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News: Updated: Sun and JBoss "in talks" over J2EE 1.4 Licensing

  1. Sun and JBoss are in talks about licensing the J2EE 1.4 test suite (for certification), culminating in a written offer last week. JBoss doesn't think Sun is serious about having JBoss become certified and is angered by recent quotes from Simon Phipps. Sun claims to have made JBoss an extraordinary offer but thinks JBoss is not committed to J2EE compatibility.

    Given the vague nature of this article, I contacted JBoss and spoke to Larry Rosen from their PR agency, and on Friday I was contacted by Sun who also gave me there side. What follows below are both sides of the story (most of this is direct quotes):

    JBoss' Side (as reported by Larry Rosen, JBoss' lawyer and PR guy):

     - Sun and JBoss are observing an NDA and couldn't answer specific questions, although JBoss is mad that Sun broke their own NDA by speaking to news.com and via Simon Phipps' statements.

     - Sun has made JBoss a written offer to acquire certification for 1.4. And the price is far higher than any price ever mentioned for certification suites in the past. In the past [before J2EE 1.4], they've refused to offer us a certification suite.

     - Sun is not really out to get JBoss certified, they keep raising the price of the licensing. They are trying to protect their own product and market. The latest price they quoted was more than triple the last price that was quoted.

     - Sun is talking to jBoss about the 1.4 test kit. This is the context of these discussions.

     - Sun never made JBoss a license offer on anything except J2EE 1.4.

     - Why is JBoss not trying to get 1.3 certified? They've never allowed it, they've never offered it or a price for it.

      Larry said that the context for discussions between JBoss and Sun was that JBoss has been asking Sun "tell me why I need it, and then give me a price", but Sun has not offered a price to match JBoss' need. Larry stated that JBoss customers have not been asking for J2EE certification.

    Sun's Side (as spoken by Sun Chief Evangelist Simon Phipps and J2EE Group Marketing Manager Rick Saletta).

    - We have no argument with any open source community. Our issue here is with JBoss Group LLC (not the JBoss community), reprsenting their server as j2ee compliant.

    - In the past they did have a case for saying they could not become compliant, but JCP 2.5 separates source from test kit licensing. Sun has worked feverishly on the licensing for J2EE 1.4 at a rapid pace to make the test suite available to open source vendors and any other vendors who'd like to it.

     - JBoss was the most vocal about stating that Sun had prevented them from being J2EE compatbile, so we went to them first and offered them the test suite. We offered them extraordinarly favorable terms.
     
     - In the past, they've claimed to have decimated BEA's revenue stream. Considering the number of downloads/business/revenue that JBoss claims to have taken from other licensee's, our offer to them was extraordinarliy generous.

     - If the JBoss Group continues to represent their server as J2EE compliant, then Sun believes that they should take the compliance test. The JCP has changed its process so that now this is not an issue.

     - I believe that most of JBoss' reasons for holiding out are business and marketing reasons - they think they can get better business for being the public hold-out.

     - Passing the compatibility test suite is very doable with a commitment to compatibility, and thats something JBoss doesn't have.

     - Sun did not previously offer JBoss CTS licenses in the past.

     - It is vital that the java community move forward by supporting standards. We don't need a standards renegade right now.

     - I want to see JBoss put their money where they're mouth is. Now they've got access to the tests and there are no more barriers. The ball is firmly in their court.


    Related articles:
    Sun reaches out to JBoss.
    Sun Gets Tough with J2EE 1.4 Certification.
    Sun 'Calls JBoss bluff' on J2EE compliance.

    Threaded Messages (81)

  2. "I predict that now that we're calling their bluff, they will make up another excuse for not doing the tests," Phipps said.

    He sounds pretty arrogant. I would love to see JBoss certified if not only just to make Phipps look like an idiot.

    tx

    Matt
  3. One more thing about that quote. He accuses JBoss of making excuses when it sounds like sun is the one who has been making all the excuses.

    tx

    Matt
  4. Isn't licensing required?[ Go to top ]

    Am I wrong if I say that licensing is actually *required* to respect the conditions imposed by SUN to implement J2EE APIs (and others)? If yes, the question is not to know if this brings value, but whether companies like the JBoss Group are playing "the rules of the game" - like any serious company - when it comes to ensuring that your own activity doesn't infringe the intellectual property of others. Some times ago, I had contacts with SUN with regard to JAXR (part of J2EE 1.4) support in our UDDI client library. The conclusion was that we had to acquire their 20.000$ (!) test compatibility kit. Here is the important part of the JAXR license, and I guess that all the other APIs have the same:

    "Sun also grants you a perpetual, non-exclusive, worldwide, fully paid-up, royalty free, limited license (without the right to sublicense) under any applicable copyrights or patent rights it may have in the Specification to create and/or distribute an Independent Implementation of the Specification that: (i) fully implements the Spec(s) including all its required interfaces and functionality; (ii) does not modify, subset, superset or otherwise extend the Licensor Name Space, or include any public or protected packages, classes, Java interfaces, fields or methods within the Licensor Name Space other than those required/authorized by the Specification or Specifications being implemented; and (iii) passes the TCK (including satisfying the requirements of the applicable TCK Users Guide) for such Specification. The foregoing license is expressly conditioned on your not acting outside its scope. No license is granted hereunder for any other purpose."

    (iii) is really were things go sad. You indeed have a royalty free license to implement the API, but the TCK is typically licensed for a price of around 20.000$.

    Bertrand Fontaine
    INSPIRE IT - www.inspireit.biz
  5. I used to work for a J2EE vendor.
    The rummor is that no one passed the thousands of tests for J2EE, since tests are not clear and sometimes conflict.

    hht,
    .V
  6. JBoss bigotry[ Go to top ]

    I for one am heartily sick of jboss' 'we're opensource and great therefore we get to play with the big boys but not have to obey their rules due to our status as the darling of the masses'

    Regardless of whether it's fair price, reasonable, or whatever. Sun LICENSES out j2ee. It invests in it (by developing specs, test suites, and suchlike), and if they want to charge whatever they want for it, good for them. That's how the world works. If JBoss DOES get favoured treatment then that'd be out of the kindness of Sun, JBoss certainly isn't entitled to such treatement. What's to stop IBM from saying to Sun 'we have websphere, everyone uses it, so we're doing YOU a favour here and from now on we won't pay licensing fees'?

    Also the j2ee 1.3 licensing I suspect is a..ahem...lie. I could be wrong, but AFAIK ANY company can go to Sun and say 'here's your 250k/year and whatever else licensing costs, now give us the CTS and allow us to say we're licensed'. JBoss just wants to not pay up while making all sorts of ridiculous claims about their compatibility.

    It's not like jboss is an altruistic project or something, just have a look at their marketing material, it's silly enough to rival the best of .net ads. Statosphere of application development anyone?
  7. JBoss bigotry[ Go to top ]

    to the misinformedrember this

    Your points are not valid. They didn't change the jcp license until late last year. So up to that point Sun was preventing open source java from being certified. You should really know the background before you lash out at someone.

    tx

    Matt
  8. cool[ Go to top ]

    This is the great news ! (Hani, Matt -- STFU.)
    Can an insider post some more details -- aka time-frame etc. ? Can anyone foresee any issues ,other than political , that could impact this time-frame ?



    -dd
  9. JBoss bigotry[ Go to top ]

    Matt,

    Do not buy your arguement.

    You miss the point that the group is making...

    Jboss is just not holier than thou and yes its indeed sickening how they keep shouting all over!!

    I'm amazed at the temerity of the bizzare extent they go to, pouncing on any negative opinion on Jboss!!

    Shows immaturity!!

    Rob
  10. JBoss bigotry[ Go to top ]

    I was just pointing out the fact that they couldn't just ...
    <quote>
    I could be wrong, but AFAIK ANY company can go to Sun and say 'here's your 250k/year and whatever else licensing costs, now give us the CTS and allow us to say we're licensed'. </quote>

    Hani even admitted she could be wrong. So I pointed her to an article for some background info.

