In an announcement yesterday on the Vert.x Google Group, project leader Tim Fox announced his bizarre experience with his former employer VMware's legal team:
On the 28th December I received a letter from VMware lawyers (delivered to my door in person, no less!) that I must immediately give up and transfer to VMware all administrative rights over the following things: The Vert.x github project, the Vert.x google group, the domain vertx.io and the Vert.x blog.
Vert.x is a polyglot, event-driven application framework that runs on JVM. It is a direct competitor with Node.js.
Fox had apparently been under the impression that Vert.x was "a community project sponsored by VMware" while he led the project as an employee of VMware. However, possibly because Fox led the project using company resources and while employed by VMware, Fox lost ownership of the project when he left VMware in December to join Red Hat.
It is unclear what this means for the future of the Vert.x project. Some have expressed concern that VMware may apply these shenanigans to other projects that they sponsor, like Redis.
For now, ownership of Vert.x's domain, blog, GitHub, and Google Group have been transferred to VMware. A new project leader has yet to be announced.
Update, Jan. 10: VMware and Red Hat have posted a joint response to Fox's aforementioned Google Group post. Here's the full text:
What Tim has stated has obviously raised concerns on this group and elsewhere. So it's important that we try to allay any fears and uncertainty that the community has about the vert.x project and state clearly that VMware and Red Hat are still very much in active discussion regarding how best to support the vert.x project going forwards. This is something that both companies are extremely keen to do.
We've been discussing various options, including whether to move the project to an open source software foundation, and would very much like to hear the views of the community.
Tim's continued status as project lead is something that both companies feel is an essential component to the success of the project. We see no reason for this to change and wish to assure everyone on that point.
With the benefit of the support from *both* Red Hat and VMware we agree that the vert.x project has an excellent opportunity to continue to build on its popularity and successes to date and have an exciting 2013.
We'd really appreciate if everyone was patient and continued to contribute positively to the discussions on the future in this public forum, as has been the case. Many thanks to all of the input - it has not gone unnoticed.
For RedHat: Mark Little, VP Red Hat/JBoss.
For VMware: Alexis Richardson, Senior Director, VMware Inc.