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Jason van Zyl on the benefits of open source

In this video interview, Jason van Zyl, the creator of Apache Maven, talks about his career in open source, the Eclipse Foundation and the benefits of open source for developers and for the enterprise.

In a follow-up to this interview, Jack Vaughan asked van Zyl about support for open source tools.

Read the full text transcript from this video below. Please note the full transcript is for reference only and may include limited inaccuracies. To suggest a transcript correction, contact    

Jason van Zyl on the benefits of open source

SearchSOA: I'm here at EclipseCon with Jason van Zyl, the CTO and founder of Sonatype and the creator of Maven, one of the pivotal open source tools of the time. Do you want to give a little more background about your company, Jason?

Jason van Zyl: Sure. Yeah. Sonatype has been around since 2008. People may know us as The Maven Company. We work heavily on Maven and the ecosystem tools around Maven. So Maven itself, m2eclipse, which is an Eclipse plug-in for our Maven plug-in for Eclipse, we work on Nexus, our repository manager, and we also work on tools like Tycho which is becoming a foundational build
tool at the Eclipse Foundation.

SearchSOA: And you did this after being at Apache; really, your career has pretty much spanned the open source era.

Jason van Zyl: Yeah. I can't remember. I think I'm actually number 200 at Apache. I've been there for almost 10 years, and that's where Maven started and many of the other projects that I've worked on. But now, as part of the work that we're doing at Sonatype, we're heavily involved in the Eclipse Foundation as well. So we're probably equally involved, maybe a little more so in the Eclipse Foundation at this point.

SearchSOA: What drew you to open source? What do you see as the benefits for developers in commercial enterprises?

Jason van Zyl: One, it's probably a great way to learn and interact with developers who are usually a lot better than yourself. So if you want to learn how to program well, it's often one of the best places to go look for programs to learn from. As far as learning how to collaborate with other people, it's very easy to write software by yourself a lot of the times. But as soon as you have to interact with other people, it's the thing that has been hardest for me over the last 10 years, is actually learning how to work well with others, which earlier on--

SearchSOA: That's a programmer trait, I think.

Jason van Zyl: I think so, but I think it's tempered quite well by actually trying to work with other people in open source. I certainly wasn't very good at it when I started, and some would probably argue I'm still not very good at it.

SearchSOA: Tools have come up to try and iron out and create collaboration.

Jason van Zyl: Yeah, they can. I think tools can help facilitate, but really you still have to learn interpersonal skills to actually work with other developers, and I think open source is great for that.

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