will win. He sees the spread and speed of Apache adoption far greater than GPL or Eclipse and is betting on Activiti becoming the defacto open source BPMS of choice to develop and implement. But there’s another element here to consider. Whilst it may well be down to the flavour of java licence used as the differentiator the biggest factor to bear in mind is the community developers, without which both would be pretty much helpless. In any prize fight whilst weight (licence and backing) is crucial so is the fighter’s reach and the development community is that reach.
Whoever wins will be the one with the longer and more powerful arms, not the heaviest.
Seconds away, Round 2…
(This blog post was brought to you today listening to Eye of the Tiger by Survivor)