Apache Software Foundation on Warpath over Java Licencing

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News: Apache Software Foundation on Warpath over Java Licencing

  1. The Apache Software Foundation's battle with Sun Microsystems stepped up a gear last week as the open source community called on Sun to discontinue licences prohibiting Java compatible open source implementations, and make compatibility testing more accessible for them and other open source initiatives such as JBoss.

    An new article on VNunet summarizes the Apache Foundations call to Sun, and quotes a recent article on the subject from O'Reilly, as well as TheServerSide.com's interview with Sun on J2EE Compatibility.

    Read Apache Foundation on Warpath over Java Licencing.

    Threaded Messages (71)

  2. Yes, Long Live opensource!!!
  3. Shouldn't this headline be "ASF on Warpath over Java Licencing _costs_"..... ????

    First, I don't work for Sun, but I am involved in a JSP (MIDP_NG) so I've got a good idea about how the JSP works.

    Isn't the sticking point fundamentally money ? It's not anti-"Open Source", it's anti-free ?

    I read all of the articles, and I couldn't see one point throughout the process where an OpenSource(tm) project couldn't go through the TCK, if it could find a sponsor to
    pay the fees. I'm happy to admit that I missed the point where it says otherwise, but all of the articles just had handwaving about how Sun "destroys Open Source....".

    It's all about how Sun is making money from the J2EE platform. You're free to create whatever you like, you just can't call it Java Compatible unless it passes the certification.
  4. You're certainly right, if SUN wanted to kill open-source
    J2EE projects they would have done so. It's all about
    money.
    But your idea to just find a sponsor to go through the
    certification process is unrealistic. Who would
    pay such a sum? For what? Perhaps to gain some control
    over the project (for some reasons Lutris comes to my mind)
    but no one in an open source project could accept that.
    Altruism and economics is an unusual couple.
    Even if SUN would certify some projects for free, which
    would it be? Who would decide?
    The only chance I see is to ask people who use e.g. JBoss to donate some money. SUN on the other hand could lower the
    fee for open-source projects. So projects with a large
    enough community, with enough support could compete.
    Projects would not have to give up indepence, SUN on the
    other hand has a chance not to lose money (for projects
    that cannibalize their own offerings).

    Ok, I don't see any of this happening in the near future
    but perhaps it could be the way to go. I just don't wanna
    see any SUN bashing. They do what they have to do. It may
    not be nice what they're doing, it may not even be very
    smart, but they are a company. Whaddya expect?
  5. I agree with you, and I think it's the only realistic solution available.
    But it's important to know I much money we are talking about, and how much Sun will lower the cost.
    And are you sure we always need certification ?
    I trust in JBoss or Tomcat because of the community behind.
    For very small projects that's enough: my boss ask me solutions for low or no money and relies on me.
    For big projects, yes you need certification but probably you'd better use something commercial, otherwise your boss can't sell and your customer will not pay for your solution (what's it? Tomcat ? IBM,Bea,Oracle,.... ?).

    We need certification for small-to-middle sized projects, when costs are still important and you don't need all that extra pieces and services of commercial products.
    Please Sun, help us use Java everywhere.

  6. I agree with you, I followed some threads over this. I think it's not about SUN is against OS but OS want SUN to give the TCK for free. I really would like to know.

    Btw, why are there some Microsoft project managers reading this (Java) site and answering questions about .NET but no SUN project manager posts replies ? SUN gets some bad PR here. Are they stupid or arrogant ?

    bye
    -stephan
  7. You just forgot what happened to Lutris concerning
    Enhydra Enterprise.
    Lutris had the money, they wanted to pay, but Sun refused
    because of their open-source license. As soon as Lutris withdrew from the open-source arena, they got certified by Sun.
    Whatever the amount you can pay, and the level of conformance of your product, Sun can refuse to certify it:
    that's the real problem, not the money.
    Sorry for my bad english, I'm french (and contribute to objectweb.org, the home for Jonas, another open-source J2EE platform ;)
  8. "More than four months later Sun still hasn't certified JBoss as J2EE complaint, despite JBoss' assurance that it is, again because the software is open source. "

    Eh? Is that true? I thought JBoss weren't trying for certification because of the cost of the compatibility test. If the kit and the license were free then JBoss would certify - because it's not and they don't have the money they won't. Where's the rub? Surely the certification thing is only to do with branding - and if you are an open source project branding has to be pretty low on your priority list (except as a prestige thing).

    Despite usnig a lot of Open Source and agreeing that Sun are being a little belligerent perhaps - I have a lot of sympathy for Sun on this matter. They are trying, in their own fashion, to protect the Java product - and yes make a little money. The branding of an app certifies a level of compatibility - which is what gives sellers an edge in the market and buyers a fixed criterion. This *helps* in the spread and uptake of the language - and allows Sun to make some money back onthe enormous investment they must have put into Java. If anyone in their living room can just get certification for free the branding becomes meaningless and the major sellers won't play along - so no money for Sun, less money for Java.

    BTW - I have no connections with Sun or anyone connected with this debate. I still wonder why OpenSource projects are so hung up about getting certification for their products - unless they plan to market and sell that product somehow. In which case, they can surely find the money to buy the TCK.

    IMHO


  9. But don't forget it's a lot easier to get open source
    projects into larger companies if you have this offical
    label "certified".
    Without it poor consultants and developers will have to use
    Weblogic and Websphere all the time, *sob*.
  10. I agree certification makes it easier to get OpenSource (OS) products into companies - and my heart bleeds for you poor consultants being forced to work on these 'inferior' commercial products ;-).

    If your company is big and want's to make a serious investment into OS then maybe we should be persuading them to fund putting the product through the TCK as part of the evaluation/purchasing procedure. This pushes the cost of ownership up a bit on the OS product - but levels the playing field a bit for the commercial competitors. This is important I think - competition should run both ways - the OS products already have the odds stacked in their favour as it is.

    Let the commercial products have their certification and their branding - quality will show through in the end whether branded or not. For instance if JBoss doesn't get certification - but becomes the major platform of choice (a la Apache HTTPD) then it kind of makes a mockery of the certification process anyway.

    If you can't join 'em beat 'em.

  11. Yes so true, many times I could have used some
    'good' open source ( or even just free )
    projects instead of having to do more in house
    development or paying an arm and a leg for a
    solution. Why? well there are a few reasons,
    but many of them don't have any merit. I must
    agree that certification would make all the
    difference in the world.
  12. Licencing is about accepting the product as J2EE standard compatible not about branding. I donot understand why SUN is taking such big fee that some cannot afford it. Suppose they start taking $2000 from programmers for Java Certification, it would be a test of who haves not who knows. SUN should support OpenSource rather than acting under pressure from scared J2EE vendors.
  13. Certification takes time, manpower and therefore money.
    It's not an automated process. If SUN would try to test
    each and every open source project, it'd cost them a
    hell of money (ok, agreed, without clear numbers, 'hell'
    is relative)...
    So it's a rather weak comparison (multiple choice tests vs.
    a complete suite of tests that needs some modification)
  14. I do not think test requires more resources than OpenSource has put to develop J2EE products!
    Development of Java language,all the APIs, and J2EE specifications also cost hell of money.
  15. ...that's why they're moving development to India...

    :)

    ok, all I'm saying is, I believe SUN has reason not
    to certify open source projects for free. *I*'d like
    to see them do it (but then I don't hold any of their
    shares), but I'm sure they won't change their mind
    unless *we* can convince them. I believe even in
    open source there has to be a spot for compromise.


  16. What about creating an open source Compatibility test kit? The specificationas are public domain - so there's no limitation in theory.

