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InfoQ Homepage News JBoss after Redhat

JBoss after Redhat

Many people have been wondering what is going on at JBoss and what the soon-to-close Redhat acquisition will mean for the company.  ZDNet interviewed JBoss CEO / Founder Marc Fleury recently; summarizing the responses: there will be no change in direction, JBoss aims to commoditize the SOA space, a new ESB product is in the works, open source java would be nice, and JBoss is better than WebSphere CE. 

JBoss' declaration of moving into the SOA space joins the chorus of other appserver vendors who have moved in this direction some time ago, the most notable difference being that JBoss' strategy would be similar to that from the application server days, commodization.  On JBoss' SOA strategy:
Open source SOA has already emerged in enterprises.  JEMS is used to host business services and integration or intermediary components such as JBoss jBPM in an SOA today. JEMS has many of the components to support a SOA in its Application Server with web services and Java components, JBoss Messaging for a high performance and affordable backbone, Portal with WSRP, jBPM with BPEL, and Rules for even greater modularity and agility in a SOA by separating the business policies from logic and presentation. JBoss ESB is next and it will be the mass market SOA platform that further simplifies the integration of JEMS, other middleware, and customer applications in a SOA.
However, JBoss ESB is currently in very early stages, and faces competition fom already established open source projects such as Mule and ServiceMix, as well as from existing mature offerings from BEA, IBM, Oracle, Sonic, and others. Mark Little who was a core architect of the Arjuna transactions middleware JBoss acquired last year, is leading the project and they are currently still determining the requirements and basic architecture, with a lot of interesting discussions on the JBoss ESB mailing list.

On open source Java, Marc comments:
Harmony doesn't seem to be very active as a community. IBM will need to bail it out if it wants it to succeed.  Open sourcing Java would be interesting, if anything so that the industry would stop talking about it. The benefits would be of second order, namely being capable of fixing bugs quickly in the codebase, maybe taking the VMs in experimental directions more quickly. Some of that agility is needed in Java. Other than that, I consider the question mostly rhetorical.
And on JBoss' most talked about competition, Marc comments:
Competition is always good for the market and we thrive on it. However, a lot of what you mention in an "alternative" OSS stack isn't even open source. WebSphere CE lags JBoss AS in many capabilities such as clustering, transactions, and EJB3, and IBM's strategy is not to incorporate all of them at that price point. I don't see how they can afford to with their cost structure and overhead. Further the term "Community Edition" is really laughable. CE is a low end, closed or "private" source product with minimal support for SOA capability including only single server support for basic web services and EJB 2. It's not OSS. What superstar developer would want to be associated with it?!?  "CE" has nothing to do with community and is more like a "Children's Edition" of WebSphere AS.
It is normal for companies to be tight-lipped about any direction changes especially before an acquisition, so InfoQ will definitely be tracking what's going on in the months after the deal closes.

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