    I hope they do get certified it would make it an easier sell to my clients.
  11. JBoss bigotry[ Go to top ]

    Err, I'm a he, not a she. Damn newfangled foreign names.
  12. IBM already did this few years ago: they stated that they are compliant and do not see a reason to become J2EE certified.
  13. I, too, am sick of the JBoss "holier than thou" attitude. This
    is their chance to step up to the plate and put their money where
    their mouth is. This will give us a chance to see whether JBoss
    is as good as they think they are.
  14. Put up or shut up?[ Go to top ]

    <quote>I, too, am sick of the JBoss "holier than thou" attitude. This
    is their chance to step up to the plate and put their money where
    their mouth is. This will give us a chance to see whether JBoss
    is as good as they think they are. </quote>

    Regardless of the certification or not, my company has moved from weblogic to jboss without a hitch and without paying a penny. We moved our trade management system (we're a wall st. financial company) over to jboss and quite happy with the results. Whether they become certified or not doesn't matter to much at this point. We are building real systems that support our business using jboss. I do _not_ need to see if <quote> jboss is as good as they think they are </quote>, it is irrelevant.
  15. Certification is useless[ Go to top ]

    Simon Phipps' statements are transparent and sickeningly political, because he knows as well as anyone that certification is a hoax.

    We have all seen 'J2EE-certified' releases of large commercial servers that fail to implement core elements of the J2EE spec in their initial release. Why is this? Because when companies pay for certification, they get the rights to run CTS and SELF-REPORT the results. In short, the licensees lie about the results and Sun doesn't care as long as they get their money.

    Can't find the cost of certification? That's because Sun independently negotiates it with each vendor. Sun's certification process has nothing to do with standardized conformance.
  16. Curious[ Go to top ]

    I am just curious.
    OK, JBoss is free and open source. But what about the clients using
    them?? do they provide free service too??

    We all must remember no bank, no amazon, no financial institution
    provides free service.
    After all, all the clients are charging a fee. Then i dont understand
    why we should throw away some software for free.

    If JBOSS is not able to pay the TCK fees, its problem in their revenue
    model. I dont think, any of the Sun Micrsosystems engineer work for no
    salary.

    So, as long as there is no free lunch, it is justifiale to say, NO
    FREE SOFTWARE.
  17. Nice over-simplification[ Go to top ]

    We all must remember no bank, no amazon, no financial institution

    > provides free service.
    > After all, all the clients are charging a fee. Then i dont understand
    > why we should throw away some software for free.

    Have you been absent from the software world for the last 20 years or so?
    The idea that basic implementations of infrastructure software (plumbing) should be a shared commodity upon which innovations in service, support and custom enhancments can be built is now old news. The various Java containers and the entire J2EE spec are basic infrastructure. They may not have been 5 years ago, but they are now.

    Why should we keep reinventing the wheel because one company or another goes out of business, or have the difficulty of porting from one implementation of an Open Standard to another. Open Source reduces these risks.

    > If JBOSS is not able to pay the TCK fees, its problem in their revenue
    > model. I dont think, any of the Sun Micrsosystems engineer work for no
    > salary.

    The whole mess over the JCP process last year with the Apache Foundation was that Open Source groups and implementations had no chance of being certified 'compatible' or 'compliant' with any of the JSRs. Sun changed the JCP to allow Open Source implementations to use the TCK for most of the JCP. They have not changed this for the whole J2EE test suite.

    From a long term strategic stand point this is stupid. MS is coming in a big way. The Open Source movement is a powerful ally in the fight against MS domination, to alienate it in order to please the likes of Oracle, IBM, BEA and other licensees is short sighted. We've got the Unix wars all over again. How do you think MS got so dominate in the first place?

    MS provided good-enough solutions for a lot less than the 'professional solution' companies did, and they made it easy for people to join their community: $2500 a year gets you every bit of software and documentation they put out.

    MS also provides the whole solution, you can get your server software, productivity software, development tools, support and utilities. While we all know how buggy MS software is and how bad their engineering can be, it all works together well enough for MS to dominate this industry.

    Does Sun or any of their J2EE licensees provide all this? No. So while everyone is squabaling over a little piece of the puzzle, MS is going to clean their clocks through a war of attrition.

    Sun doesn't have any room to gripe about Open Source until I can go to their website and download development versions of their entire toolchain, have it work together and build a prototype solution to show off quickly.

    To break it down:
    SunOne, the old Netscape stuff, needs a major updating as it's tenure with AOL caused major bit rot.

    StarOffice, how do I manipulate documents in Java or embed the engine in a server side Java app to create and store documents? Where is my VBA equivilent Java access to the internals of the application?

    Forte, $2500 to write EJBs? Are you kidding? Not to mention I can't seem to succesfully import any project without major changes to the way the build process works and hacks to use the tools like Ant, XDoclet, Middlegen and UML2EJB that have made me more productive. IBM is not doing much better, VAJ locks you in and Eclipse has the same project import issues.

    Did I mention that getting all this to work together in a coherent fashion is still a lot of work and has holes all over it? Using MS solutions is limiting, but using the prepackaged tool/app-server sets from any of the J2EE vendors is even worse.

    > So, as long as there is no free lunch, it is justifiale to say, NO
    > FREE SOFTWARE.

    Open your eyes, Open Source is here to stay and Sun and other proprietary software companies will have to adapt their revenue models to compensate. They have no inherent right to make $$ the same way they always have, they will have to adapt or die.

    I've put a lot of sweat and time into J2EE/Java and Unix. I've promoted it, I've sold solutions, I've worked with the community, this is my career and my life. I have as much vested in MS not dominating the industry as any engineer at Sun or IBM. Open Source is a big stick to make sure that doesn't happen and all this petty fighting over a few bucks to add to Sun's bottom line is infuriating.
    Sun and it's investors need to realize the high-margin days of old are done. People will not pay large sums of money for basic infrastructure, once something is commoditized (when the Open Source version gets popular) they need to move on in order to maintain margins. People will pay something, if there is benefit, that's why there are so many people buying MS infrastructure. Should I just give up now and order my MSDN subscription and start learning C# and .Net or is Sun going to be smart, innovative and adapt?

    Besides if you are a J2EE developer you may want to look at some of the tools like XDoclet and Ant that we've been using, it makes life as a J2EE developer so much easier. Oh and it's free.
  18. Nice over-simplification[ Go to top ]

    Johnson,
            With all respects, I dont dis-agree with open source model, and surely i dont like to see MS domination.

    I like JBoss, and dont mind paying money for it.After all they worth it.

    From developer's point of view both Apache and JBoss is very good.
    But I would like to think a bit more. The companies where we are working dont give any thing free. do they???
    Say, I have worked for a big bank, and its a serious business. Though i dont agree with high cost of MS software or BEA or any other vendor in that case,
    same time, i feel, even the open source must be payable,but not as costly as MS.

    You know the problems Mandrake Soft had. Even though Linux is a good software, since is open source and free, I feel, it would be good to charge a fee to keep apache, jboss, mandrake, redhat running.

    I we dont agree to pay, then again we will be dominated by MS and vendors.
  19. Nice over-simplification[ Go to top ]

    Mandrake is a horrible example. Suse and RedHat are good examples. Even IBM has had some success. Lindows I think will be moderately successful if the consumer end actually pans out.

    Can't say I like the models of a lot of Open Source companies. Caldera is a great example of someone not getting it. SendMail Inc., Bynari, and many others are not great examples of companies making money off of Open Source.

    You really should read Michael Tiemann's essay from the Open Sources book. It's available for free from : http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/opensources/book/tiemans.html

    This is a good example of a successful company that was dedicated to the GNU GPL of all things. Consequently, he sold Cygnus Solutions to RedHat after getting revenues to $10M/yr and is now their CIO.