    Obviously you'd have to be careful what you called it - and it wouldn't necessarily have all the same tests in it.
    But it could get some heavy backing if it took off as any individual or company would have a ready way to test and evaluate any new app server they might be considering investing in for free. Also commercial companies might be interested in having their developers work on it to insert tests that broke their competitiors software and which made their own offerings shine. Give it a name like "Java Enterprise Compliant" and a whizzy logo, eh voila.

    IMHO I think this approach fits more with my idea of how OS works than starting a slanging match with SUN. If they charge for it - we do it for free and fun. After all you don't see OS groups up in arms because iPlanet isn't given away for free - hence JBoss et al.

  17. Or SUN giveup implementation of J2EE compliance certification to OS like they did with Servlet/JSP !!
  18. "What about creating an open source Compatibility test kit? The specificationas are public domain - so there's no limitation in theory."

    I also had this idea, but it's not true that the specifications are public domain. The specifications have a license that says they can only be used to create "clean-room implementations", or something like that. Therefore they may *not* be used to create a test kit. Sun has a lot of money to sue people with, and free (as in free beer) projects usually do not.

    About the cost of certification, that is probably not a large source of revenue for Sun :-) Obviously it's expensive to do it, but in the case of jboss they could do it for free. I think that the reason that they don't is that they are in bed with BEA, IBM and so on. That's probably all there is to it.

    Guglielmo
  19. "The specifications have a license that says they can only be used to create "clean-room implementations", or something like that"

    Very good point. I admit to not having read the small print. It's quite alarming small print though. The license on the J2EE 1.3 Spec (http://java.sun.com/j2ee/j2ee-1_3-fr-spec-license.html) has the following clause about the clean-room implementation:
    "(vi) satisfies all testing requirements available from Sun relating to the most recently published version of the Specification six (6) months prior to any release of the clean room implementation or upgrade thereto; "

    I'm no lawyer - but I think that phrase might have me taking advice. Does it not mean that effectively any product (OS or commercial or personal) that implements or purports to implement the spec has to pass Sun's testing requirements or else "This license will terminate immediately without notice from Sun if you fail to comply with any provision of this license. Upon termination or expiration of this license, you must cease use of or destroy the Specification"

    Maybe I've missed the point here - please correct me if I have. So there is no option - JBoss and other OS app servs etc. have to take the compatibility tests or die. If so then I perfectly understand the OS communities' outrage! Man the barricades!


  20. http://www.jboss.org/licensesun.jsp

    this may be a problem for others though.
  21. I don't see why it would be a problem for ASF to ask people for $10 donation to download their software. Then they could use that money to pay expenses like software certification, equipment, etc.
  22. Open Source asks for too much[ Go to top ]

    Look guys, I'm all for open source products and I think that they are very good, but isn't it getting out of hand when associations such as Apache and JBoss fight for the right to have things handed to them on a silver platter? I mean, COME ON people -- I am definitely not an MS supporter, but they are bang-on right about one thing -- free software is a stupid idea. The people at JBoss and Apache DESERVE TO BE PAID. They SHOULD MAKE MONEY. There, I said it. Now, having said that... it TAKES MONEY TO MAKE MONEY. And in the meantime, while you as a innovative entrepreneur try to make money, the whole economy benefits because in the process OTHERS will make money as well.
    Here is the low-down: to those of you who can't stand the thought of Sun making money ( perish forbid! ), then put your own money where your mouth is and send a tithe of your paycheck to JBoss and Apache, which effectively will accelerate the time it will take for free software to hit the market and put you out of a job. Unbelievable -- in the face of a preposterous proposition, JBoss and Apache have not only managed to convince everyone that their software is superior ( which it is not: the other EJB Containers are up to par with JBoss... WebLogic killer my butt ), but they have also managed to convince the public to go ahead and impale themselves. I can see who the next politicians in this country will be. You've all been Enroned.
  23. Open Source asks for too much[ Go to top ]

    "Unbelievable -- in the face of a preposterous proposition, JBoss and Apache have not only managed to convince everyone that their software is superior ( which it is not: the other EJB Containers are up to par with JBoss... WebLogic killer my butt ), but they have also managed to convince the public to go ahead and impale themselves."

    I also want to get paid to work, but I think it's stupid that we keep building the same things over and over again. I want to work, but I also want to improve the way I work. Frankly, certain innovations will never happen if you wait for corporations to do them. Society needs regular injections of cheap (if not truly free) stuff. It creates new opportunities.

    Guglielmo
  24. Open Source asks for too much[ Go to top ]

    Guglielmo, you wrote:

     Society needs regular injections of cheap (if not truly free) stuff. It creates new opportunities.

    I agree with you. Sometimes a capitalistic-based corporation can go awry with the drive to make more money instead of improving the market. But when this happens, the answer is not to give away stuff for free -- that in effect will destroy the market and destroy your career in the meantime. The argument you make about not wanting to make the wheel all over again is weak. Look at the last 5 years and tell me that things have not improved drastically since HTML was the number one thing recruiters looked for on a resume. JBoss was not a part of the last 5 years' explosion in innovation -- all the other companies that break their backs trying to make good products were. These companies and the people working for them should be paid and paid well. It's a stinking shame that angst-ridden geniuses are managing to turn heads towards the "big evil corporations", when all they need to do to get the results they want is to get a job at one of these companies and put an honest effort into trying to change the way these things are run. I'm tired of hearing all the talk about how IBM and WebLogic are just big clumsy machines siphoning off our efforts. They are not like that at all. Change can come but only great people and great teams can make those changes. The best thing that would happen in this industry is if the Marc Fleury and his argonauts formed a team at IBM or SUN -- then I guarantee you we would DEFINITELY see some real progress. And in the meantime, everybody gets paid. Nothing wrong with that.
  25. Open Source asks for too much[ Go to top ]

    "I'm tired of hearing all the talk about how IBM and WebLogic are just big clumsy machines siphoning off our efforts."

    I don't think that at all. I am not idealistic about this stuff. I do *not* believe that all software should be free (as in GPL). But as a customer, developer, and user, I prefer free software when it is available. And, as a developer, I like that I can download cygwin and run "diff -r" on win32, and I don't have to ask my manager for money. And I like being able to find bugs, or perform code inspections when evaluating products before I use them.

    Guglielmo
  26. Open Source asks for too much[ Go to top ]

    O, really! Open Source asks for too much! Now listen. What the heck would Sun lose if they offered discounted/free certification for select open source projects!? Wouldn't that be gracious of them!!! I know doctors that go overseas to offer their humane skills for the needy at no cost.

    I am telling you, hard-headed people is not hard to find.

