JBoss responds to J2EE licensing concerns

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  1. JBoss responds to J2EE licensing concerns (36 messages)

    Marc Fleury, President of the JBoss Group, has responded to the recent claims made about open-source J2EE licensing and how it effects JBoss. "JBoss remains a highly successful, fully featured and cost-effective J2EE server solution available for free download under the LGPL license."

    ----------------------------
    JBoss and Sun Licensing

    Lutris Technologies recently discontinued its open source version of Enterprise Enyhdra, reportedly because Lutris was not successful in negotiating a license for J2EE from Sun. The announcement of their failure to obtain a license has encouraged much speculation and gossip about JBoss.
    This posting is intended to set the record straight.

    First and most important, JBoss continues to be distributed through the JBoss.org website. JBoss remains a highly successful, fully featured and cost-effective J2EE server solution available for free download under the LGPL license.

    Lutris' decision to close its source seems clearly driven by its own business considerations and not by Sun.

    Several people have suggested that JBoss is infringing Sun's copyrights by incorporating some of Sun's code into JBoss. We have carefully reviewed the JBoss code base and are confident that, with the exception of seven jars, all code distributed with JBoss was independently written by JBoss project contributors. As for those seven jars, that code was licensed from Sun under Sun's Binary Code License Agreement, which provides that JBoss can distribute that software in binary code format only. JBoss is fully complying with the terms of that license.

    Other than for the seven jars just mentioned, JBoss does not believe it requires any licenses from Sun to distribute JBoss software, because JBoss is an independent implementation that meets widely available standards. Sun has never accused JBoss of violating any of their licenses, and JBoss is not violating any of Sun's licenses by distributing JBoss.

    JBoss long ago informed Sun that we were interested in obtaining the J2EE certification suite so that we could apply Sun's certification mark to the JBoss software. Sun quoted a price for that certification suite that is beyond the current financial resources of the JBoss team. As a result, we have chosen not to "certify" our software. Nevertheless, JBoss fully complies with Sun's published standards. JBoss customers can be confident that they are using a complete, J2EE-compliant server implementation despite the absence of Sun's certification mark.

    Regards

    marcf

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Marc Fleury
    President
    JBoss Group LLC
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Threaded Messages (36)

  2. JBoss responds to J2EE licensing concerns[ Go to top ]

    That is a nice statement ("JBoss does not believe it requires any licenses from Sun to distribute JBoss software") but not enough to satisfy the management making decisions. What does Sun have to say? Just because that is what JBoss believes doesn't make it true.
  3. I would also like to see some remarks from Sun stating that JBoss can be redistributed. I'd recently wanted to use JBoss, but my management would not allow it because of legal concerns. The core issue was not whether JBoss is a clean room implementation (we can certainly prove that!), but whether we have infringed on the J2EE copyrights in doing so.

    For example, the license in the front of the EJB 2.0 specification states that:

    1) the APIs are covered by patents and copyrights and require a license from Sun to use

    2) the license is granted for building a clean room implementation

    3) 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"

    Point 3 means that to use the spec you must agree to pass Sun's tests, and you've stated that you've tried to get the tests from Sun but it is not possible. So, we don't have a license to use the specifications.

    So, it appears to me, that the clean room implementation infringes on Sun's copyright and we're at risk legally from using it. What's the flaw in this analysis??

  4. 3) 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"

    > Point 3 means that to use the spec you must agree to
    > pass Sun's tests, and you've stated that you've tried to
    > get the tests from Sun but it is not possible. So, we
    > don't have a license to use the specifications.

    Point 3 does not say that. Presumably JBoss does in fact 'satisfy all testing requirements' of EJB 1.1. The license does not say that JBoss must actually pay to have the tests officially executed and recognised. If Sun were interested in a public relations disaster then sure they could persue JBoss. Their first step would be to show that JBoss doesn't satisfy the testing requirements for EJB 1.1. If JBoss does happen to satisfy them (which all evidence suggests that it would), what next ?

