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Oracle Announces GlassFish Roadmap

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There's been some concern amongst GlassFish users since Oracle's takeover of Sun Microsystems closed in January this year. Oracle possibly compounded the problem when it began to position the GlassFish application server as a "departmental" server, whilst WebLogic remained targeted at enterprise customers requiring performance and scalability. This is a similar strategy to that used by IBM with its two WebSphere Application Server flavours (Community Edition which is based on Apache Geronimo, and WebSphere Application Server). But many suspected that this would result in "enterprise" features, such as clustering support, being dropped from GlassFish. Perhaps reacting to this James Gosling, now CTO of Oracle's client software group, pointed out to an audience at the TheServerSide Java Symposium in Las Vegas that the GlassFish application server provided the first implementation of EE 6, and that the server is used in data centres and downloaded about a million times a month:

People run lots of large-scale sites on it. Don't think of it as toy. It is definitely not a toy.

Yesterday Oracle published the roadmap (pdf Document) for GlassFish version 3 and the news is positive. GlassFish version 3.1, expected this year, will offer centralized admin, clustering and Coherence support.

Looking further ahead, Oracle plans a version 3.2 product for 2011 that will see improved cluster support, better integration with Oracle identity management, virtualization support, JavaEE 6 specification updates and some limited Java EE 7 early access APIs. Version 4, slated for 2012, will support Java EE 7 and will start to share a common server platform with WebLogic.

Another area of concern was around licensing. Oracle have stated that they will continue to develop GlassFish as open source software (mostly under GPL/CDDL as now), and will continue to offer the product as an open source offering called GlassFish Server Open Source Edition. In addition, Oracle will offer a commercial distribution (Oracle GlassFish Server) which will include closed source add-ons and full support from Oracle, in much the same way as Sun did prior to the acquisition.

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