    Greed works against you. Check it for yourself.
  27. Open Source asks for too much[ Go to top ]

    I'm really glad you used the doctor analogy because now I will burn you with it.
    So here's a doctor who generously gives 3rd world countries free services. He pays for his plane trip to whereever, and billets his time in the mud huts that serve as his patients' homes. Food is scarce, but he makes due with fried grasshoppers and river urchins.
    As time goes on, people start to recognize that this doctor is excellent at what he does. He gains world publicity because while he could make millions as a paid doctor, he chooses to live like a mongrel serving the needy. He rightfully gains worldwide respect, and other doctors follow his lead. Soon there is a whole army of free doctors travelling throughout the world and the world is better for it.
    Unfortunately one day, one of the free doctors screws up really bad ( insert medical malpractice here ). Turns out that he wasn't really a practicing doctor either, even though he said he was. After much deliberation, it is decided that even all doctors need to be held to a standard of which they can properly be measured so this kind of thing doesn't happen again. A certification costing thousands of dollars will be issued to those doctors who are up to the standard.
    The paid doctors in the 1st world countries have no problem paying for certification -- those that don't are immediately enthusiastic to getting it as soon as possible. It makes them better in the eyes of the world.
    The free-service doctors living in mud huts do not have the money to pay for certification, but their patients don't care. They *KNOW* their doctor is the best.
    The problem arises when the free-service doctor decides that he wants to offer free services to patients who are used to paying for medical attention, those in the free world. He leaves his mud hut in the middle of Timbuktu and opens a practice in downtown Manhatten. The free-service doctor also makes an arrogant claim that he is better than the best doctor in all of New York.
    Someone argues that penniless people are less inclined to complain if there is a medical mistake. Free services doctor assures them that he has made no mistakes.
    Someone else points out that what he's doing is actually detrimental to 1st world society because once he dies, all the New Yorkers who have been used to getting services for free will be out of luck. Free services doctor assures them that he will not die.
    Finally, someone points out that it is too risky for people to go to him over a paid doctor because of the lack of certification. Free services doctor has no comeback for this.
    Although everybody feels sorry for Free services doctor because they *JUST KNOW* that he is a good doctor, free services doctor is stuck. If he starts charging fees for his work in order to get certification, then he will no longer have the comparative advantage over the paid doctors in the city. But if he continues down the path that he's going, then he will never be certified and will get no customers to put the greedy doctors who have been making money all this time out of business.
    So what should free services doctor do? There are two possibilities. One is that the people of the city rally together and pay for the certification, allowing free services doctor to keep his integrity and comparative advantage. The other is that a big fat lie is created that demeans and insults all the other doctors in New York ( whether deservedly or not, it is brought to public attention ), thereby getting more people to use free services doctor simply on the fact that although he is not certified, at least he's as nasty as those paid doctors.
    What do you think free services doctor will end up doing?

    Sincerely,

    Basil
  28. Open Source asks for too much[ Go to top ]

    Sorry, last part should read "at least he's NOT as nasty as those other..."

    Blah.
  29. Open Source asks for too much[ Go to top ]

    Can you write in fewer words what you want to say? It's to long to finish!
  30. Open Source asks for too much[ Go to top ]

    <quote>
    ...free software is a stupid idea. The people at JBoss and Apache DESERVE TO BE PAID. They SHOULD MAKE MONEY. There, I said it. Now, having said that... it TAKES MONEY TO MAKE MONEY. And in the meantime, while you as a innovative entrepreneur try to make money, the whole economy benefits because in the process OTHERS will make money as well.
    </quote>

    Don't know about Apache, but are you so sure that the people at JBoss aren't making money?

    A friend of mine went to one of their Open Houses and Marc Fleury claimed that JBoss Group made a $500K in gross revenues last year and was on its way to a $1 mil this year (I heard Marc actually got flak for this from his audience of die hard software commies). Sure that amount of money would be pathetic for a traditional corporation, but for a couple of developers it's not too bad. The point is that they sell services and not a product. While the whole industry is trying to jack up the price of software and drive developer salaries into the ground (post-imperialist wet dream of 3rd world code farm), these people are doing the opposite. The software is free, they sell their services at a premium. Sort of makes sense, at least to me as a developer.

    I think the point is that the best developers in Open Source are capable of getting any corporate development job they want. They choose not to. Why? It's a lifestyle choice. Because they are actually living a really good life working in Open Source, writing the software they like with freedom and flexibility you don't get at a big company. Add to that a better payout, and they're not exactly rushing back to the corporate world. Plus, then they'd have to put a muzzle on some of the things they say and write :)

    Look at Hiro Protagonist, the main character of Snowcrash or Neo from the Matrix. These developers probably get off on being outside the system. If on top of that, they make a ton of money, they'll become the system? Notice how no major Open Source developer writes (or much) on these threads. They're probably actually working while we're wanking around in our corporate jobs debating pointless things to pass the time and dreaming of a better life. Hats off to those who are living the life.
  31. Does anybody know the estimated cost for certification? How much are we talking here?
  32. "So there is no option - JBoss and other OS app servs etc. have to take the compatibility tests or die."

    I think Marc Fleury over at jboss tried to sidestep the specification license by saying that "jboss is based on widely available standards". I would love to find out who is right, legally. On the one hand I think Marc's position is wishful thinking, on the other hand I think that with enough money and legal ammunition one could prove that you cannot write a book and limit people's ability to use it any way they want. You might be able to do it with software, but a paper book? Am I buying the book or the license? Besides, I use the spec mainly to look up things in it, not to build ejb servers. According to the fine print, that's illegal. That just can't be right.

    IMO rather than being hostage to Sun's executives people would be better off writing a completely new oline transaction processing system. And the final result would be much better than J2EE because OSS is way more efficient a process than the java community process. Another issue is that standards created by committes of vendors are usually not so great because they have to be vague enough that all the existing products comply with the "standard". This happened with SQL.

    Also, the motivation behind industry standards is that a vendor can go bankrupt but a standard doesn't. However, with open source software, you don't have to worry too much about a project getting shut down (and you always have the source.) So it's ok to make an open source product that doesn't implement any specific standard. Instead of worrying about following a spec you can just worry about making a good product.

    Guglielmo

    P.S. Java and J2EE are trademarks of Sun Microsystems ;-)
  33. <comment>
    What about creating an open source Compatibility test kit? The specificationas are public domain - so there's no limitation in theory.
    </comment>

    That's an excellent idea - and I agree with you in that it would help the open-source projects.

    The problem that I see is that Sun is gradually getting into a place of increasing conflict with the rest of the development community.

    They won't open-source Java. Certification costs a lot of money (with good reason, as someone mentioned earlier in the thread - given the time and energy required). So, the Open Source community has a lot of issues with Sun.

    In addition, you have Sun starting to realize that they need to be a more serious player in the application server marketplace, thus competing with the same companies that are supposed to be their partners (IBM, BEA, Oracle, etc.).

    Now, there's nothing wrong with being a partner and a competitor, but, longer term, it isn't a very cohesive strategy for success. Sun seems to be creating a difficult world for itself -let's hope Java and J2EE doesn't get lost in it...

    <disclaimer> I'm not saying that J2EE is going away or that Java isn't a good thing, bleh, bleh, bleh...</disclaimer>
  34. You are right, nowadays SUN is known by JAVA not otherwise, and giving up control over JAVA means they will remain nobody in the market!
  35. <Fabian Crabus>Posted By: Fabian Crabus on February 20, 2002 in response to this message.
    ...that's why they're moving development to India...

    :)

    </Fabian Crabus>

    ...And if SUN is not able to manage certification price resonable, they can also move it to India like development...!!!
    :) :-)
  36. what could happen is that some vendors (not only open source projects) move to .NET because certification is easier or cheaper (or maybe not there).

    IMHO, as far as open source projects are concerned, there are only a few ones which are big enough to really need certification. I'm talking about JBOSS and Tomcat, although there might be more. Maybe the best thing would be if sun allowed certification for those biggies
  37. Floyd:
    "the open source community called on Sun to discontinue licences prohibiting Java compatible open source implementations"

    Apache: "Apache has participated in the JSPA revision process with the following goals:

    1. The JSPA must require that a JSR spec license cannot prohibit a compatible independent open source (Apache-style license minimum) implementation"

    Apache:
    "Apache recently learned that in Sun's legal opinion none of these (save the first) has changed in status since the currently in-force JSPA."

    So free compatibility testing might be a problem, but open source implementations are not.