    Keep in mind that not even Orion can afford to have the official tests run, and they charge a fee for their server. Of course the week after cashed-up Oracle licensed Orion, their re-badge of Orion (Oracle9iAS) was offically Sun certified.

    With the assault of '.Net' on the horizon who seriously believes that Sun will run around stamping out open-source implementations of J2EE? Gimme a break.



  5. The question being raised is whether JBoss is able to be legally distributed or not. The only testing requirements available from Sun are the tests JBoss could not access. So, like it or not, there is a licensing issue and potential legal exposure.

    Is Sun going to sue JBoss? Of course not. This legal exposure is a concern to commercial entities using JBoss though. It appears that this legal exposure was the primary reason that Lutris exited the J2EE arena, so we cannot pretend it does not exist.

    Finally, Sun may not run around squashing open source J2EE implementations, but they're certainly not helping either. If they felt that the open source J2EE vendors would really help in the fight against .Net, they'd make the J2EE compatibility tests freely available and eliminate this licensing hurdle.
  6. How can you say SUN is not promoting or supporting Open Sorce while seeing a wonderful work going on at "jakarta" project? All the lead developers on that project are from SUN...why look at blackdown offical JVM port... same story...
  7. Hmm well the Blackdown JVM was developed by non-Sun people, and Sun actually forgot to mention that when promoting the final release of that first Linux JVM (and then had to apologise and give due recognition).

    However it is reasonably obvious that Sun is fully behind Open Source. Not because Sun is the world's first global corporation with a conscience, but because Open Source is the only weapon left to combat Microsoft's domination of the software marketplace (and Sun knows it).

    Other high profile Open Source projects that Sun is heavily involved in are:

    * OpenOffice (aka StarOffice, version 6 is v good).
    * Gnome UI (Traditionally for Linux, Sun are backing it for Solaris).

    I'm guessing that Sun is not coming out in support of JBoss for fear of upsetting the big money players in the J2EE market such as BEA and IBM. If Sun publicly endorsed the existance of a 'free' standards compliant J2EE server, the likely ramification is that clients are likely to look at the $20,000/CPU licenses of their current app servers and think again about renewing those licenses next year. And Sun needs a strong BEA and IBM to combat '.Net' in the arena that really matters (big money marketing and public perception).

    However Sun would never (while Microsoft still lives) prosecute JBoss or its clients. Sun's licensing laws exist pretty much to stop Microsoft from assimilating and morphing Java to its own designs. Although this is now a moot point as MS has released its own clone of Java with C# (love that innovation Bill!).

  8. </quote>
    If Sun publicly endorsed the existance of a 'free' standards compliant J2EE server, the likely ramification is that clients are likely to look at the $20,000/CPU licenses of their current app servers and think again about renewing those licenses next year.
    </quote>

    This is ridiculous.

    You seem to be saying that

    1) Sun is endorsing or recommending certain application servers.

    2) If Sun issued recommendations, customers would blindly follow them, just because they come from Sun.

    Both claims are equally ludicrous.

    --
    Cedric


  9. Cedric,

    The initial statement was:
    "If Sun publicly endorsed the existance of a 'free' standards compliant J2EE server, the likely ramification is that clients are likely to look at the $20,000/CPU licenses of their current app servers and think again about renewing those licenses next year."

    And your comment was:
    "You seem to be saying that
    1) Sun is endorsing or recommending certain application servers.
    2) If Sun issued recommendations, customers would blindly follow them, just because they come from Sun."

    1) I think you misunderstood the initial statement Cedric. He said that if Sun publicly stated that the *existance* of a 'free' (as in beer, and as in source) is ok, people would start looking at their license costs more carefully. If you look at most peoples comments they're anxious because of the whole FUD situation (which Marc wanted to dissolve with his initial statement) that such servers would be illegal. If Sun publicly said "it's ok. really", that would change the picture. He did not say anything about Sun endorsing any particular server fitting that bill, and there is more than one that does that.