    It's not about not making money. I've just spent a year consulting on a project using JBoss, Struts, XDoclet, Ant and a few other bits from Jakarta. Open Source requires a different approach but is a proven model. Lawyers seem to do pretty well with it.

    It's also not a matter of cost. I don't work with people who are too allergic to spending money that their projects suffer. Open Source is working smart, not throwing money away.

    Having stuff like an IP stack, DNS, SSH, Apache, compilers and JBoss Open Source means that vendors can do value-add to these things and bundle support. It lowers the barrier to entry and increases adoption, look at how ubiquitous TCP/IP and Apache are. Both are the product of many years of Open Source.

    Anyone could come along and compete with the JBoss Group, on nearly equal footing as well. BEA could throw away their codebase tomorrow and start value-adding to JBoss if they wanted. IBM could throw away WebSphere and Sun could throw away the SunOne server. They could reuse the effort of the developer community if they wanted.

    The whole point is that Microsoft has clearly mastered the 'sell software as a widget' game. No-one is ever going to beat Microsoft at that game. Not even IBM. If Sun wants to keep playing this game and take the Java community down that road, we're all just picking up dimes in front of a steamroller.

    It doesn't even really matter if you subscribe to the moral reasoning behind the Free Software movement or the libritarian philosophy of the Open Source movement, it pure business strategy. If you want to survive competing against Microsoft in this world, you're going to have to do business much differently from them.

    I'll tell you why I use RedHat over Solaris, I've been using Unix since I was a kid (MS-Xenix on a Tandy Model 16), but when I install Solaris I don't have much more than a shell. When I install RedHat I have about 2000 apps and all the development tools I need (except for Java, that's part of Sun's problem). I don't have to do much else to start working.

    Sun has to acheive higher market penetration with it's standards and ideals if it wants to compete with Microsoft. I hate to say it, but this is a 'mindshare' (may God have mercy on me for using that buzzword) fight. Microsoft is giving away everything (the first one's free model) and then turning people into little addicts by making sure their first experiences are great. Notice how simple things in Microsoft development tools are so easy (like all the stuff in tutorials) but doing the hard stuff is near impossible? By the time you figure out you've been had, it's way too late. Sun could have thousands of students from middle school on up, tons of hobbyists, and quite a few more casual developers had it made the JDK available for Linux distros to bundle.

    Notice all the Open Source PHP or Perl web apps out there? PHP is nowhere near as good as Java, but it seems to be a lot more widespread in the Open Source world. When I install a Linux distro that I downloaded off the web I can start banging out PHP based web apps, because all the tools I need are already installed. If I'm new or want to learn, guess what I pick up? PHP or Perl. Now who made all that stuff available nicely bundled? The Linux distro like RedHat takes Apache and adds the modules needed for Perl and PHP web apps, bundles it on the install CDs. They also include IDE's, libraries for everything imaginable, and it all works together out of the box.

    Had Sun let the Linux distros bundle the JDK or had Sun Open Sourced a reference JVM, class library and compiler (maybe helping the GCC Java guys, maybe left out the Hotspot stuff), then I could probably get a Linux distro that bundled JBoss and Tomcat all nicely integrated with Apache, Struts, Ant, the Jakarta libraries, Netbeans and/or Eclipse, Log4J, JUnit, XDoclet, Middlegen, ArgoUML, etc, etc. As it is, RedHat won't bundle any Java apps because they don't ship a working JVM, and the GCC Java compiler doesn't have all the Classes needed yet (no real AWT or Swing).

    If I could get a Linux distro with all that stuff ready to go out of the box, I bet people would think twice before jumping on the PHP bandwagon and many more would consider Java.

    Remember how Linux has grown and Microsoft took away so much market share from UNIX companies. They got the hobbyists to sneak it into there workplace. They made them familiar with it, by letting them run it all at home. They made it easy and the simple things worked great right out of the box. People loved it and started to recommend it at work at now we find the proprietary UNIX boxes surrounded by hordes of Linux and Microsoft ones.

    Sun doesn't have to give up it's high-end, high-margin customers to best Microsoft at this game, it just needs to let the unwashed masses preach the good word to the rest of the unwashed masses.

    Sun always comes back to WORA as the reason for keeping such tight control. It could probably not have WORA attacked, after all why would RedHat want to ruin that if that's what the customers wanted? Quite frankly, in the Open Source world the standardization of code bases has pretty much allowed WORA to happen on a plethora of languages. My PERL scripts run on any platform with a Perl interpretor (almost all of them), same with my PHP, download Apache to any box with GCC (which supports something like 160+ platforms) and do the equivalent of './configure; make; make install' and you have the code base running on your platform.

    Open Source does WORA pretty well, it's just more work for the app developer sometimes. Personally, I'd rather have Java not be marginalized by Microsoft or an Open Source .Net than abosolute perfection with WORA. Besides, wasn't WORA tainted with JNI anyway?

    That's enough rambling tonight...
  20. Re: Nice oversimplification[ Go to top ]

    Curt,

    I fully agree with and endorse your comments.

    The Open Source community is doing its best to stop Microsoft but the ball is now firmly in Sun's court. However, I fear from their statements regarding JBoss that they're going to blow it and hand the Enterprise market to Microsoft on a platter.

    The Linux-Java combination is powerful enough to prevent Microsoft from taking over the industry, but Sun as the custodian of Java isn't letting the synergy happen. I sincerely hope they wake up before it's too late.

    Ganesh
  21. Java had a good run.

    But Microsoft .NET is coming in a big way..

    Chameleon
  22. There are hundreds of financial institutions providing free service. I am memeber of 3 credit unions. Everything is free, loan rates are low, and requirements are very low, like to open savings account with $5 (it's not a joke) deposit. Looks like free JBoss with docs for $10 ;-)
  23. Everytime i come across this news JBoss Vs SUN regarding certification, i feel that we are discussing on something which is has not value ..

    JBoss doesn't need certification:

    First and foremost why should JBoss go behind SUN for certification. I don't see any value-add in that. I see this is one of the key differentiators between commercial J2EE servers and opensource ones. Let the commercial ones leverage this and let them sustain in the market. JBoss doesn't have a huge customer list like BEA ( around 14,000 i guess ). It is not becoz of lack of J2EE certification.It is just the FUD on its long term sustainability. Now it has to focus on this and make it penetrate deep into this enterprise market.

    JBoss ( for any opensource server for that matter ) shouldn't be certified for free ?
    I don't think SUN makes any money out of JAVA( jvm, libraries, spec etc ). The only source of income is this licensing, certification, training & consulting( likely ). If that is the case why should it do it free( or for a reduced price ) for JBoss. Tomorrow JOnAS might ask for the same and finally this will make this certification process pretty messy in the long run.

    After working with JBOss for more than a year,i am quite happy with what it is . Neither my manager nor my customer is complaing that it is not it is not J2EE certified.. Just take it easy..

    Hope it happens...
  24. Certification matters[ Go to top ]

    Certification matters , if Jboss is going to be part of enterprise infrastructure. Getting certified is equivalent of getting a collge degreee. It guarantees that the IT manager who authorized JBoss in the ennterprise doesnt get blamed for poor decision, should there be any problem in its deployment.

    I am glad Jboss is finally on the path towards certifiction. I have been developing on Jboss since Jboss 2.x and its always performed upto my expectations. My concern going forward is that ths Jboss gurus may be tempted to circcumvent the standards for that extra-speed or 'coolness' factor, which in turn may break my application. Jboss getting certified and staying certified means I dont have this nagging doubt about the platform availability in the future.
  25. Certification matters[ Go to top ]

    \Damien Davis\
    Certification matters , if Jboss is going to be part of enterprise infrastructure. Getting certified is equivalent of getting a collge degreee. It guarantees that the IT manager who authorized JBoss in the ennterprise doesnt get blamed for poor decision, should there be any problem in its deployment.
    \Damien Davis\

    As one or two other people have said in this thread, J2EE certification doesn't buy you as much as you might think.