    Tom

  38. Oh my.

    I was watching an episode of Frasier last night. It was the one where Frasier quit the Wine Club, and Niles became the "Court Master." Long story short, when niles started babbling on about rules & regulations of the club, a guy in the back raised his hand and said, "Enough of this -- when do we get to drink?" So, I gotta say, "Enough of this -- when do we get to code?"

    :-)

    As a user and (individual) supporter of JBoss, and a reluctant user of Weblogic a la my employer, I know that JBoss surpasses Weblogic in terms of bang-for-buck. Weblogic is bloatware (like Oracle).

    At some point, JBoss wil be recognized as the clear winner as the best product in it's category. Focus on that -- not on the stupid certification that is only a marketing tool and income source for SUN.

    Better yet -- what about an "Open Source J2EE compatibility test?" I'm sure if you took the requirements of the test and 'open-sourced' them (lame term, but you get my drift), you would get assurance that the product in question is J2EE compliant by ASF's standards (which, IMHO, is saying much more than something being compliant by Sun's standards).

  39. At some point, JBoss wil be recognized as the clear winner >as the best product in it's category. Focus on that -- not >on the stupid certification that is only a marketing tool >and income source for SUN.


    I'm afraid app servers are too complex for there ever to be a clear winner as the best product in the category. Even if JBoss was the best, just look at Smalltalk/Eiffel which were almost universally agreed to be the best OO languages.

  40. I don't see anything wrong Sun has done with this. We may not like it, but Sun invested tons of resources including money to develope thousands of test cases and as one person pointed out, it's not an automatic process to go through the cert process. It's also an ongoing process because they need to update and enhance the test suite. Sun has every right to charge the service it provides for the community.

    Yes, it would be nice if Sun waives the fee for an open source server, but do you think it's fair to the commercial companies who paid the money?

    If JBoss really wants to get certified, come up with the money or negotiate a deal with Sun to pay less, but don't cry foul!
  41. Whatever be the legal merits of Sun's stand on the certification of Open Source implementations, they are being shortsighted from a marketing viewpoint.

    My company provides consultancy to client organisations, and recently, we made a joint investigation for a client into the best technology on which to base their future business systems. The choice was between .NET and J2EE. Ultimately, the decision went in favour of J2EE, in spite of a perceived order-of-magnitude cost advantage for .NET, simply because J2EE was "more mature and tested".

    If the same decision was to be made a year from now, it could easily go the other way. With both .NET and J2EE able to boast reference sites, cost would then be the primary consideration.

    It is instructive to note that neither this client nor my company was willing to consider an Open Source platform, primarily because of the issue of support. Arguably, if an Open Source product such as JBoss was certified as J2EE-compliant, it may have been a defensible decision to hire third-party support for it. As it was, Open Source started off with too many strikes against it.

    Mind you, the client was very seriously looking at Open Source implementations for less critical areas, mainly because of budgetary constraints. They were in fact using Apache HTTP server and Tomcat in a few internal applications, but the project sponsors were wearing a heavy political risk by doing so.

    Faced with budget constraints and the need for standard, certified and supported products, organisations in the future are very likely to move to .NET, because it can offer the most acceptable mix of these features. That is something that Sun will certainly not like, and that is why they must make the J2EE alternative more attractive. One simple way of doing that is to facilitate the certification of Open Source products, either by waiving certification fees, or by setting up a separate fund to pay for such certification. If they fail to do this, organisations such as my client will not think twice about choosing .NET as their application platform.

    Regards,
    Ganesh
  42. I'm sure in the current 'political climate' serious discussions can go on about .Net versus J2EE.

    However, there is a third alternative, which is simply to create point solutions as necessary and ignore these megalithic burdens.

    I am convinced this will become more and more the 'smart' solution to the situation. Of course, it's not an approach that a professional 'decision maker' type manager will be comfortable, because he's more interested in identifying someone to hold responsible. But for a 'get-involved' type manager who understands how to make software, the choice becomes ever clearer.

  43. Ganesh, you make a truly appealing argument for OS. I have to admit that by reading the posts here, I have softened my stance a little. But I still have a bad taste in my mouth, and it is because I don't see JBoss as this great free software that is making life easier for businesses. I see it as damaging a very healthy routine that currently drives the market we are in. Let me explain.
    Because vendors charge money for their product, money that is otherwise simply added to the fat of the corporate wallet is instead dispersed among talented people at BEA, HP, IBM, and so on. This is a GOOD thing because the entire country benefits when more people have money in their pockets. Ergo, the best situation is to circulate funds around such that many people EARN it. What JBoss product is striving to do( and read their home page if you don't believe me ) is to destroy that cycle for good, ie. kill BEA. This is the part that I take exception to. If you have a good product, and JBoss is a great product, then make people pay for your intellectual property. It does no good to give it away for free: what if doctors and lawyers gave their advice away for free? Do you think that this would be good for those industries? No, it would totally ruin it because there would be no incentive for those people to get better other than the fact that "they love being doctors and lawyers".
    I guess it's not that I'm anti-OS... I guess I'm just pro-economy. I really think that giving this kind of thing away is a bad idea. JBoss should give away their developer's edition, but sell the professional for a well-deserved fee.
  44. Basil,

    I believe in the Capitalist system as much as you profess to do, but my analysis leads me to support Open Source rather than decry it. Let me explain.

    I work for a user organisation that "consumes" IT platform products and builds applications on top of them. Everything we do is subject to budget constraints. I looked over the Bill of Materials for my latest project and was amazed to see that out of the cost of hardware and platform software required for the project, 80% was for hardware and 20% was for software licenses. That 20% worked out to a whopping amount in dollar terms!

    We routinely de-scope application components because the development costs cannot be justified within the budget. I couldn't help thinking that if we removed the license fee component of the costs by using Open Source, then we could develop more application functionality with the savings and add value to the application. Our organisation would be doing itself a favour by using Open Source.

    Viewed in that context, I found your comment about needing to support commercial vendors very strange indeed. I thought it was a grotesque Marxist interpretation of Capitalism -- that consumers must think not of their own interests, but of the interests of vendors or the "economy". How is this any different from communist governments asking citizens to place the State's interests above their own?

    A truly capitalistic system would be where customers ruthlessly looked after their own interests. If that means some vendors go out of business, tough!

    If you're still not convinced, I would refer you to Ayn Rand's definition of Capitalism, which I think is the purest definition there is. All "economic" definitions of Capitalism such as private ownership of capital in fact flow from the political ideology she put forward, which is very simple:

    Individuals have the inalienable right to act upon their reason, and are entitled to the fruits of their actions. Individuals have exclusive rights over the property they gain in this way and can dispose of it in any way they choose. No one may initiate force against another. The only way for property to change hands is by voluntary consent of both parties (i.e. either gifts, bequests or trade).

    You will see that Open Source is a 100% capitalistic system. Programmers write software of their own free will. They assert their ownership of it through copyright notices. They have the right to dispose of this software in any way they choose. They can destroy it, they can give it away to the public domain, they can sell licenses to the compiled binaries, or -- they can provide access to the software's source code under an Open Source license. They have the right to this decision, and no one has the right to tell them what to do. (So even if you prefer every programmer to only sell licenses to binaries, you have no right to demand it of them). Licenses like the GNU GPL demand that publicly distributed modifications to source code be themselves covered by the same license. Is this communistic? No, because other programmers have full rights to reject these terms and not to touch software covered by this license. If they accept the terms of the license, they are entering into the contract *of their own free will*, and must be held to it. That is Capitalism.

    So what part of Open Source do you find anti-capitalist?

