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

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Feeling Glue

IBM yesterday announced at LinuxWorld their offer of support for Geronimo. This is pretty good news, for ObjectWeb too. First of all, it is the demonstration that commoditization is at work. Even IP giant IBM eventually puts on the market a free (as in free beer) low-end alternative to its proprietary appservers.

JBoss has a problem. This is no surprise. When a team of developpers quit JBoss and slammed the door 2 years ago, they forced the Geronimo project down Apache's throat. The plan was to demonstrate that JBoss was not invincible. The end is in the beginning. So, JBoss has a problem. This problem already is nicknamed "Big Glue" in the Valley...

The sad news is for Apache. The Apache board have considered Geronimo a high risk project from the begining. They also got a problem when Beehive, too blatantly controlled by BEA, landed in their code base. IBM buying Geronimo is a terrible blow to Apache's credo ("unlike in other situations where power is a scarce and conservative resource, in the apache group newcomers were seen as volunteers that wanted to help, rather than people that wanted to steal a position", see Meritocracy in How the ASF works). The foundation has a lot to lose, should it become a laundering facility for Big Blue's code.

So far, so good for nonprofit ObjectWeb. JOnAS remains arguably the more technically advanced open-source J2EE apperver around. Open-source J2EE is history. It happened, and now J2EE is fully commoditized, with 4 open-source implementations. The front is elsewhere.
ObjectWeb already is higher in the stack. Enterprise service bus, application platform suites, grid computing.

And it's worth thinking a while to what all who love the idea of collaborative open source development will think. SMEs around the world, and governements of most countries. They love open-source because of technology independance and lack of... vendor lock-in. What a terrible perpective to be left with the choice between JBossAS and IBM Geronimo... ObjectWeb has a lot to gain in terms of legitimacy here. Its vendor-neutral yet business-aware model is the only one that is able to reconciliate the interests of software vendors, governmental agencies, end users and individuals. Because it's designed for.

Just for laughs:

Sun's Gosling: "IBM is funding Eclipse 100 percent and it has ten times the cash flow of Sun."
Eclipse's Milinkovich: "How very sad to see such nonsense from a community leader."
IBM's Ferguson: "I bumped into Martin Nally, the Rational CTO. I forgot to mention Eclipse."


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