    From my read on the situation, certification is more of a branding issue than a technical one. You get to put a little sticker on your boxes saying you're a J2EE licensee, and your marketing department can make alot of hash out of that.

    But the physical certification itself leaves much to be desired. Passing CTS _does not_ mean that the passing product complies to the various published specifications. There's many, many (many!) products where non-spec behavior has been observed and documented, and yet these products passed the CTS. And when problems like this come up, they're under no obligation to fix them - they just say they passed the CTS and that's that. Responsible vendors will of course address the issues, but it can be a sticky wicket.

    In short - fully certified J2EE implimentations can already do lots of things that break your application, now or in the future, and still pass the CTS.

        -Mike
  26. We (IONA) certified our app server on Sun, and we failed something like 50 tests which we investigated and found the tests were acutally bad. The thing is, others had passed these same tests -- what we found is that the J2EE reference implementation had bugs which "passed" these bad tests, so obviously everyone else who was certified was using large parts of the reference implementation in their test suite. Heh.


    here is the link, http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=57830&cid=5559940

    enjoy....
  27. Passing Certification[ Go to top ]

    THe comment from Iona is right-on. Every vendor who has ever passed the certification test that I ever talked with found bugs in the test and were encouraged to "work around it". Or taken from another angle, the Reference Implementation passes the CTS by definition, and most people know the quality of that software...
  28. 'work-arounds' for cts bugs?[ Go to top ]

    <quote> Every vendor who has ever passed the certification test that I ever talked with found bugs in the test and were encouraged to "work around it".
    </quote>
    Am amazed at the implications of some of the posters here that a software with bugs is such a rarity!!

    Surely there are bugs in CTS. But all said and done, CTS is 'software' in itself. And a complex one at that! And for a software suite containing 15000+ modules (tests), with each test being a fairly involved 'program', having a few bugs is just the ineveitable reality of software systems.

    When we cleared CTS we found bugs too. And like with any other software, we were given patches for most cases, and for some more involved issues we were given workarounds- to ensure the required semantics from the tests. But *not once* were we 'encouraged' to go with incorrect tests!! Now, anyone that has dealt with any product support would see that this (patches & 'correct' workarounds) is a normal process of supporting customers. And the right process as well.

    The J2EE specs (especially EJB) is no simple specification. While bulk of the spec is unambiguous, there certainly are grey areas. Some discussed even in these forums like issues with concurrency control. These are areas open to varying interpretations. And the spec leads and experts have to be brought into the loop to issue the clarifications (and accordingly change the tests if needed). This again is a normal process of software development in terms of undertsanding system requirements. As long as such ambiguities are few, it is perfectly OK for such complex systems (as J2EE & CTS).

    Lets not read too much into this 'bugs'. (Especially, when there is little understanding of the complexities and issues!)

    Cheers,
    Ramesh
    - Pramati
  29. We (IONA) certified our app server on Sun, and we failed something like 50 tests which we investigated and found the tests were acutally bad. The thing is, others had passed these same tests -- what we found is that the J2EE reference implementation had bugs which "passed" these bad tests, so obviously everyone else who was certified was using large parts of the reference implementation in their test suite. Heh.


    If you have a mandate to represent IONA, could you please give your name?
  30. no mandate at all, just found this on slashdot and thought it was relevant.
  31. if you have proof of a contract between "j2ee master" and IONA prohibiting him from relating his personal experiences while on the job, please make it known. And if you represent IONA's legal interests in any way, can you please divulge your relationship with them?
  32. The real show stopper for JBoss certification is that the JBoss community works in an open source environment, and therefore the CTS would have to be open-sourced, which would be a problem for Sun and other J2EE licensees.

    Of course another issue is that JBoss does not earn any money on licenses, and therefore it is tough to justify paying for certification.

    Finally, the JBoss community would have to figure out if it was worth their time to go to the effort of passing the certification test. Ask most J2EE vendors that have passed the test, and you will hear stories of many man-months of effort. That effort is typically very unproductive, and I would imagine that developers who contribute to JBoss have better things to do with their time...

    Put that in the context that JBoss is a lot more than J2EE (and there are tons of happy users), and other major sources of app server technology like WebLogic, WebSphere and Oracle keep adding in their own proprietary enhancements - and I am not sure a certification will ever happen...
  33. Apache Axis is an OSS project that runs the TCK. The process isnt open though; only people who work for a JCP member company, are an individual JCP member or are a full member of the Apache Software Foundation can get the test kit. The rest of us just run the unit tests, which IMO are more important.
  34. compliance is inevitable![ Go to top ]

    Here's a way to look at things:

    1. The JCP changes such that all subsequent JSRs *can* licence their TCK (Test Compatibility Kit) under conditions suitable for open source projects to use. Whether this happens for a particular JCP is up to the project lead for that JSR.

    2. Most of the J2EE 1.4 JSRs are subsequent to this announcement.
    3. Many of the J2EE 1.4 JSRs are lead by Apache Software Foundation members.
    4. Many of the J2EE 1.4 JSRs reference implementations (Tomcat, AXIS, Jasper) are produced by the Apache Software Foundation, so the new TCKs *must* be under a suitable licence.

    5. The J2EE 1.3 JSR's predate the JCP process change, so do not have to be licenced in this way.

    In other words, Sun has basically committed themselves to opening up large portions of the J2EE specs to open source projects.

    Notice how JBoss doesn't feature anywhere in this chain of thought?

    Maybe, just maybe, the approach from Sun to JBoss Group, has something to do with this. This approach covers only J2EE 1.4, where it doesn't look like Sun has much choice any more.

    Presumably, stating compliance with the individual JSRs is not enough - certification of full J2EE compliance is a more involved process that uses Sun's own certification labs. Hence depriving JBoss of the chance to be certified gets even more ludicrous if they can publicly demonstrate compliance to most of the component specs anyway?
  35. Apparently the attendees of the Sys-Con Web Services Edge conference java panel got to see Phipps and Fleury (plus Tyler Jewell of BEA) duke it out in person today.

    Fleury may in-your-face but at least he's a real developer and isn't afraid to say what he thinks. Phipps was every bit as arrogant and officious in person as he sounds in the article. He quoted the Sun party line about bringing Sun "back into the J2EE family"--emphasis on "family" the way the Sopranos might say it.

    Fleury wouldn't talk about the licensing issue, but he did use his floor time to talk about JBoss 4.0, which doesn't have anything to do with J2EE, but leverages AOP to "give EJB functionality to any plain old java object."

    So Sun will have to uphold J2EE, facing competition from both Microsoft and Open Source. Frankly I'm a bit tired of hearing Sun whine about J2EE certification-- the market reality is that whoever builds the best product the fastest and does the best job of getting the market to adopt it--defines the standard.
  36. Personally, I find the one or two ad hominem comments I have read here and on Slashdot sad. For one thing I don't recall saying the thing your un-named source said I said at the Sys-Con event today (or using the tone you had reported, although that's clearly subjective), and for another all the debate about my personal character, education and integrity are based on hearsay of one flavour or another. Discussion of the merits of Sun's view of JBoss Group (and vice versa) are one thing, personal attacks are another and I am offended by them, and I would be equally offended by similar remarks about Marc.

    -- Simon Phipps
  37. What goes around comes around[ Go to top ]

    "...I would be equally offended by similar remarks about Marc."

    You must get offended a lot then because people are always making similar remarks about Marc :) Character aside, JBoss and his why I love EJBs paper have done more to evangelize J2EE than most of what's put out by Sun, including the reference implementation.
  38. Just curious, but if I am correct J2EE 1.4 is not even in existance yet. It is still being worked on, so of course nobody can pass the test. I am guessing that SunONE can not even pass the test for 1.3 yet. I have a hard time understanding Sun, they seem very misguided!
  39. "I am guessing that SunONE can not even pass the test for 1.3 yet."

