Thursday, September 02, 2010

Progress Buy a Bridge in Brooklyn (Savvion BRMS) and make Del Boy Trotter Proud

So earlier this year someone packaged up the open source Drools BRMS and added one of the more uninspiring industry BPM products and sold it to Progress for $49 million, who are calling it Savvion BRMS, otherwise known as "A Bridge in Brooklyn".

Progress already have a failing strategy with Open Source, pumping millions into acquiring open source projects and communities only to then have no idea what to do with them and then dump them almost as rapidly. The ripping off of Drools and selling it as their own, only shows even deeper levels of desparations and incompetence, with no ability to innovate on their own.

Progress has never contributed a single line of code to Drools, they are not involved in the community process or have any real insight or involvement of the road map and future developments.

Shame on you Progress you represent some of the worst predatory practices in the open source industry. Not only have you ripped off the hard work of many people, some dedicating their lives to making Drools a success. You then shamelessly pass it off as your own misleading your paying customers who have no idea that you are flogging them an out dated version of a freely available open source project, that you can't even really offer proper support for.

I don't think Progress really thought this through, or under stood what Drools is or where it is going, as it complicates their portfolio and they'll have no ability to bring in the latest Drools innovations while keeping their portfolio sane. Or maybe that's the plan, they realise their own tech stack is pants and looking for Drools to provide their future BPMN2 and CEP solutions, and are just slowly phasing it in so not to alarm customers who are investing in their soon to be deprecated products.

Progress has a CEP product and Drools Fusion does CEP. Savvion provides BPM software, yet Drools now does BPMN2. These things are tightly integrated with Drools, if they attempt to remove them or hide them, they are then just selling the customers crippleware. Why would someone buy that, when they can get the real deal from Red Hat, who can actually provide support they can stand behind. This is only going to get worse for them, as we are investing further in these technologies providing even greater value via deeper integration, all of which will be leveraged for our grid solution in delivering Drools in the cloud. Any customers using Savvion BRMS are going to feel like someone has delivered them a Porsche, but when they take it for a spin they find out it's got the engine of a three wheeled Robin Reliant in it.

Well done Progress, you'd make Del Boy Trotter proud. You Plonkers!.

To organisations that are still tempted by Savvion BRMS, why not invite me along to the sales call. I'll be more than happy to interview their support team and engineers with a few choice questions to see if they can actually support what they are selling you.

Drools Co-Creator and Lead

If you like this article please vote for it at Digg and DZone:

Follow up blogs:
Breaking news... Have your vote on what the Drools community should do with it's 30% of the Savvion $49mill Sale
Breaking news... Progress and Savvion steal candy from a baby!!!


  1. Only you, me and three other fools in London have ever heard of '"Only Fools and Horses." :-) I have the entire series, including all of the specials, on DVD, some region 1, some region 2 - and they all play fine on my Mac.

    You and I had talked about this before but I never believed anyone would have the hutzpah to actually do it. BTW, the photo shows Uncle Albert, not Grandpa. Uncle Albert was OK but Grandpa was the world's ultimate mooch. :-)


  2. hehe, I can't imagine there are many people in the USA that know what a Plonker is :)

  3. Guess I'm one of the other fools :-)

    Nothing wrong with educating our American (and other international) cousins with a bit of good culture though!

  4. I've had to explain most of the comments to my son and brother. Once they understood it, they were amazed that British TV would let that out. But, then, they've never seen French or German TV either. :-) Either way, they thought that this was a hoot! This is what got them hooked on what we call "Brit Coms" over here.

    BTW, the other series that you should have on DVD or Blue Ray would be

    Good Neighbors
    Yes, Minister
    Yes, Prime Minister
    The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin
    Rising Damp
    Fawlty Towers (Only 13 episodes were ever made)
    To the Manor Born
    All 14 DVD SETS of Monty Python!!

    We usually break them out on Shabbos Erev (eve) after services. I know, they aren't very Godly but we like to chuckle (guffaw) at this kind of comedy.

    BTW, I sent the DVD of "Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou" to some English friends who couldn't understand the English in that movie even with English sub-titles.


  5. Mark - Why would you vent on Progress? If they bought a wrapper around Drools for $50mm, consider that first it's their money to spend as they choose, and second it's proof that open source business models can work (at least for the owners of the company .. see JBoss ;-)

    Why would you be upset? Shouldn't you be happy for the Savvion folks?

