Groovy And Grails Lose Sponsor
Written by Alex Armstrong   
Tuesday, 20 January 2015

If you have never heard of Groovy then you might well wonder why you should be interested in the future of this open source language? The reason is that it highlights differences and difficulties of relying on open source at all. 

I'm not trying to be too depressing here but the way that some open source projects are dominated by a single or a small number of commercial sponsors is worrying. Of course if you are using Groovy or Grails then you need no excuse for being concerned. 


Groovy is a JVM language and as a consequence it will run anywhere that Java will. It is, unlike Java a dynamic language but it will work with Java libraries and most Java is valid Groovy. There is a sense in which most alternative JVM languages that are close to Java have been undermined recently by the improvements in Java. 

Grails is a web framework for Groovy, much like Ruby's Rails framework. Indeed at first it was even known as Groovy on Rails until the Rails founder asked for this to stop. 




Until the announcement on 19th of January Pivotal a company now wanting to concentrate on platform as a service,  was the sponsor of Groovy.

"The decision to conclude its sponsorship of Groovy and Grails is part of Pivotal’s larger strategy to concentrate resources on accelerating both commercial and open source projects that support its growing traction in Platform-as-a-Service, Data, and Agile development. Pivotal has determined that the time is right to let further development of Groovy and Grails be led by other interested parties in the open source community who can best serve the goals of those projects."

As of 31st of March both Groovy and Grails will be needing a new sponsor or funding from some other source. Version 2.4 of Groovy and version 3.0 of Grails should be released before the cut off data for Pivotal support. 

Of course the Groovy community is expressing a lot of combined worry and support for the project but the fact remains that some money will have to be found to keep the project going at its previous level. One of the good things about open source is that when a company decides that enough is enough then rather than the software going out of existence it falls to the community or to some other sponsor to keep it going.

This is a huge advantage of open source that is often enough for any programmer who has been "burned" by the likes of Microsoft just dropping a language to insist on nothing but open source languages and frameworks in the future. However in practice the loss of a major sponsor for a minority language is probably indistinguishable from the axing of a commercial language - unless another sponsor can be found. 

Big popular languages can cope with just community support but for smaller specialized languages some help is required. 


Good luck Groovy.

More Information

Groovy 2.4 And Grails 3.0 To Be Last Major Releases Under Pivotal Sponsorship

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 20 January 2015 )