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

Monday, April 10, 2006

Red Hat Acquires JBoss

Red Hat just announced in a press release that it will acquire JBoss for $350M. This will tremendously reinforce Red Hat's profile and position in open source middleware. It also sounds like good news to ObjectWeb: Paul Cormier (Red Had CTO) sits on ObjectWeb's Board of Directors, which means that there is a priviledged communication channel between ObjectWeb and Red Hat - a channel which was missing between ObjectWeb and JBoss, even though the two organizations would meet every now and then.
This moves significantly reshuffles the cards in the world of open source J2EE. ObjectWeb today has two implementations of the J2EE specification (JOnAS and JOnAS PKU AS recently brought by Orientware members), and an implementation of en EJB3 container (EasyBeans).
Red Hat and JBoss are two very strong brands headquartered in the US, while ObjectWeb is gaining traction and visibility in other regions of the world (Europe, China, ...). The time is good now for discussions between projects and a communication channel is open between the communities.


  • At 6:55 PM, April 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh come on! Why would they want to do that? JBoss is as big in europe, if not bigger - they just don't go on about it as much as you guys do!

  • At 7:03 PM, April 10, 2006, Anonymous John Brewer said…

    Great comment, but I'm slightly confused (may be the language barrier), so please bear with me: JBoss get acquired by Redhat is good news for ObjectWeb because now Redhat has an enterprise application server story it didn't have before? JBoss should come and talk to ObjectWeb now when it hasn't in the past because you guys are gaining traction in areas where JBoss isn't (reading between the lines of your post)? Do you have statistics to show that you've got more users in these areas than JBoss? I'd be really interested in seeing them. Over the past 10 years I've done consultancy across every continent (except Antartica!) and in the OSS space I've never seen an ObjectWeb deployment (jonas, joram, jotm, ...) run in anything other than a proof-of-concept.

    Let's just cut to the chase: you guys were being squeezed before between JBoss and Geronimo. Now you're definitely out on a limb. Why don't you ditch your stuff and start contributing to one of these two? It would probably benefit the whole community more in the end.

    Best of luck,


  • At 7:16 PM, April 10, 2006, Anonymous Cary Newton said…

    I have to disagree with the previous comments. I think for an academic excercise, ObjectWeb has done some good work. In my experience it's certainly easier for students to get to grips with.


  • At 7:22 PM, April 10, 2006, Anonymous John Brewer said…

    Oh come on Cary, since when has student-ease of use been a good selling point for anything (except alcohol)?!

    ObjectWeb was a good alternative to JBoss when there were no alternatives. Now we have Geronimo, the ObjectWeb stuff just shows you how much we needed an alternative! With few exceptions, academics should stay in their ivory towers. This stuff may be good enough for Inria/Bull people to get diplomas and/or papers, but I wouldn't bet my bank on it (literally)!


  • At 7:36 PM, April 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm a student in Brisol (UK) and have played with jonas and jboss. I have to admit that i found jonas easier to configure and run than jboss. But i did have to move my stuff over to jboss in the end because jonas kept dying on me. Nice application server - just a shame it wasn't reliable or fast enough for me (this was back in May 2005, so things may have changed).


  • At 7:54 PM, April 10, 2006, Anonymous Geoff Yeung said…

    I have to agree with John. I think the original blog comment is a poorly disguised attempt to get JBoss to help ObjectWeb when Geronimo is ignoring them. AFAIK the only thing that Geronimo uses from ObjectWeb is jotm, but surely that's just a matter of time and priorities: those guys will either implement their own, or if they've got sense, use the one JBoss acquired from HP. (Don't get me started on the usefulness of jotm!!!!)

    ObjectWeb people: you do a good academic project, which probably works well in research projects. But it isn't industry ready and it's far too late to try to make it so: all of the big players either back Geronimo or JBoss. Call it a day and do the same thing. I'm sure you've got talent and skills that you could bring to either of these shops and make a positive impact. But borrowing from Monty Python: it (jonas) is an ex-Application Server; it has ceased to be; it is pining for the fjords. Let it die in peace! Or at least give the rest of us some peace and quiet and stick to academic circles with it!