  6. Not upset at all, as follow up blog says. My attitude, if you knew me, has always been take the lumps with the smooth "Drools Everywhere". As you can imagine being one of the first only ASL projects at JBoss, I've had to work hard for that, and accept that situations like Progress will happen. That the benefits of "Drools Eveywhere" outweigh any freeloading, which actually doesn't impact the community negatively anway.

  7. If you are not able to make money with Drools, Savvion does. Start to charge some licenses of your technology if you get upset with this kind of situation. Progress has delivered a lot of technologies to the open source world, a short list could be IONA Tech, Apache Camel and ServiceMix. Instead of being acting like a child, try to learn something with then and go to a more intensive sales course

  8. Maybe you should read the follow up before commenting. There are many companies that upstream Drools, such as Intalio, WS02, Zementis, and I'm happy they do so, all atleast give some acknowledgement, rather than passing work off as their own:

    RHT actually make good money on Drools. RHT continue to grow and invest. Progress on the other hand have yet to figure how to make money off OSS and are shedding staff and OSS projects left, right and centre.

  9. I guess as you posted as anonymous you work for Progress :)

  10. Actually you're wrong: I'm not a Progress employee. I'm a huge fan of both Progress and Red Hat, and currently I delivery consultant services for both companies and technologies in London.

    Having said that, even being a fan of Drools and of your work, I don't agree with your comments about Savvion "bad" usage of Drools tech. Like Intalio and WSO2, Savvion is just a consumer of OSS technologies, and they make money with it.

    Progress | Savvion never helped Drools project? Well, we both know that code contribution is managed by the team leaders of the projects and influenced by the bigger sponsor of the technology, which is Red Hat. So both elements could create barriers to stop other players to be contributors, so you can proudly say: "Hey, we're the master of the technology, we're the only that could delivery professional services and professional support for this tech."

    OSS is a business model, to make money with shared code. Red Hat make a lot of money with subscriptions, EVEN using technologies from Apache, IBM and PROGRESS (Eg: Apache Camel in JBoss ESB 4.8). Its not wrong make money with OSS, everybody had this right. You have to respect Progress in the same way that everybody in the world respect Red Hat / JBoss ;-)

  11. I don't think you read that other blog. I have no problem with people making money off Drools, in fact I encourage it. I actively work with organisations such as Intalio, Plugtree, Illation, WS02 - some contribute back some don't. But the main thing is it all adds to the Drools ecosystem, which provides long term health. As my article says I'd rather someone leeched Drools, than build their own or use a competitors.

    The main thing that separates Progress Savvion from these other vendors I work with is that Progress Savvion are the only ones to pass off our work as their own, there is no acknowledgement or reference to the source of the work. Now while they have the right to do so, it's not really cricket in OSS with regards to being good OSS citizens. As such I figure they are fair game for me to write articles that makes noise and drives traffic to our sites around release time. It'll also deter others from doing the same. Note I differentiate between someone who resells drools "as is" and someone who uses it internally or embeds it as part of a wider solution; where attribution would be nice, but clearly I can't expect it.

    "Its not wrong make money with OSS, everybody had this right. You have to respect Progress in the same way that everybody in the world respect Red Hat / JBoss ;-) "

    As my comment just said, it wasn't about the money, it was passing our work of as their own. We'd never show disrepect like that and do our best to give kudos to other projects. So that point doesn't hold up.

    See follow up blog:
    "However that said, anyone who knows me, knows I have a mischievous sense of humour and if Progress and Savvion aren't even going to at the very least accredit us then they are fair game and surely myself and the Drools community deserve a little fun at their expense :)"

  12. "there is no acknowledgement or reference to the source of the work"

    You're wrong again: There is acknowledgment about the Drools work in Savvion. At it's documentation, release notes and product books, you can easily find references about Drools.

    "it's not really cricket in OSS with regards to being good OSS citizens"

    They give effort back not in the Drools project, but is several others for the OSS community. Don't make this a generalization of your opinion since the only evolved project here is Drools. In OSS, there are many ways to give back, and Progress does his job pretty well.

    "it was passing our work of as their own"

    There are no facts that sustain this sentence. As I said, in Savvion docs, there are references about Drools origins and knowledge about teams work. YOUR point doesn't hold up.