    I find it amusing that advocates of Capitalism take a very narrow how-can-companies-make-money interpretation of Capitalism and attack Open Source on that basis. What an irony that Open Source epitomises the protection of individual property rights and free trade like no other system!

    Regards,
    Ganesh Prasad
  45. Ganesh,

    Like Communism, OS seems to work real well on paper, but when you get human interests involved, it all falls to pieces. Woudln't it be great if all your food needs were taken care of, all your health care was taken care of, you didn't have to worry about property taxes (because you didn't realy own your property), your medical was covered, and you always had a job. Ahhhh, doesn' that sound sweet? Well, it has never worked. There's always a group that ofsets the balance and makes the system not work. In USSR's case, it was the government, in OS case, it's turning into ASF. Your definition of capitalism:

    "Individuals have the inalienable right to act upon their reason, and are entitled to the fruits of their actions. Individuals have exclusive rights over the property they gain in this way and can dispose of it in any way they choose. No one may initiate force against another. The only way for property to change hands is by voluntary consent of both parties (i.e. either gifts, bequests or trade). "

    is completely contrary to how ASF is behaving. ASF not respecting Sun's entitlement to the fruits of their actions, nor their exclusive rights over the property they gain (the J2EE certification brand). ASF _IS_ initiating force against another, and is attempting to make property change hands not by voluntary consent.

    I think the problem is the motivation behind OS has shifted from the free exchange of ideas, to ensuring that no one make any personal gain by using the core ideas. I think for all the talk that ASF has about 'freedom of software', they are certainly acting like it's time to pay the piper (with respect to Sun). Even if all ASF wants is recognition for their works, that's not free, is it? I thought OS was about the free exchange of ideas and releasing something as OS would give the freedom to anyone to do whatever they want to do with it, even claim it as their own...why shouldn't they, if it was given away freely? As we are seeign right now, in a perfect world, that's how people would behave...not care how the 'free' software that was put out there for anyone to use, but the reality of it is people do care, and that's where it all breaks down.

    -Chris
  46. Chris said:

    > ASF _IS_ initiating force against another, and is attempting to make property change hands not by voluntary consent.

    <LOL> No, they're not! They're not sending armed thugs over to Sun HQ to beat VPs over the head, are they? You can accuse them of making unreasonable demands, but they're not initiating physical force. Sun can shrug and do nothing, with no harmful consequences to themselves. So it's not "force".

    Besides, I never defended their "right" to free certification (see my posts above). I merely said it made market sense for Sun to strengthen Open Source J2EE products against the .NET threat, independently of what the ASF may ask for.

    Hmmm, ASF's actions have as much to do with Open Source as Microsoft's actions have to do with Capitalism. Why do you use the actions of an entity to beat up the larger concept?

    Regards,
    Ganesh Prasad
  47. May I suggest a good article concerning the "incentive" that pushes people to create ? Have a look at Eben Moglen's point of view concerning free software and copyright issues ( http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/publications/anarchism.html).
    Moglen has participated to the elaboration of the Gnu Public License, as a legal counsel for the Free Software Foundation (free of charge, of course ;).
    His advice is quite polemic, but really worth reading.
  48. Hi,

    The thought that Marc Fleury needs to get paid etc etc and these guys are producing open source for altruism is simply not true.

    I think if there ever was a salary survey people who specialise on open source would come up highly

    The point is open source like Apache and JBoss are a brand in their own right. Maybe not so much in the corporate world but surely among developers they have mindshare and this is what is maybe troubling people

    The other thing is source code ownership helps product firms which are trying to write products and may need to alter bits of it without increasing price of product

    And in fact i have worked for investment banking product firms that had their own middleware where objects navigated accross associations etc etc - i mean this is nothing new under the sun and people have written entity bean like systems before - and there was a time prior to java when people wrote those kind of stuff in c++ -its very difficult to convince those kind of experienced people now to spend a huge amount on a weblogic etc etc
  49. Thank you for that link to Moglen's article -- it was an incredible read.

    -Ted
  50. I don't agree that creating point solutions is a "smart" way of doing things. In the organisations I have worked with, point solutions have turned out to be difficult legacy systems to integrate. I would call this approach expedient rather than pragmatic.

    My argument was not religious. I tried to look at the situation (J2EE vs. .NET) from Sun's point of view. Obviously, Sun would not want .NET to gain market share. From a customer's point of view though, both are equally valid alternatives to be evaluated on their technical and business merits.

    But what is important is that organisations implement business solutions in line with a consistent enterprise-wide architecture and platform, otherwise they end up being silos that are very difficult to integrate at a later stage.

    I'm sorry, but I must reject the "point solution" school of thought. It creates too many problems down the track.

    Regards,
    Ganesh Prasad
  51. Ganesh,

    I'm extremely sorry that you have rejected the "point" school of thought, because it is intended to open the door to solutions which are desperately needed, and premature rejection is a large part of the problem.

    Perhaps, while you can't see this, you'd be prepared to hold an open mind, and just see if every time you're asked to look at a situation, you aren't applying the "point" method of examining its particular characteristics.

    That's what I mean by "point", and when you go further and try to find a solution which matches that situation, you are doing something very intelligent.

    "Point" doesn't have to mean incompatible with everything else - if you want good interfacing, it's a point requirement. Just don't restrict your options in meeting the requirement, by telling everyone they have to use EJBs (for example) or XML (for example). If they happen to suit, fine. If not, use what does suit. Better to broaden the interworking technologies, and definitely better to break free of vendor or technology lock-ins. Doing that intelligently is the challenge, and the megaliths don't attempt to meet it. They don't want you free or intelligent, they want you dumb and dependent. Or haven't you noticed ?

    I'm not going to argue any more about it, though. You see the point or not :-)
  52. Tim said:

    > if you want good interfacing, it's a point requirement.

    Well, if that's the way you define it, there's no argument :-).

    What I've seen far too often is a hodge-podge of systems put in place by people who thought they were doing the smart thing for their area. Unfortunately, a whole heap of tactical solutions don't add up to a strategic solution, because interoperability wasn't a consideration to start with. That's the problem I see with point solutions, and in fact, a large bank I'm working with at the moment has explicitly rejected a particular proposal because it is a "point solution" and they want a durable enterprise architecture.

    Regards,
    Ganesh Prasad
  53. So what is Apache bitching about? Sun is not showing them enough love? As far as I understand, Apache, unlike JBoss, receives funding from Sun as well as IBM and their servlet engine Tomcat is J2EE-certified by Sun. In contrast, JBoss appears to have no strong industry allies, no VC funding, and every day it exists and grows is a major pisser to Sun, IBM, BEA, HP, Oracle and Microsoft. Hats off to them for achieving what they do in such hostile conditions.

    As for the statement about why don't Marc Fleury and the Open Source argonauts go write the same software for Sun and IBM, it overlooks the irony that both Marc (according to the bio on his website) and the original developers of WebLogic too (I believe) worked for Sun. It appears they didn't go on to develop killer app servers until they left the solar system. Sun, on the other hand, purchased the original iPlanet from Netscape.
  54. Bad Scenario[ Go to top ]

    ASF to Sun: Why should we use your lame standards when we can make our own?

    Sun to ASF: Screw you!

    ASF to Sun: No, screw you.
  55. Bad Scenario[ Go to top ]

    Joel: way to go I can agree with that. Allow me to further your comments.

    ASF to Sun: Why should we use your lame standards when we can make our own?

    Sun to ASF: Because we're a legitimate business, we own the copyrights to the JVM, your livelihood, and you are an ungrateful piece of ---- for even considering it. Plus, that's what MicroSoft keeps saying and look where it has led them.