  • At 8:07 PM, April 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I hate to kick anyone when they are down, but I just got off a consult gig in Zurich where the company (name withheld to protect the stupid!) had gone down the JONAS route because they'd heard something about JBoss and some Germany company being sued (no idea what that was about). Then they'd found that the server didn't stay running long enough on their massively parallel machines for them to begin to write their POCs! Plus it was sooooooo sloooooowww. Someone in the org who wanted to buy BEA from the outset used this as a proof point against all OSS until I mentioned JBoss (hey, I was one my way out the door at the end of one consult, so what did I have to lose?) They took a gamble and I got paid for another few months effort (which was nice) and ditched all of the objectweb rubbish (did I say that it's often quicker and more reliable to deliver messages by hand than using joram?) Now they're happy.

    Good luck to JBoss in Redhat, is all I've got to say! You guys deserve it.


  • At 6:38 AM, April 11, 2006, Blogger Francois Letellier said…

    Gosh. I'm almost getting enough rant comments to launch a contest in idiocy :-) No better advocacy than a herd of braindead and hateful lamers barking at you!

  • At 8:12 AM, April 11, 2006, Anonymous Xavier Bugaud said…

    Hi guys,

    Just to let you know that my company is using Jonas since 3 years now without problems.

    Jonas can really be used in a production environement. It's just a matter of tuning.


  • At 11:25 AM, April 11, 2006, Anonymous Geoff Yeung said…

    "herd of braindead and hateful lamers"? Now that was intelligently argued Francois!

    I can only speak for myself, but I call 'em as I see 'em and although I think jonas et al are fine for playing with, they don't match up to the likes of JBoss, WS or WL. I've used many different application servers across many different vertical sectors in 5 different countries (3 of them in europe) and I've yet to see any company use jonas, joram or jotm in an enterprise deployment. Those that have tried it just don't have the confidence in it or the available support. It's fine for proof-of-concept, but not much more.

    Sorry if that fact hurts, but that's my experience. I have no stake in any application server company and call this purely on a technical and business level.


  • At 11:30 AM, April 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We have also been using JONAS for production for at least three years without major problems. And yes, there are sometimes problems, and yes, some bugs don't get fixed as fast as we would like them to, but in general we have been able to use JONAS without big headaches for quite some time now... On the other hand, I'm working in a small organisation, so we can (and sometimes have to) restart the server once in a while without having many angry customers ;)

  • At 11:48 AM, April 11, 2006, Blogger Sylvain MOREL said…

    A small comment, just to underline that France Telecom has been using JOnAS for more than 3 years in more than a hundred applications in production.

    We have done a lot of proprietary benchmarks on several patterns including EJB and WebServices and have the same robustness and performances as commercial products.

    We use it and consider it as an industrial component for our architectures. We will continue to give our confidence in ObjectWeb and JOnAS echosystem.


  • At 11:48 AM, April 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi, well... We are using JOnAS in production without any prb since some years. I would say that JOnAS lack of visibility from the world but it's a good application server.

  • At 12:29 PM, April 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Geoff get real. JOnAS is developed in a truly open source way. So what? Everyone's crazy about open source, but then gets surprised when the system sometimes crashes or when the supprot got from mailing lists is not as good as the one bought for 100k/year from IBM or BEA? Geronimo (IBM) and JBoss AS (JBoss) are products sold by ISVs. They happen to publish the source code of their product, but else, their model is very close to that of a commercial, close-source ISV. The little story about geronimo community at Apache and JBoss supporters around the world is nice, but the bottom line is: appart from JOnAS, I fail to see a true open source implementation of J2EE around...

  • At 12:56 PM, April 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "JOnAS is the true OSS platform" (OK, I paraphrased). And you ask Geoff to get real? That's crazy. Your argument seems to be that to be true to the spirit of OSS your project shouldn't offer quality support, shouldn't do good QA and shouldn't be too concerned about bugs in the code, because after all the code is available for others to fix, even if mailing lists are slow because the developers are off doing their real day jobs or getting academic degrees?

    Get real yourself! Come into the real world! Have you ever heard of Service Level Agreements?! Try selling any product into banks (as an example) without an SLA! Try telling them that if there's a problem they can fix it themselves! They'll laugh you out the door. Your comment is totally ridiculous. That kind of OSS project is what gives OSS projects that need to compete with the likes of IBM and Oracle a bad name!