    You are guessing and you guessed wrong. SunONE App Server 7 certainly passed the J2EE 1.3 CTS.

    http://wwws.sun.com/software/products/appsrvr/home_appsrvr.html
  40. JBoss rakes in a lot of money for Sun. I've worked on two major projects that use JBoss for free and spent $50,000+ on Sun hardware. It's funny that Sun doesn't see JBoss as a partner. If it wasn't for the ease of use, and functionality of JBoss I bet at least one of these projects would have gone to Microsoft.
  41. "Personally, I find the one or two ad hominem comments I have read here and on Slashdot sad. "

    I apologize for wishing you to look like an idiot, but the quote did sound very arrogant. If that was not your quote or if it was taken out of context then I do owe you an apology. Sorry. In the end I am the one who looks like an idiot. So take some pleasure in that.
  42. Keep WORA higher[ Go to top ]

    This argument between Sun and JBoss reminds me of old days of Unix. It's for the same reason that fragmented the Unix world and that had given M$ the chance to grown up from a DOS company. Now we have the chance to unify under J2EE standard with inovative implementations on different O.S/hardware platforms from each individual company, to fight back. Although I'm a fan of Jboss, but on this issue I've to say I'm on Sun's side. Any marketing fluff like "beyond J2EE", "J2EE compatible" rather than J2EE certified only confuses customers and serves to fragment J2EE, we will all go back again to the old Unix days. But it's a shame if sun needs to make money from certification rather than serving the purpose to unify j2ee community.
  43. Keep WORA higher[ Go to top ]

    Believe me, Michael, the issue here is not about seeking to make money from certification, it's about protecting and unifying the J2EE community. I have a lot of admiration for the influence the JBoss code base and its advocates have had in promoting the use of Java on servers - great stuff. But just because someone does great stuff in one area it doesn't absolve them of their responsibilities in another area.

    So I agree with you, WORA is paramount - there would be no J2EE market for JBoss to attempt to dominate without it, after all. And the accepted protection for WORA in the JCP is certification.
  44. Keep WORA higher?[ Go to top ]

    Believe me, Michael, the issue here is not about seeking to make money from certification, it's about protecting and unifying the J2EE community. I have a lot of admiration for the influence the JBoss code base and its advocates have had in promoting the use of Java on servers - great stuff. But just because someone does great stuff in one area it doesn't absolve them of their responsibilities in another area.


    If it's not about the cash, then back it up - test JBoss and release the full, detailed results, publicly (comparisons with the first run against Weblogic, WebSphere, etc would be nice too). With JBoss acceptance increasing, tell me which scenario looks more likely - that JBoss isn't compliant and is afraid or that the licensing fee is very expensive and not worth the cost to JBoss? Are you saying that JBoss is irresponsible for implying compatablity when they are actually nowhere near the level of compliance of their competition, or are they irresponsible for merely not jumping through the (expensive) hoop that Sun wants them to jump through?

    If it were merely about protecting and unifying a community, then how much would the actual (incremental) cost be of running the TCK against JBoss? Marginal. The TCK is already developed. It seems to be more about protecting a business model, and Sun is fully within their rights to do so, but it shouldn't be obscured with altruistic false pretense. High licensing costs create a barrier to entry in the J2EE app server market, and with fewer players, the license costs can also be kept high. High licensing costs encourage customer to run J2EE app servers on fewer high-powered boxes (Sun hardware) rather than a farm of low-powered boxes (commodity level x86 boxes). If this were about protection, Sun could run the tests at a low cost and give a yes or no answer to JBoss/J2EE compatibility. Instead we have this mess of posturing. As I said, Java is Sun's property, and they can do what they want with it. Just don't try to pretend to protect me from something that, by most accounts IS WORA, or at least as much as the implementations that are certified.

    > So I agree with you, WORA is paramount - there would be no J2EE market for JBoss to attempt to dominate without it, after all. And the accepted protection for WORA in the JCP is certification.

    If WORA were paramount, Sun would just run the test and report the results. It's also about money, which, as I said, Sun has the right to care about. This whole charade is more about protecting Sun than protecting users.

    Here are the questions I'm curious about, but won't get real answers to:
    Has Sun run their certification tests on JBoss?
    If so, what was the result?
    What is the price for certification that has been offered to each of the vendors, including JBoss?

    I find it hard to believe that an open source project is stealthily planning to hijack the J2EE standard and lock the market into their implementation.
  45. Keep WORA higher?[ Go to top ]

    'fraid I have a flight to catch to can't write an essay, Rob, but I think you're confusing two issues here. The JBoss open source codebase and the business actions of the apparently profitable business called JBoss Group are two different deals. Even if it was marginal incremental cost (which it's not - administering the tests involves lots of engineering time even when some other party is actually running them), why should Sun subsidise the business of JBoss Group LLC by paying their bill for certification? They would be the immediate beneficiaries, not the JBoss open source code base.

    The answer to your question by the way is no, Sun has not run the tests against the JBoss code-base to my knowledge. And there is an NDA in place that prevents us or anyone else involved specifying the business terms for certification.
  46. Simon,

    I'm glad you're listening on this thread. I have worked (and continue to do assignments) for a large multinational systems integrator in Australia, whose outsourcing clients are also large banks, telcos and energy companies. I can tell you the inside story of the way projects are going over the past year. The "corporate architecture" of all these organisations is J2EE, and their preferred vendors are BEA (Weblogic) and IBM (Websphere). But (and this is crucial) many of them have decided to go with .NET for smaller and less critical projects because it's easier on the budget, and because there's a perception that productivity is higher with .NET on account of the "better Microsoft developer tools".

    I need hardly point out that this is the classic Microsoft entry strategy. Get in at the low end, be seen as "good enough", convert sufficient numbers of developers and managers to Microsoft technology, then push upwards into Enterprise applications. You can extrapolate the graph yourself to see where J2EE will be in a few years -- on their architecture diagrams, but nowhere on the ground.

    Now, this is what Sun needs to do to shore up J2EE against your greatest long-term threat -- .NET:

    1. Instead of standing by with a smirk saying, "I don't think JBoss will pass the certification tests", Sun should be out there *actively helping* JBoss attain certification. Don't be distracted by the fact that the JBoss Group LLC will be the immediate beneficiaries of this act. If you ignore the larger strategic implications of doing this to avoid benefitting a private party, Sun will be cutting off its nose to spite its face. Ensure that JBoss attains J2EE 1.4 certification, quickly! Don't be a passive spectator. Be involved, because it's your battle.

    2. Publicise the fact that J2EE servers span the spectrum from Open Source to commercial. Emphasise to customers that J2EE does not mean "expensive" when compared to .NET, because that's what customers are thinking today. Change that perception, urgently!

    3. Drop SunONE and bundle JBoss with every server you sell, especially your low-end Linux/Intel boxes. Volumes are key. If you can block .NET at the low end, you also protect the high end. There will always be 10% of customers who will want the expensive machines and app servers. But that 10% will evaporate if they see a large segment of the market successfully using .NET and paying less for it.

    My recommendations may sound radical and against the grain. But Sun is in a serious situation. Don't underestimate the Microsoft marketing machine or the number of friends they have among decision makers. There are people who are just waiting for .NET to mature a bit before they propose it as an alternative to J2EE for their corporate architectures.

    Sun has very little time left to win the battle against .NET. JBoss is your strongest weapon. The JBoss Group LLC is not relevant to you in this larger strategic game. Don't be distracted by them. Go for the volumes. Go for the clear volume leader and exploit their success for the greater success of J2EE.

    Regards,
    Ganesh Prasad
    Independent Contractor
    Sun Certified Programmer for Java 2
    Sun Certified Web Component Developer for J2EE


    P.S. Simon, I clearly cannot reveal the names of my employers and their clients in a public site, but if you wish to get more details, write to me at sashi at easy dot com dot au.
  47. I forgot to add:

    4. Sun must offer *support* to JBoss, either independently or in partnership with the JBoss Group. That's what large corporations are looking for -- cheap and supported. .NET has that image. J2EE does not. Today, J2EE is either "supported but expensive" or "cheap but unsupported". Sun must act quickly to change that image, otherwise .NET will surely win.

