CollabNet Snags Former SoftLanding Development Director
May 22, 2007 Alex Woodie
CollabNet, the open-source software company behind the Subversion change management solution, has snapped up two former SoftLanding Systems programmers, including Mark Phippard, former director of development, and Paul Burba, who worked on the port of Subversion to OS/400.
Numerous employees of SoftLanding Systems have left the company or been fired following the acquisition by Unicom Systems in November. Some of these people have hired on at other change management vendors, notably Arcad Software, the French software company that is making a big push to capture a share of North American market for i5/OS change management tools, and which is establishing a new office in Peterborough, New Hampshire, where SoftLanding is based.
Now, you can add CollabNet to the list of change management vendors staffed with ex-SoftLanding workers following the company’s hard landing into the world of industry consolidation. Phippard, who held the title of director of development at SoftLanding and was co-developer of SoftLanding’s flagship TurnOver change management system for i5/OS, worked at SoftLanding from November 1991 to February of this year. Phippard, who has taken the title of director of Subversion engineering at CollabNet, was also the development lead of the Subclipse project, which integrated Subversion to the Eclipse framework. He also led the design work on the RSE Extensions for WebSphere Development Studio Client for iSeries (WDSc), according to his Linked-In profile.
Phippard is joined at CollabNet by Burba, who, along with Phippard, was instrumental in SoftLanding’s project to port Subversion to OS/400 two years ago. That project netted two products, including TurnOverSVN and Subversion for OS/400, both of which allowed iSeries shops to manage PC, Java, and Web development activity from their OS/400 servers (the difference being that TurnOverSVN is provided as a for-fee extension of its flagship TurnOver change management system that’s commonly used to manage native RPG and COBOL development, while Subversion for OS/400 is a free offering that does not hook into existing TurnOver systems). Burba was also a long-term member and contributor to the Subversion project.
These appear to be good times for CollabNet, and the company says sales are booming. Last week, it announced that year-over-year sales for Subversion increased 265 percent. That has allowed the company to expand with the hiring of Phippard and Burba, the addition of new functionality into Subversion, and the extension of its professional services division.
The growth of Subversion is a testament to the growing popularity of the commercial open source software business model. According to CollabNet, since the first production-ready version of Subversion was released three years ago, Subversion’s user base has “doubled every few months,” and now totals about 1.75 million developers.
Last week the company announced plans to launch an early adopter program for the new merge tracking functionality that will be available in Subversion 1.5, due in late summer 2007. CollabNet says merge tracking, one of the most often requested features for Subversion, will add the types of capabilities that are typically found in enterprise change management applications like IBM‘s Rational ClearCase and Perforce‘s Software Configuration Management System.
“Seven years ago, when we started Subversion as a community-managed open source project, we provided the development community with the unique opportunity to create the best possible tool to get their work done,” says Bill Portelli, CEO of CollabNet, which is based in Brisbane, California. “Today, Subversion is an unmitigated success: hundreds of thousands of software developers use it on a daily basis, the Subversion community continually improves the tool and extends its functionality, and we embed Subversion in CollabNet’s commercial solutions for distributed software development.”