    As for Marc Fleury and his cohorts making 500K or a million in revenues or whatever, all I have to say is GOOD FOR THEM. Maybe they'll come to realize that the point of the matter isn't to drive the rest of us into salary oblivion, but instead to sell *both* their software product and their superior services on the open market, where they will undoubtedly kick some corporate butt.
    I'm sorry, but I cannot envision a world in which millions of Java developers are employed "selling services". Only if the services are part of a structured support team's business objectives in selling complementary products such as tools and servers will we progress as a country and within our own careers.

    Think about it: Open Source is a movement that involves the creators of a product reaping ALL the benefits of their innovations for themselves. Only a small minority of today's developers will be able to decipher the source code of their products, regardless of whether or not you can download it for free. Let me be clear -- I am personally not afraid of this particular scenario, I'm only afraid of what will ensue --- an elite group of developers controlling the market with the old "bait and hook". The bait is the promise of free software; the hook is that they will crucify you with the service charges. Does anybody really think that there will be a whole army of developers that will have the ability to self-train themselves on how JBoss works?? No way!! That's the beauty of companies like BEA, IBM, HP, IONA, etc etc charging good money for their product. Because they do this, they can afford to train excellent consultants and provide first class service. What's JBoss going to do to counter this? Ask you to work out of your garage and then come to work for them on a commission basis? Yeah, right.

    It is a very MicroSoft-ish thing to suggest that by reducing the cost of one thing will result in lower overall expense! Spare me... this is just another attempt to take over the market and create elitism in our industry. Welcome to the future, gentlemen. Please line up in single file for your unemployment check.
  56. Bad Scenario[ Go to top ]

    <quote>
    I'm only afraid of what will ensue --- an elite group of developers controlling the market with the old "bait and hook". The bait is the promise of free software; the hook is that they will crucify you with the service charges. Does anybody really think that there will be a whole army of developers that will have the ability to self-train themselves on how JBoss works?? No way!! That's the beauty of companies like BEA, IBM, HP, IONA, etc etc charging good money for their product. Because they do this, they can afford to train excellent consultants and provide first class service.
    </quote>

    This is really reactionary thinking here. First of all not only do BEA, IBM, HP, IONA charge good money for their products, they also charge good money for their services. In fact, in addition to purchasing their product you are also usually forced to buy a services package. Also open source projects can't affort to code anything too obscure. Because it's open source, the code has to be transparent enough for others to contribute otherwise the project will die.

    As Davies points out in the earlier post, it is only the developers of proprietary web app server software who are threatened here. Not the entire developer community. And you know what, a market sector that is in danger of being obliterated by a better or equal-quality free product is not a healthy sector that deserves to survive. That's what progress is about. New technologies and techniques inevitably will replace older, inferior models.

    Also, why as a developer are you afraid of elite developers? As a corporate developer the work you create is supporting a whole layer of corporate fat who currently presided over by the marketing and management elite. Look at Enron. Do you think those executives gave a rat's ass about their corporate IT department? Get real.
  57. Basil McRae
    "Here is the low-down: to those of you who can't stand the thought of Sun making money (perish forbid!)"

    I don't think anyone here reasonably objects to Sun making money. Here are two ways Sun makes money from controlling the J2EE brand:
    1. Directly through licensing J2EE to vendors and ensuring that only those licensees can produce J2EE branded products.
    2. Indirectly by looking after their developer community i.e. ensuring it grows rather than shrinks. The more J2EE developers, the more J2EE app servers, the more licensing fees Sun gets. Although less factor is less tangible, it is still undoubtedly a financial consideration for Sun because its J2EE developers are its key asset.

    Where there are problems for Sun is that a segment of its developer community wants easy access to certified OS J2EE products. Sun cannot afford to ignore them.

    Look again at Karen Tegan's (Director of J2EE compatibility) comment about J2EE:
    "The J2EE compatible brand has achieved significant momentum over the past two years, and we want to make sure that any open source efforts don't impact the viability of that effort."

    Open Source does not have to be a threat to J2EE. J2EE OS app servers WANT to be compatible. They WANT to have access to the CTS so they can prove they are compatible. The issue is not about OS being a threat to compatibility - it's about the threat to the revenue Sun derives from J2EE.

    However, not wanting to sound contrary but the certification of J2EE products itself is NOT about money - at least not when taken in isolation from the rest of the certification process. The certification process could be published in full and J2EE vendors could certify themselves. This is feasible - the process, while not automated, is objective. In other words, it must be reproducible following a given set of instructions. If the testing process (and the software being tested) were available openly, anyone (with time and skills of course) could verify that an OS J2EE product that claims to be conformant actually is. Sun does not need to be involved beyond publication of the testing process. I'm sure any competitors would gladly point out where an OS app server had not passed conformance tests, so the system is self-regulating and free (for Sun).

    Where money comes into it is that having such an open certification process would obviate the need for J2EE licenses (and thus a source of revenue) for Sun. Why would BEA etc pay Sun to perform the testing just to give them J2EE branding? After all, the J2EE brand is primarily a guarantee about conformance to the spec/test suite so if companies can prove conformance without paying Sun, they won't - buyers are not likely to differentiate between "J2EE branded by Sun" and "Passed the J2EE Compatibility Suite - independently verified by 5 sources".


    So if Sun is to make the test suite openly available, it puts its J2EE licensing revenue at considerable risk. Now I don't know either a) How much Sun gets from J2EE licensing (I suspect it is not a trivial amount) or b) How much they intend to rely on it in the future. What is clear is that their J2EE licensing arrangements mean that "Sun is just a hardware company" is simply not true.

    I interpret Sun's position (as expressed by Karen Tegan's quote above) on J2EE/OSS as this: Keep the test suite closed because we need it to generate revenue (via licensing) from it. Don't slam open source projects though because, after all, they help us by keeping our developer community happy.

    As time goes on, if support for OSS in Java continues to grow, Sun will find it increasingly difficult to balance the desires of its developer community with its revenue from licenses. How can OS advocates help shift the balance?

    Basil McRae suggests:
    "put your own money where your mouth is and send a tithe of your pay check to JBoss and Apache, which effectively will accelerate the time it will take for free software to hit the market and put you out of a job."

    I think this is a misguided for a couple of reasons. Firstly, a more constructive (and cheaper!) way to promote Open Source software is to simply use it and encourage others to do likewise. If you can, work on the code directly yourself. The more developers using OSS, the more Sun will need to take notice of them. Not that giving money to OSS initiative that you like is a _bad_ thing either - just that there are many other ways to contribute and if you contribute to a project by coding for it, you are helping yourself (by learning) as well as helping the project which is much more satisfying than writing a cheque.

    Secondly, making or using OSS will not necessarily put people out of a job. It depends on what you do. I can see no reason to think why a company would pay a J2EE developer less to develop a product on JBoss than on Weblogic, because what they are paying for is the developer's _skills_. On the other hand, if JBoss becomes very popular, it may force developers who work for commercial J2EE vendors out of a job because they won't want to pay for the _product_ when they can get an equally good or better OSS equivalent.

    Luke Studley thinks:
    "What about creating an open source Compatibility test kit? The specifications are public domain - so there's no limitation in theory."
    HP tried this with the Mauve test suite that was intended to enable clean room Java implementations – it still exists but is hardly a big force in the industry. While the equivalent for J2EE would be nice, it’s a _big_ project – Personally, I’d rather people spend their time improving the existing OSS rather than making another test suite. I feel that supporting OSS directly (as mentioned above) is the most effective way that you as a developer can do to support OSS. Contrary to what people think, Sun does care about its developer community. Not because it likes you guys ;-> but because it needs you. If you want Sun to embrace J2EE OSS more, show them by using/supporting/promoting/coding it whenever you can.