    Regards,
    Ganesh Prasad
  48. Ganesh said, "Sun has very little time left to win the battle against .NET. JBoss is your strongest weapon. The JBoss Group LLC is not relevant to you in this larger strategic game. Don't be distracted by them. Go for the volumes. Go for the clear volume leader and exploit their success for the greater success of J2EE."

    I think this is so obvious and true it's incredible others don't see it.
  49. Ganesh: Thank-you for your views. I hear you, and I'll pass your comments on.
  50. Sun's hypocrisy pretty apparent[ Go to top ]

    So now Sun won't disclose the licensing price offers because of the NDA...which they broke in the first place by bringing this whole matter public.

    Let's not forget what's really going on here. Sun has its little exclusive country club of "J2EE-certified" from which they've been dissing JBoss for at least one year. Now that JBoss has been relatively successful at gaining market share (at least in development, we really don't know about deployment or JBoss Group's revenues)...what does Sun want to do? They want to march JBoss down the altar of certification with with sweet words on one hand ("JBoss had done great things...") and a shotgun in the other. Reading Saletta and Phipps response, it's obvious they've taken language right out of the evening news

    "Standards Renegades"
    "put your money where your mouth is"

    On the other hand, boo hoo, Sun wants us to feel sorry that JBoss is portraying itself as a David to their Goliath. Like we're supposed to feel sorry--because like it's hard being a billion dollar software company that is not Microsoft but still manages to shit on open source.

    And here's a deep thought. So if I'm right the founders of BEA and WebLogic, as well as Fleury, founder of JBoss, all used to be employed by Sun, but their big moment of producing quality java middleware occurred after they LEFT. Meanwhile Sun has managed to acquire how many relatively decent app servers that it has since turned to rot?

    So, no, I for one don't feel sorry for Sun and I don't blame JBoss if they're no longer rapping on the door to get certified.
  51. Sun's hypocrisy pretty apparent[ Go to top ]

    Chip: We've broken no NDA of which I am aware. As to the rest of your comments, I hope to make some time next week to answer in full because IMO they aren't accurate. But it's midnight at the end of a week full of this stuff and I intend to take the weekend off if I can :-)
  52. Keep WORA higher?[ Go to top ]

    'fraid I have a flight to catch to can't write an essay, Rob, but I think you're confusing two issues here. The JBoss open source codebase and the business actions of the apparently profitable business called JBoss Group are two different deals. Even if it was marginal incremental cost (which it's not - administering the tests involves lots of engineering time even when some other party is actually running them), why should Sun subsidise the business of JBoss Group LLC by paying their bill for certification? They would be the immediate beneficiaries, not the JBoss open source code base.


    I appreciate your response, and for addressing the question of cost. Does this approach apply to all open source J2EE app servers, or only JBoss? If the former, then fair enough. If the latter, then the issues get a bit thorny.

    I think that you are confusing 2 issues here, compliance and certification. It is wholly possible for a J2EE implementation to be compliant without being certified. The J2EE spec is a public, known specification. It is (or at least should be) possible to examine the specification and develop software that adheres to every line of the specification. Any software that does this is fully justified in claiming compliance. Certification is Sun's confirmation of compliance, but it is not necessary to claim compliance. If the JBoss group was claiming that the JBoss software was certified, you would have a valid beef with them. As it stands, my experience indicates that JBoss' compliance is on par with the best of the commercial vendors' implementations of the J2EE spec. To claim they are wrong in claiming compliance, I assert that proof should be offered demonstrating that the software is significantly out of line with other "compliant" implementations in terms of adherence to the spec.

    > The answer to your question by the way is no, Sun has not run the tests against the JBoss code-base to my knowledge. And there is an NDA in place that prevents us or anyone else involved specifying the business terms for certification.

    Good to know, and fair enough. So long as the playing field is being kept level.
  53. Sun dropping the ball.[ Go to top ]

    It seems to me, and I may be wrong, but Sun is dropping the ball on multiple fronts. The Swing/AWT issue. Java Server Faces (okay, but not as good as it could be, given the ample time already passed). Improving (not just tools) the server side. The only thing they seem to be succeeding on is the J2ME side (recently Qualcomm said they're going to add J2ME stuff to their chips, which is huge. They are the inventors of BREW and CDMA).

    So what exactly is going on with management at Sun? They seem very short-sighted and, lately, unable to come out with a spec of any real substance. Until these things really turn around, I'm rooting for JBoss on the server side and IBM on the client side. This kind of attitude at the top of the thread just doesn't look like anything is changing.

    Steve
  54. Keep WORA higher[ Go to top ]

    Believe me, Michael, the issue here is not about seeking to make money from certification, it's about protecting and unifying the J2EE community. I have a lot of admiration for the influence the JBoss code base and its advocates have had in promoting the use of Java on servers - great stuff. But just because someone does great stuff in one area it doesn't absolve them of their responsibilities in another area.

    >
    I think we should look at JBoss code base and JBoss Group seperatly. JBoss is an open source project, if it can be justified from your business perspective, Sun may also do the certification for JBoss itself or sponsor someone else to to it, then bundle JBoss within Sun's own solution, if doing service around JBoss is that profitable. JBoss Group is just a company that doing bussiness around JBoss, it does not bear the responsibility getting JBoss certified or whatsoever, although I think it's in their interests to do so.

    >So I agree with you, WORA is paramount - there would be no J2EE market for JBoss to attempt to dominate without it, after all. And the accepted protection for WORA in the JCP is certification.
    >
    It's just too hard, if not impossible to achieve market dominance for one vendor, we are all in the same boat to grow J2EE market together. Mass market adoption and big developer mind share is the key for J2EE to succeed in the long run. Just as Bea CEO Alfred Chung mentioned in an interview, open source is best at spreading technology and accelerating adoption among develops. JBoss Group may be the first benefitory right now if JBoss server gets certified, but an open source Sun certified JBoss application server will help accelerate J2EE adoption tremendously, at least in the lowend market. In the end of the day, whether it's JBoss Group or someone else did the certification is not relevent, what is relevent is J2EE prevailed and WORA saga has been maintained.
  55. Keep WORA higher[ Go to top ]

    I'd buy the certification == compliance assumption that underlies the "certify JBoss" conversation here if, indeed, certification did equal compliance.

    Until the J2EE certification process is managed by a competent, independant organization, (hint; not the container vendor) the Sun certification process can only be viewed as a marketing program with no assurance of technical compliance at all.

    For example;

    SunOne == offically compliant
    JBoss != officially compliant

    Which would you bet your Java career on?

    I, personally, buy the JBoss vision and I'm happy for them to resist the Sun marketing alchemy that seems to have inherited the Xerox nack for turning gold into lead.
  56. Thanks, Matt, I appreciate that!
  57. I am not sure what the problem for SUN is to certify JBOSS. I think JBOSS is the only APP Server that can have a dire effect on .Not server. In the long it will even have effect on BEA and IBM.

    Sun has accepted Linux and open source why is this that they are so half hearted when it comes OPEN source J2EE server ?
  58. <humourous flamebait>
    Sun may be afraid JBoss on M$ will become de facto standard ;)

    All it takes is the OSS community to support a company aiming for monopoly. LOL

    Yes, that's what Fleury wants according to
    http://www.theopenenterprise.com/story/TOE20021120S0001

    And regarding the choice of platform.. do a netcraft.jboss.
    </humourous flaimbait>

    Is everything a joke?
  59. Flogging a dead horse...[ Go to top ]

    The JBoss guy's comment is most telling:

    'JBoss has been asking Sun "tell me why I need it, and then give me a price", but Sun has not offered a price to match JBoss' need. Larry stated that JBoss customers have not been asking for J2EE certification'

    This is indicative of the attitude that jboss has. The assumption that they're everyone's knight in shining armour, and feel that the world owes them something. J2EE is a brand, JBoss needs to stop their J2EE claims (or at least, tone down the anti-Sun rhetoric). At the end of the day, from THIS java developer's perspective, JBoss seem like a bunch of marketoid money grabbers who are out to make money every which way they can, and holding onto it as tightly as possible once they do have it.

