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J2EE Journal: Article

JBoss Could Be "Sun's Best Defense Against .NET," Says Marc Fleury

JBoss Could Be "Sun's Best Defense Against .NET," Says Marc Fleury

(August 27, 2002) - It all began earlier this month when Scott McNealy implied in an interview that the Open Source model would hamstring Sun completely in its attempt to out-gun Microsoft in the enterprise-level computing arena by threatening the licensing revenue Sun and others need to finance J2EE's advertising and R&D. Now the founder of JBoss, one of the most widely spread OS implementations of all, a full-fledged application server already in its 3.0 version, has published an online rebuttal of McNealy's remarks.

Writing on the main page of the JBoss site, www.jboss.org, Marc Fluery - who is also president of JBoss Group LLC - claims that OS in general "and JBoss in particular" are on the contrary "Sun's best defense against Microsoft .NET."

Can OS Help Save the App Server Tier from .NET?
"Only Open Source," Fleury argues, "has proven uniquely resilient to a Microsoft onslaught. In the same way that Linux has prevented MS NT from dominating the server operating system, JBoss will prevent .NET from making serious inroads into the application server tier, the crucial gateway to enterprise software applications."

Proprietary J2EE Players like BEA Systems, according to Fleury, cannot help Sun half as much as JBoss. Here is his explanation of that: "Last time I talked to [BEA's CTO] Scott Dietzen. . .he claimed that they don't see .NET in the marketplace. Not surprising that .NET lacks visibility in the very pricey end of the enterprise market. At JBoss, we see it plenty. Not only do we see .NET coming into the market, we are good at defending the J2EE turf against it." To Fleury, mind you, JBoss is (as the JBoss.og site proclaims) "the future of Java middleware." So in his view if you're not with JBoss then you're against JBoss. Fleury makes no bones about stating who he feels is lined up against OS: starting with William H. Gates III.

"Times have changed since the 1970s," Fleury says, "when a relative unknown by the name of Bill Gates argued that charging for software licenses was a necessity in order to finance the huge upfront R&D cost necessary to develop an operating system."

"Since that time," he continues, "the subsequent growth of the Internet and the accompanying improvement in Open Source developers' ability to collaborate and develop high-quality software, challenge both Microsoft and Sun's assumption that software development need be accomplished at great expense." As Fleury puts it, "Open Source software is not "free" R&D, but it does come at a very small cost."

At JBoss, he points out "a lot of our professional motivation as developers is tied to the personal satisfaction that can be obtained through the Open Source lifestyle. It's about being your own boss, doing the work you enjoy, living and working where you want, collaborating with your peers worldwide, getting to see the kids grow up. By selling product-related services, many of us are able to work full time on JBoss, with an income as good, if not better, than any corporate development jobs I know of. Compared to the workplace opportunities of our parents' generation, this is priceless."

Income can always be generated from services rather than software licensing, he argues. The solution to financing development at JBoss Group is to pursue the services route.

Providing J2EE Services Can Be a "Moneymaking Machine"
"J2EE is a very services intensive market," Fleury points out. "Those who know how to take advantage of this are sitting on a moneymaking machine. We certainly aren't the only ones to come to this realization. It is also IBM's take on J2EE, where they often discount software licenses if they can make money on services, or, like Sun, on hardware."

Fleury saves his best shot till last. With what he calls "a concluding nod" to McNealy's own emphasis on advertising, he points out that there is one ad from Sun that particularly made an impression on him: the "Innovators Are Always Controversial" campaign from JavaOne 2002.

"If Sun really believes in continuing to embrace innovation," Fleury declares, "they need to adapt to this new Open Source software production mode. For our part, we, the Open Source developers of JBoss, recognize and respect the pioneering work that Sun has done with Java and the J2EE standard. We repeat our offer to work together. We ask Sun to back us and help us to build and market J2EE into one of the best standards and brands the software industry has ever seen."

JDJ News Desk expects to be able to bring you Sun's reply very soon in a subsequent report.

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JDJ News Desk monitors the world of Java to present IT professionals with updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards in the Java and i-technology space.

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