    Sun does make big contributions to the OS community (NetBeans, StartOffice, JXTA to name a few) but these are overshadowed by the arguments over Java and J2EE licensing. It seems like fundamental conflicts of interest within Sun prevent it from being able to embrace OS fully. They could perhaps help reduce some of these conflicts of interest by getting out of the J2EE product market altogether and focusing instead on providing J2EE services for any J2EE vendor’s product. If their main revenue from J2EE becomes services, rather than products and licensing, it will be less onerous for them to change their licenses to make them more appealing to OS developers. Like IBM, a focus on services would enable them to take a more OS friendly attitude. It would also mean they get more real world interaction with the products that their specs generate and give them a direct financial incentive to ensure interoperability between competing J2EE products – a beneficial side effect we would also welcome.


    Finally, could someone from Sun who is reading this forum please comment on the issues that are raised in this forum. Many people who visit theserverside form an important part of the J2EE community and they would definitely appreciate some open dialogue with Sun about this issue.


    Cheers,
    Richard
  58. Richard, I agree that somebody from SUN posting on the forum would help matters. Your points are that OSS is good for the community in that we all learn by participating, and I'm not arguing that. Where your argument fails is that you do not consider the fact that JBoss and Apache are not the answers to our desire for standardized software and coding methodologies. These companies represent the foundation of a traditional business with the only difference simply being a unique way of approaching the market. Once everybody uses JBoss and BEA is defeated as Marc Fleury so sorely desires, he and his JBoss people will BECOME THE NEXT BEA. We will have gone full circle, and the whole time we have spent arguing for open software will have become a waste of our productivity and time.
  59. Seems to be some strongly held opinions here:

    I'm not sure why some software being made freely available to some individuals/companies affects my ability to make a living. I can work on new layers of software on top of the free stuff or provide support for the free stuff or rely on the fact that lots of companies will always want a large company to supply softeware for support (and blame) reasons.

    I'm not sure how much certification would help ASF/JBoss. I suspect the reason for not using OS for most companies is support not certification. With Weblogic you know there are people who are paid to provide support, you won't be faced with 'I'm having a vacation' or 'I'm working on interesting new stuff' and most companies aren't interested in poking through the source with deadlines looming.

    Sun don't appear to be threatening JBoss or ASF in any way, if they start doing that there will be many more people at the barricades. They are just saying 'certification is a commercial process'
  60. I think it will be amusing when this whole thing blows up in ASF's face. There's two possible outcomes here: Sun gets arm-twisted into giving them certification for free, or Sun doesn't. In case 1), I think it would give pause to any corporation using their software because who knows when the beast will turn it's head on them and start making them change their business practices? In case 2), ASF lost the battle and can go about holding its breath until its face turns blue or starts dedicating its resources to .net development (I'm sure the Sun engineers in ASF will be all over THAT!).

    I also think it's shameful for the media mis-represent this situation saying "Sun will not cerfity the software because it is open source" or "Sun is against open source" when the REAL story is "Sun will not give away its services for free".

    Why doesn't Sun go back to ASF and say 'We require that you start charging for your products so that you can pay for the certification.' Would that be any different than ASF saying to Sun 'We require that you give away your services for free.'? Of course not, and both things are absurd.

    I guess i'm just happy that I haven't been dependent on any OS software for any of my products to date. At least when software is paid for you know what you are getting....I've never been in the situation where I paid for software and then 2 weeks later I get a phone call saying 'Oh, you know that lisencing agreement? Well, it's changed now, and we want more money from you.'

    This whole thing reeks of communism. Communism doesn't work, folks! And ASF's behavior is a direct indication of this! Can you imagine if all software was OS but ASF was the 'big dog' of the OS nation? If you think strong-arming corporations into giving away products for free 'just for them' do you have any idea what they would be capable of if they were the _the_ OS 'government'?

    -Chris
  61. My company is currently developing a J2EE App Server appliance. The current plan uses JBoss as the application server, so we pursued a J2EE certification from Sun.

    Cost aside, Sun has told us that code obtained under the LGPL cannot be used in a product that is governed by a SCSL licensing agreement. This includes J2EE and J2SE licenses. So even if we paid for the JCK and JBoss passed all the tests, we could not distribute our product.

    They did not have a problem with us releasing a product based on JBoss or any other open source product, only that we could not certify it and use the J2EE certified logo.

    Whether a lack of J2EE certification is a major problem remains to be seen, but my experience has been that most customers want a product that is supported and does what they want at a reasonable price. There are always customers who are sticklers about certification, so in that situation, open source will always lose unless Sun changes it's licensing.

    Stephen
  62. I think that some people here are missing the larger picture too. ASF isn't just arguing about certification. There's other issues that Apache (and the OpenSource community) has with Sun. Take for example the log4j project. log4j is an excellent logging API developed by the jakarta project. However, Sun has decided not to use this API in the new 1.4 JDK. There are other examples of well developed and established APIs and technologies that Sun has altogether ignored or worse, developed their own competing API that is inferior. My understanding is that ASF is expressing what is felt by more and more developers--that Sun has too much control and is using that control unwisely. Yeah, yeah, I know that Sun developed JAVA, but the language also has a life of its own. Many significant improvements have been made to java outside of SUN's labs. SUN has also not yet submitted java to be standardized. Yes, even most OS projects have some sort of ruling body, but that ruling body is considered a "benevolant" dictator. When the dictator's reign becomes too harsh, expect to hear some grumbling. SUN is obviously positioning J2EE against .NET and using it for their own corperate benefit and survival. I personally don't want to get stuck in between these two giants as they continue to slug it out. Those companies and organizations that have made a serious contribution to the java platform also want to have some serious influence in defining JAVA, its standards and certification, etc., and also probably don't want to end up getting used by SUN in the battle against MS. It's natural for Apache and anyone else for that matter to want to wrest control from SUN. Likewise it's natural for SUN to want to maintain that control. As developers I think we need to ask ourselves what's better for us as a community and for the future of the java platform. One single vendor or more openness?

    As for JBoss, I haven't heard them complaining about not being certified recently. They know they're reasonably compliant and those who use the product know exactly what they're getting. The fight here isn't for or because of JBoss or open source certification, it's about control and influence in the java platform.
  63. Stephen: What portion of code that you are releasing is going to be goverened by SCSL? I assume the product you are deploying is LGPL, but what 'source' are you lisencing that you require Sun Community Source Lisence? Are you saying that J2EE Certification is a source lisence? I think you need to explain some things there...Perhaps, the problem is that once JBoss is certified, at what point does the certification become invalid because of code changes? The very next patch? Does JBoss need to now subscribe to a fixed versioning process and each version can be deemed 'certified' but as soon as the product is modified the new version isn't 'certified'? Something to think about....perhaps that's part of the probelm with OS: the code is constantly changing, so how do you keep up with the 'certification'?

    J Aaron: you say that the fight isn't over JBoss or open source certification, it's about control and influence in the java platform. To that I say 'wha-wha-what?' This whole thread started by comments from Sun saying that they didn't want open source to undermine their initiatives. Translation: If they give away certifications for free, they will need to go back to all the other lisencees and do their certifications for free, thus UNDERMINING their business on making money on the certification process. Saying that now all Apache wants is to have control of the standard, i'm sorry, but just because they released a few decent libs and producs doesn't mean that they can just come on in and drive the Java platform in their own direction. Even Sun doesn't even do that, they have a JCP in place that allows anyone to post suggestions and enhancements, it's reviewed, and then put into the API if accepted. Many many many companies have contributed to Java (not just Apache) and i think it's a little niave to say that an OS organization is perfect for managing this just by virtue of it being OS.

