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Innovators & Influencers: Open Source Kick

Ross Mason was working as a systems integration programmer for a London bank in 2002 when he realized he was doing the same thing over and over again--"donkey work," he thought of it.
Ross Mason was working as a systems integration programmer for a London bank in 2002 when he realized he was doing the same thing over and over again--"donkey work," he thought of it. The next year, he established the Mule open source project to make a lightweight enterprise service bus that could route messages to a variety of systems. "Mules carry messages, don't they?" he says.

Earlier this year, Mason and his friend Dave Rosenberg founded MuleSource to market Mule to corporate customers, supported by its core half-dozen developers. They got $4 million in backing from Hummer Winblad Venture Partners and Morganthaler Ventures.

Mason, 31, is now based on the Island of Malta in the Mediterranean. Five of the Fortune 50 have harnessed Mule to their tasks. He took the open source route, he says, because "your code gets lots of feedback, lots of people testing it." In his previous existence, he got feedback only when something went wrong at the bank.

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