  • At 1:10 PM, April 11, 2006, Blogger Francois Letellier said…

    Geoff: facts do not hurt as such, because it's so easy to select some facts and fail to mention others. Knowing where ObjectWeb comes from, I see nothing to be ashamed of. As a non profit, we don't have the VC cash JBoss got to invest in PR, and unlike Apache or Eclipse we don't have IBM's endorsement and backing. Yet our projects have been downloaded 1,600,000 times last year, and 600,000 in Q1-2006, and I trust these figures, for I know where they come from. I truly respect Red Hat, and JBoss in spite of Marc's put downs we had to bear for years. But some of us are convinced that even though these two companies appear dominant on a certain kind of open source market, there are regions of the world, and categories of organizations, where a different (or complementary) vision of open source is making headway. Call this conviction rubbish or think about it. My take is that Red Hat guys are professionals: pragmatic, but far from short sighted!

  • At 3:38 PM, April 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    (Anonymous user) - you don't know what you're talking about. Probably never heard of open source except in Novell's presentations. So good for banks if they chose to waste their customers' money in mainframes and Global Services consultants, they're just out of the open source game. No worries, we are just not speaking of the same thing. I'd rather leave bankers with their suit and tie, big money and stick up their *** for people made of flesh and blood, making real open source and keeping a minimal sense of humanity!

  • At 6:46 PM, April 11, 2006, Blogger Fatu Dirty Ass said…

    Helo everyone...

    In my organisation we had been using JOnAS in a production envirnoment for almost 5 years (almost since the begining of JOnAS), and it is the the platform for almost 30 applications inside my enterprise and many other related organizations. We are a mid-entreprise organisation in south america.

    JOnAS and ObjectWeb GREAT WORK !

    I don't think this kind of "this is good and that is bad !" leads to something useful.

  • At 10:38 AM, April 12, 2006, Blogger Christophe GRAVIER said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 10:58 AM, April 12, 2006, Blogger Christophe GRAVIER said…

    Trust our engineers students that are far a majority to use JOnAS (instead of JBoss).
    Trust our researchers here who work on future computer science services and models where their prototypes are build over JOnAS and JORAM.
    Trust our partners in the industry who want to work with us on JOnAs projects for innovative services.

    Don't tell JOnAS isn't reliable if you compare nowadays JBoss version toward JOnAS in fall 2004. Just compare versions that are both J2EE 1.4 certified. It is unfair to compare one thing you know well towards a thing you run as 1 hour test in the past.

    Just as there are many different linux distributions, why can't it be different and __complementary__ AS in the world, each being able to address different kind of open source views. This has always be OW speech, and seeing their constant and fast growth, I bet my 2 cents that, indeed, it gathers a lot of people.

    Just keep going, this is great work.

  • At 4:33 PM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Gosh. I'm almost getting enough rant comments to launch a contest in idiocy :-) No better advocacy than a herd of braindead and hateful lamers barking at you!

    I think you went a bit too far, Francois, this attitude does not help you nor JOnAS. If that's all you think about people that actually have something bad to say about JOnAS because they have used it, there's little chance that the project will ever take off.

    I will quote here what has been posted in the JOnAS mailing list following your message asking people to write good things in your comments. The full message is here:

    We know each other for years know and as an ObjectWeb individual member and JOnAS contributor I'm quite ashamed that I have to confess that JOnAS is one of the worst open source projects I ever had been part off. Not only the process of how it gets developed is totally insufficient, the software itself day by day proofs its insufficience for productive use.

  • At 6:05 PM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Enough is enough...

    Fist of all I would like to say that comments such those ones exposed by those JOnAS users do not help to the JOnAS adoption and promotion. Even more, that is a really a bad idea if the intent was to motivate the developers to continue working on the exposed issues :-)

    Secondly, for those other comments regarding the "research/academic" nature of JOnAS, just say that there are a number of companies such as Bull (leader of the project) which are providing professional support around JOnAS (http://jonas.objectweb.org/doc/JOnAS_Support.pdf) as well as for some other ObjectWeb projects (http://www.bull.com/integration/libre.html).

    Those offers are working pretty well in some European countries for a while so please don't say anymore that JOnAS is not considered as a production ready application server.


  • At 11:36 PM, May 07, 2006, Blogger Francois Letellier said…

    I think you went a bit too far, Francois, this attitude does not help you nor JOnAS. If that's all you think about people that actually have something bad to say about JOnAS because they have used it, there's little chance that the project will ever take off.

    I was not refering to bad comments about JONAS, but to mentions of the "language barrier", ivory towers and kicking people when they are down. Same ol, same al... Kind of fed up with this arrogance :)


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