    -Chris




  64. Chris- I'm not saying that Apache should be in charge of the java platform or anything like that. I was trying to point out that Apache's issues with SUN stem from more than just certification. I don't think either side is necessarily right or wrong here. And in fact I don't think that SUN should make certification free (maybe a "special" open-source version of certification of OS projects, perhaps) because that obviously isn't fair for those companies who have already shelled out quite a bit for certification. Both sides have their points and both sides have their fallacies. What I'm attempting to point out here is that the issue is more than just certification. A large part of it is Apache trying to accert more influence on the Java platform. Whether that's good or not is harder to call.
  65. J Aaron: That's fine. I didn't mean to put words in your mouth, but at this particular time, it seems that ASF is going WAAAAAY more offensive at Sun than Sun deserves. People who are complaining that Sun may have not given credit for works lifted by ASF, well, Sun acutally HAS people working in ASF, so perhaps it wasn't all non-Sun efforts for that api (Logging in this case). I don't have the numbers, I doubt anyone here does, but my point is that there's a very nasty schism going on here, and Sun is not pouring gas on the flames here, ASF is. I think it's in poor taste, and reflects badly on ASF (but I won't go as far to say as all OS organizations, but they seem to tout themselves as the poster-child for OS orgs, so they need to be careful of how they portray themselves.)

    -Chris
  66. Stephen: What portion of code that you are releasing

    >is going to be goverened by SCSL? I assume the product
    >you are deploying is LGPL, but what 'source' are you
    >lisencing that you require Sun Community Source Lisence?
    >Are you saying that J2EE Certification is a source
    >lisence?

    My understanding is that when you license the JCK from SUN, (which also gives you the right to use/modify/distribute their reference implementation) you have the right to test *your* code. Now, if I use LGPL code as part of my product that I test, I would have to re-distribute any source changes I make to make it compliant. This is a no-no according to Sun. So, if you use Open Source software, you either violate the open source license (don't do this!) or don't certify.

    As for subsequent releases, you have to certify every release you make and agree to certify to any new API release w/in six months of it's release.

    Remember that Sun doesn't do any testing of your code - it is up to you to provide the results of the tests to Sun and they have the right to audit/verify your results. So it's no big deal to Sun if you have to re-certify every release.

    Stephen
  67. Stephen:

    This makes no sense. Ok, you lisence the JCK, and you have to make modifications to it so that it can test your implementation of J2EE. But why would you need to distribute the JCK? I imagine you would NOT be allowed to distribute the JCK...if you find bugs in your J2EE implementation that the JCK finds, and you make modifications to your J2EE product, how does that have any bearing on the JCK code?? Yes, you would have to update your LGPL changes and therefore redistribute those changes, but how is that a violation of the lisence to the JCK code??? I just don't understand, lisencing of the JCK doesn't mean that _its_ lisence now governs _your_ product's lisence, otherwise all of the commercial products out there would have to be SCSL!!! That makes no sense. Can you cite the portions of the JCK lisencing that leads you to this conclusion? Or if anyone from Sun is browsing this board, can you enlighten us? Or can anyone from JBoss who's gone through the motions of getting certified tell us what restrictions there are with respect to JCK lisencing??

    -Chris
  68. You do not modify the JCK - that would negate the usefulness of a compliance test.

    But according to the Sun licensing folks, licensing the JCK does not mix with open source. I'm not making this up - I just finished discussions with Sun licensing about this very subject (certifying JBoss).

    I have not seen the exact language in the JCK license, since it never progressed that far, so I can't give you exact passages.

    I'm not saying it makes any sense, either. I thought that if someone wanted to spend the money, they would be able to certify whatever they wanted. But that doesn't seem to be the case.

    Stephen
  69. I think that some people here are missing the larger >picture too. ASF isn't just arguing about certification. >There's other issues that Apache (and the OpenSource >community) has with Sun. Take for example the log4j >project. log4j is an excellent logging API developed by >the jakarta project. However, Sun has decided not to >use .this API in the new 1.4 JDK.

    I guess the point ASF is trying to make is that Sun changes the rules as it suits them. They have Tomcat as a reference implementation so why not have a open source reference implementation for an EJB container and all the other JCPs?
    IMO nothing useful ever comes out of a comittee but that's another topic.
    Also looking at the logging API sun seems to have been highly 'inspired' by log4J. They are incredibly similar. It's seems that sun just decided to use log4J but will not acknowledge log4J or give credit where it's due.
  70. Also looking at the logging API sun seems to have been

    >highly 'inspired' by log4J. They are incredibly similar.
    >It's seems that sun just decided to use log4J but will not
    >acknowledge log4J or give credit where it's due.

    I agree. And not giving that credit/support to the log4j community is one of the worst "crimes" one can commit in the open source world. It's things like this that get under the skin of OS developers (like Apache). No wonder they're creating a fuss.
  71. Whoa, too many religious/ideological rants here!

    The bottomline is, Sun are entirely free to pursue whatever policy they choose. It's perfectly legal. Neither the Apache Software Foundation nor the JBoss Group nor anyone else can "demand" free certification as a matter of right.

    However, Sun need to balance a number of different considerations before deciding whether to make it easier for Open Source products to gain certification. Some of them are:

    1. The competitive threat from .NET (.NET is perceived to be an order of magnitude cheaper than commercial J2EE equivalents, and is also credible in corporate circles, being from Microsoft. Sun need to independently ensure that there are competitively priced J2EE products out there, without having to depend on the commercial J2EE vendors lowering their prices to accommodate this threat.)

    2. Equity (Commercial J2EE licensees have had to pay for their certification. On what basis can Sun justify free certification for their Open Source competitors? It wouldn't seem fair.)

    3. Precedent (If Tomcat and JBoss get free or subsidised certification, what stops a hundred other Open Source J2EE wannabes from lining up at the door?)

    It's not an easy problem to solve, but ultimately, I think the biggest concern for Sun going forward will be the threat from .NET. If J2EE loses mindshare and market share to .NET, Sun will ultimately suffer. They must do whatever they can to shore up J2EE against .NET.

    Whatever ideological feelings one may have regarding Open Source, the fact that products like JBoss and Tomcat are available free of charge makes them highly effective weapons for J2EE in the battle against .NET. It's only logical that Sun should facilitate rather than hinder their efforts to capture market share for J2EE.

    Remember that only J2EE can sell the Sun/SPARC servers that drive Sun's revenue. .NET will only sell Intel servers, and Sun know that very well. I personally think it's just a matter of time before Sun give their unqualified blessing to JBoss and Tomcat. I even think that iPlanet will get dropped at some stage. The presence of iPlanet just muddies the waters by confusing customers and annoying business partners who sell competing servers.

    Mind you, none of the above is a technical argument. They are all market-driven compulsions.

    [To Basil Rae and others: As long as there's no coercion, only persuasion and market pressure, and everyone acts in their own long-term self-interest, the process remains capitalist rather than communist, so let's not get carried away with the ideological rants. Adoption of Open Source isn't going to send programmers to the bread line. Get real. Most of us work on bespoke application development for in-house use, or on domain-specific applications, not on "platform-type" products. Almost by definition, Open Source doesn't play in this space, because there's limited replication potential. If anything, adoption of Open Source platforms relieves organisations' budgets of license fee burdens and makes more money available for actual development projects, and that means more work for the likes of us application developers. So cheer up, life is good :-).]

    Regards,
    Ganesh Prasad
  72. This all goes to show "there is no such thing as a free lunch".