    Of course, the fact that it consistently underperforms many other servers and really ISN'T that great technically that makes all this especially galling.
  60. Flogging a dead horse...[ Go to top ]

    At the end of the day, from THIS java developer's perspective, JBoss seem like a bunch of marketoid money grabbers who are out to make money every which way they can, and holding onto it as tightly as possible once they do have it.

    Beside that, I'm really in doubt if they will be able in near future to pass the CTS (even if it would be at no cost for them) with all the mandatory WS APIs of 1.4 and without a proper JMS implementation (no offence intended).

    Actually, from their web site and announcements, their focus is "beyond J2EE" (which actually seems to be != J2EE). Their biggest focus is their AOP-like interceptor stuff. Turning the focus to J2EE 1.4 compliance would bind many if not all resources for a long time.

    IMHO, JOnAS is much more a candidate for J2EE compliancy than JBoss. JOnAS is true open source without revenue pressure behind. AFAIK, much of the menpower comes from big European companies like Bull or institutes like INRIA.

    Again, no offence intended. Just my EUR 0.02.

    -- Andreas
  61. Paranoid vendors[ Go to top ]

    I am more and more confused about the messages on the serverside.

    I find andreas mueller comment a bit disturbing, they are a vendor of a competing JMS implementation? I actually thought the JMS implementation of JBoss was better than mr mueller's product but that is an aside point.

    What I find interesting is that on one hand there are people accusing the JBoss crowd of "begging for living for doing Open Source" and other accuse them of being "greedy bastards".

    From my standpoint they are a group of professionals making a living at Open Source. I find that quite encouraging and the rage they encounter a testimony of their strength. I for one wish to see them to succeed.
  62. Paranoid vendors[ Go to top ]

    I find andreas mueller comment a bit disturbing, they are a vendor of a competing JMS implementation? I actually thought the JMS implementation of JBoss was better than mr mueller's product but that is an aside point.

    As I stated, there was no offense intended. I know a bit from JMS and esp. their *current* impl (don't know about their 4.0). If you read the jboss-user list, you'll notice that "not proper" is what they call it there.

    And no, we do not compete with JBossMQ. We are more like a backup for them. If users are getting rid of it, they usually come to us.

    -- Andreas
  63. Flogging a dead horse... --> Squeeze me?[ Go to top ]

    <quote>Of course, the fact that it consistently underperforms many other servers and really ISN'T that great technically that makes all this especially galling</quote>

    Mmmh... you really must have spent a whole bunch on time on JBoss to say such things. As far as the company I work at is concerned, JBoss HAS been a boon, especially where JMS and ease of use were concerned. We had been using IBM's WebSphere for some time, and when JBoss 3.0 came out, it was time to test it out! Well, 4 days later, our app was going a whopping 40%+ faster with JBoss than with WebSphere3.5. JB3 supported JDK1.4, and supported more of the new standards than WS Advanced 5.0 that came out 6-10 monthes later. Besides, JBoss' Opensource implementation of JMS was... cheaper than WebSphere MQ and is a good solution if you need queuing and don't have the volume to justify US$ 5K a pop...

    I'm not sure where your animosity towards JBoss is really justified, unless your business case depends on one of the big names.

    And if it's only the marketing guys you're after, well you don't have to listen to them :S
  64. Flogging a dead horse... --> Squeeze me?[ Go to top ]

    <quote>
    > I'm not sure where your animosity towards JBoss is really justified, unless your business case depends on one of the big names.
    </quote>

    yeah.... I find it disturbing in a sense, like we are living a lie.

    In the days of war and corporate scandals, the vendors show so much animosity towards a free product that it disturbs me profoundly. Today SUN is even showing how deep their resentment of the free JBoss is, why? because JBoss is a good product developed for free? because BEA is dying? because IBM will take over? because SUN never had a real product? or is it because SUN is becoming irrelevant while JBoss becomes relevant?

    I think runs deeper, I am getting old at this industry, on some levels I love to stay involved, yes I am still arguing here, and on the other I have been around and see it with another eye.

    My eye tells me something simple, that their (*jboss*) hearts are in the right place for all the young cockiness they display. I don't mean to sound lofty and all but really these JBoss kids have found a new formula, how it works I am not sure, but it works, they are producing good code for a long time now and it doesn't seem they will stop. They are trying to make money at it? more power to them.

    I believe that some vendors are intuitively afraid of this success as one of the threads clearly points out "adapt... it's real". Only time will tell.
  65. They Should Be Worried[ Go to top ]

    Brian's comment:

    </quote I believe that some vendors are intuitively afraid of this success as one of the threads clearly points out .../>

    They should be. Their instincts are ahead of their intellects.

    Anybody who is interested in the economics of why Sun, BEA and the others should be worried about open source J2EE should read The Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton Christiansen (on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/82s7).

    Prof. Christiansen makes clear that new technologies (e.g. 5" disks vs. Winchester disks) disrupt existing value chains, and that the organizations engaged in selling, marketing the older technology are almost never able to adapt their positioning, cost structures, etc. to these new technologies. Because of their size, these big companies may hang around for a while as if they were still in the game. Ultimately, however, many go the way of the dinosaur.

    Christiansen’s examples talk mostly about hardware companies. I think that open source represents this same kind of (r)evolution in the software world. Vendor A creates software that many others find useful and becomes very “successful.” Their customers pay handsomely for licenses and the services to make the software run.

    Then in time, an open source solution like JBoss appears. It's "as good as" and guess what, no license cost. This is, to put it mildly, a "disruption" to Vendor A's value network.

    Think about it. If the cost for implementing an application server used to be "license + services," with open source J2EE the cost is "services."

    What's to lose with an open source J2EE solution?

    Interestingly the captains of J2EE are busily defending their "position" with indefensible arguments. Alfred C. made the statement recently on CNet that open source won't affect BEA because it’s like somebody trying to unseat BMW overnight.

    That argument is complete BALONEY.

    The reason is that software development doesn't have the market barriers to entry that automobile manufacturing does (read it doesn’t take billions in investment capital to program in your basement).

    More power to the creative process engendered in open source, I say.

    Open source doesn't take away anything from that which has already been created. It just changes the rules of the game (rules for making money, that is).

    Am I smoking crack? Or does this make a modicum of sense?
  66. <quote>
    I think that open source represents this same kind of (r)evolution in the software world.
    </quote>

    Yet, there are numerous examples that show that the Innovator's Dilemma cannot be blindly extended to the software world (Oracle / MySQL, Windows / Linux), etc...

    What's interesting is that while Microsoft successfully resolved the Innovator's Dilemma by spinning a constant stream of innovations and new business models, Oracle, while still profitable, didn't (their survival still relies on their database, which spun their tornado in the first place).

    No doubt these cases would make for interesting additions to Christiansen's book (which, I agree, is a must-read).

    --
    Cedric
  67. Yep, you are on to something.

    I wasn't quite sure how to address such *anomalies* when writing the above.

    My best guess is that Microsoft's success has to do with its ability to deliver on the "whole product" whereas Oracle's whole product is not as well conceived (or too late to the party maybe). It's simply a database (gross simplification made for argument's sake). From the get go, Microsoft offered or announced that they would offer all kinds of products that complement, extend, enhance their databases (to pick on database technology).

    Again for interested parties, Theodore Levitt defines the “whole product” notion in his seminal marketing text, “The Marketing Imagination”. His thesis is that for a product to have maximum value for buyers it must be complete, or the sellers need to augment its usability via services, partnerships, etc.

