OS3G - Open Source, 3rd Generation

A (humble) attempt to publish news from the trenches where Free/Libre/Open-Source Software is brought to the mainstream -- and Francois Letellier's blog, too

Friday, July 29, 2005

What's Middleware Anyway?

I had a "back to basics" attack today and franctically started surfing the web to find a definitive, comprehensive and convincing definition of "middleware". OK, ObjectWeb has its own definition, formulated after Sacha Krakowiak's work. But well, I was looking for something more matter-of-fact.

I ended up reading a proposal that the US Attorney General, Microsoft, and nine US states agreed upon to settle the antitrust trial led against Microsoft in 2001.

Here's the definition of "non Microsoft middleware" provided in the document:

'Non-Microsoft Middleware' means a non-Microsoft software product running on a Windows Operating System Product that exposes a range of functionality to ISVs through published APIs, and that could, if ported to or made interoperable with, a non-Microsoft Operating System, thereby make it easier for applications that rely in whole or in part on the functionality supplied by that software product to be ported to or run on that non-Microsoft Operating System."

Well, I think I'll try to find out what's middleware another day...


  • At 6:44 PM, July 29, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Here's a simple definition I use.

    Middleware is stuff that allows two other things to talk together. Samba is middleware because it allows Linux to talk with Windows on a network. Tomcat (or WebSphere, or..) is middleware because it allows a J2EE app to talk with java.

  • At 1:27 PM, August 01, 2005, Blogger Francois Letellier said…

    Well -- to be honest, I don't have a problem with the 30.000 feet high definition of "middleware" ;-) ObjectWeb defines middleware as "In a distributed computing system, middleware is defined as the software layer that lies between the operating system and the applications on each site of the system." But it'd be interesting to draw a kind of "map" of different regions of the middleware world... In some people's head, middleware == J2EE, which obviously is a little restrictive!


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