Progress Software announced it was divesting FuseSource from it's product line back in April. Today I'm happy to say RedHat is where FuseSource will now make its new home. I suppose you might know who RedHat is and what they do. Who is FuseSource?
For those of you who use Apache Camel, Apache ServiceMix, CXF, or ActiveMQ, you may have run across the name "FuseSource" or the "Fuse" distributions of those projects. What exactly is FuseSource?
I regard open-source developers to be some of the best developers in the world. A lot of times they are creating and working on projects that are just damn fun to work on. The technology is interesting, the problems intended to solve are interesting, and the drive to work on them comes from passion not a paycheck. In general, you'll find the code is well written, it's unit tested, and using the best build tools and practices. The projects are built to solve specific problems, and usually do them really well. But most important, you can start using it without paying a huge upfront cost! Especially in the middleware space, where you find those four Apache projects. Paying for commercial alternatives is a huge upfront cost with very little immediate return. You still have to track down the integration points, figure out the custom mediation logic, work out the failover/high-availability, etc, etc. That takes time and a lot of money. With open source, there is no large up-front license cost. You can try it out free of charge and decide whether it will fit your problem. And if it does, then invest the time and money to train people and implement it. But if it doesn't, then go a different direction. But how do you go about training people on "open-source" projects? And wait... what if there are development or production problems? Do we have to rely on the mailing lists?
That's where FuseSource comes in. They employ a large number of the original project creators and current project committers. They wrote the code and can support it regardless of your use-case. And there are no upfront licensing costs (all of the Fuse distributions of the Apache projects are Apache Licensed) and their consulting, training, and support costs are paid as needed or through a subscription -- whatever you feel comfortable with.
Another thing they do is provide battle-hardened versions of the respective open-source projects. They have a large customer base (that is growing quickly, and some of the largest names in their respective industries), and any of the issues and inconsistencies seen while supporting the projects get remedied and rolled into the Fuse versions. Not to mention the level of testing and pounding they do on the projects to make them production ready. And all of this extra effort is also Apache Licensed. You can go grab it from their website. It's also open sourced, so you can see the code.
Lastly, they provide professional documentation around these projects. You may find that the documentation on the Apache site for the respective projects tend to be lacking or outdated. I wrote about the FuseSource documentation and regard it as a must have if developing with Camel, ServiceMix, ActiveMQ or CXF.