    J2EE is wonderful technology. With B.S. in Computer Science, I feel relatively safe asserting that it is also complicated. I believe that Microsoft understands that buyers ultimately want solutions, and therefore build and package their offerings accordingly. They seem to know instinctively or have simply learned over time what mainstream buyers want.

    I hope people don't mind my chiming in with all this marketing blather. The sad fact of our business is that technology often does not succeed of its own merits (Betamax, Ingres, Mac, etc.). Knowing how to play the marketing game at least levels the playing field.
  68. You do have to remember that Microsoft's "success" since '96 or so has been enhanced by their illegal monopoly tactics documented in the Findings of Fact released by the Court.

    But I will agree with your point, about the "whole product" bit. I don't think the complexity is J2EE's weak spot, Microsoft's products are just as complex, but much less coherent.

    J2EE's weak spot is tools, where Microsoft excels. Microsoft hides the complexity which makes growth a problem when using their product line, J2EE has shown it can grow, but the tools are lacking.

    The proprietary Java tool vendors usually try to hide complexity (IntelliJ not included in this group), but the Open Source tools (XDoclet, Ant) try to provide a coherent strategy for more easily managing the complexity rather than hiding it. This is why Open Source J2EE is such a powerful tool and is so popular.

    This is also the reason Sun needs to get on board and support the Open Source Java community at least as much as it does the proprietary Java community, because it needs this innovation to keep Java as a viable platform in the marketplace.

    The unwashed masses will provide the Microsoft like tools that Java needs if Sun would allow the market to grow.
  69. They Should(n't) Be Worried[ Go to top ]

    I'm not sure that open source can by any stretch of the imagination be (yet) described as a disruptive technology in any software category. The reality is most CIOs won't allow Linux -- and the only reason they will contemplate it is because it's becoming something quite different than an open source project in the cathedral and the bazaar sense of the term. It reminds me more of Motif in many ways: an industry consortium of cooperating, credible companies pooling their resources. Would Linux be considered a threat by Microsoft if it wasn't being adopted as the defacto operating system by every other major system vendor: IBM, HP/Compaq, Oracle, Dell et al? These companies weren't forced to adopt Linux, they did it for very strategic reasons. I see no parallel in any other server technology.

    There's alot of interesting, important things that occur in open source projects; the most important are the tools developers create to make their lives easier and more productive. Am I the only one who doesn't see a new business model anywhere in any of this?
  70. RE:They Should(n't) Be Worried[ Go to top ]

    I'm not sure that open source can by any stretch of the imagination be (yet) described as a disruptive technology in any software category.


    Perhaps not your CIO, but there are some out there. Do you think it's disruptive that Borland, BEA, IBM and others are not deriving income from their IDEs and middleware? We used to pay Borland for the privilege of using JBuilder since version 2. We now use Eclipse, JBoss, Velocity, etc.

    >The reality is most CIOs won't allow Linux

    Huh? See http://www.cio.com/archive/031503/opensource.html

    >Am I the only one who doesn't see a new business model anywhere in any of this?

    Yep :) It's called services...

    Steven P. Goldsmith
    Supervisor, Application Systems Architecture
    FCCI Insurance Group
  71. RE:They Should(n't) Be Worried[ Go to top ]

    I was surprised to learn that services represent a new business model. I stand corrected.
  72. RE:They Should(n't) Be Worried[ Go to top ]

    It's not a new business model, but if you cannot make money off middleware then you need to make it somewhere. IBM Global Services comes to mind...
  73. Enigma[ Go to top ]

    Is he an engineer?
    Is he a marketeer?
    They seek him in J2EE,
    They seek him in AOP,
    Those Sunnies, they just can't let him be.
    That dimned infernal
    Fleury.
  74. Enigma II[ Go to top ]

    Is he an egomaniac?
    Is it an attitude problem?
    Does he really talk that way,
    Or is it just the phlegm?
    Those open sourcers, are being baited and switched by his little LLC.
    That dimned infernal
    Fleury.
  75. Enigma IIi[ Go to top ]

    There once was a man from Sun France,
    Who put ants in Sun's corporate pants,
    He did J2EE,
    Stopped software spending spree,
    And causes no end to these rants.
  76. Enigma[ Go to top ]

    They seek him in AOP,


    Wasn't AOP recently patented from Xerox? I read it in Rickard's web log.

    -- Andreas
  77. can't we just get along?[ Go to top ]

    My 2 pesos:
       I would be worried if Sun depended on a huge revenue stream from their licensing, in fact, personally, I don't think that they should charge squat for the licensing to begin with. As the "stewards", they should open the whole damn thing up. If their tools and servers really are the best, then people will be buying them and they will get their money, otherwise, open it up, b/c in my opinion, Sun's ranting makes them look weak, and so far these arguments are getting tired (for me anyway :-). It just "smells" to me. Having Sun tell the JBoss group to put up or shut up is a little like david and goliath, $$ may not be alot for the likes of ibm, bea, allaire, iona, borland, etc, but that's all relative isn't it? Personally, I think that the java community in general has gained much from the presence of JBoss, perhaps more than the reference implementation/sun one base product. Why not open the whole shebang and let things stand on their own merit, as opposed to pay to play?
  78. can't we just get along?[ Go to top ]

    <quote>
    that's all relative isn't it? Personally, I think that the java community in general has gained much from the presence of JBoss, perhaps more than the reference implementation/sun one base product.
    </quote>

    nice angle

    JBoss == de facto RI

    If JBoss became SUN1 we would be in a much better place, collectively. The RI was never a real world solution (although it passes the tests by definition) while JBoss is mission critical grade.

    my 2c
  79. Sun is playing hardball. I think JBoss should not go for licensing if that's the way Sun is going to be. It makes Sun look absolutely silly. It makes people who have decided that JBoss is the way to go, wonder if Sun's software is really worth it. Let's say I use JBoss. Will I recommend a Sun LDAP server? No, not if Sun doesn't seem to be putting customers first.

    The fact is, though, JBoss is swaying people left and right, including many large corporations (GE). It's not for everyone, but for people who want to dive into the code, it's wonderful.

    As far as aspects go, the JBoss solution will be much easier than anything the JCP has suggested. Instead of whining, Sun, howbout making a JSR that can add any service to a POJO? Howbout leveraging your first-to-market capabilities with the Sun app server?

    As for complaining about prices, the charge could be levelled against Sun that they are balking at the prices needed for engineers, bringing in all these H1B's. I personally don't have a problem with that, but in JBoss's case there's nothing wrong with trying to get the best price, either. You can't have it both ways.

    Wahh. Wahh. Wahh.
    Steve
  80. Maybe my memory is fading too quickly, but didn't some folks in the JBoss community say something last year like: if Sun would let us do the certification, we (the community) would try to raise the money to do it?

    Whether or not that comment reflects the view of the larger JBoss community, it seems like OSS projects that, for whatever reason, need to license from commerical vendors, need to cover licensing costs. That is the playing field, right?

    That Sun is not being supper nice and donating or discounting these costs seems like just a reflection of Sun's situation in the marketplace--they have made freely usable a lot of application software (or have otherwise supported the development of a lot of free software) and are now having to be more profitable with their own application software; their hardware business not sufficiently profitable in itself (especially looking down the line).

    So, I get the feeling that both JBoss and Sun are each trying to use the larger Java community (us) to take sides in basically determining the price or necissity for JBoss to take the certification tests. If this is true, then OK: what exactly are the terms (price) from Sun and what is it really going to require of the JBoss community?

    Maybe, as a community, we should *help* arbitrate this matter directly--let's see if we can be more open and faster than the JCP, and let's see if we can be less obnoxious than the JBoss folks!

    Should we try, or shut up, or what?

    j f
  81. I'm for that, and would willing donate $5 or whatever. Pass the hat?
  82. Which roman emperor (Titus?) was it that said that he could not understand how two astrologs could meet without blushing?

    Regards
    Rolf Tollerud