    2) See 1. That said, Sun *does offer recommendations*, but you need to differentiate between the "church" and "state" of Sun. The "church" part would never, and should never, offer such recommendations, whereas I have no problem with the "state" part recommending people to use iPlanet since that is after all their commercial offering in the whole J2EE scheme of things.

    /Rickard
  10. Dear cedric,

    > </quote>
    > If Sun publicly endorsed the existance of a 'free'
    > standards compliant J2EE server, the likely ramification
    > is that clients are likely to look at the $20,000/CPU
    > licenses of their current app servers and think again
    > about renewing those licenses next year.
    > </quote>
    > You seem to be saying that
    > 1) Sun is endorsing or recommending certain application
    > servers.
    > 2) If Sun issued recommendations, customers would blindly
    > follow them, just because they come from Sun.
    > Both claims are equally ludicrous.

    It's a little annoying that you quote my sentence (beginning and ending with two 'closing' xml tags, nice work) and then provide your own confused two point interpretation of what I said. You then assert that your points 1) and 2) are ludicrous. Agreed.

    To restate, I am saying that if Sun resolved the 'license issue' publicly then it would be endorsing _the existence_ of open source J2EE compliant implementations. This may validate such products in the minds of J2EE customers and threaten the market share of IBM and BEA (who Sun values in the marketplace).

    > <quote>
    > However Sun would never (while Microsoft still lives)
    > prosecute JBoss or its clients.
    > </quote>
    >
    > You seem to know an awful lot of things. And you would
    > be surprised to know the reality (very different from
    > what you imagine).

    Firstly, congratulations on the improvement in your xml. Secondly, please feel free to share your insight on 'the reality'. Or to enter your reality will I be required to imbibe some form of narcotic ?

    > <quote>
    > Sun's licensing laws exist pretty much to stop Microsoft
    > from assimilating and morphing Java to its own designs.
    > </quote>
    > More assumptions. The impact of the J2EE license has
    > probably close to 0% impact on Microsoft's strategy
    Yah, like I said, it's now a moot point.

    > <quote>
    > Although this is now a moot point as MS has released its
    > own clone of Java with C# (love that innovation Bill!).
    > </quote>
    > Oh please.

    Mmm that C# was a real ground-breaker huh ;-)
  11. <quote>
    However Sun would never (while Microsoft still lives) prosecute JBoss or its clients.
    </quote>

    You seem to know an awful lot of things. And you would be surprised to know the reality (very different from what you imagine).

    <quote>
     Sun's licensing laws exist pretty much to stop Microsoft from assimilating and morphing Java to its own designs.
    </quote>

    More assumptions. The impact of the J2EE license has probably close to 0% impact on Microsoft's strategy. On the other hand, it definitely helps Sun keep in control of its intellectual property and business. Nothing wrong with that, though, but keep in mind that Sun is not a model of open and transparent process either.

    <quote>
     Although this is now a moot point as MS has released its own clone of Java with C# (love that innovation Bill!).
    </quote>

    Oh please.


  12. Cedric,

    <quote>
    However Sun would never (while Microsoft still lives) prosecute JBoss or its clients.
    </quote>

    <quote> <quote> You seem to know an awful lot of things. And you would be surprised to know the reality (very different from what you imagine). <quote> <quote>

    Well, as WebLogic's lead developer, perhaps you could enlighten us? We humble OpenSource advocates would like to know how it is you have so much time to flame people on JBoss threads.
  13. Cedric,

    You seemed to be awfully hot and bothered about legal issues here. You think WebLogic would would be happy that JBoss is around so they can continue and rip off features like hot-deploy and interceptors that JBoss introduced to market quite a bit ahead of BEA. How certain can we be that you haven't infringed on their license?
  14. I apologize if my initial posting sounded like a flame. I should know better than posting late at night (answering another participant's question: I flame on my own time).

    I was simply trying to debunk the conspiracy theory which is used so conveniently when a product is not having the recognition it should have. According to its fans, anyway.

    It's a warm and fuzzy feeling to know deep inside that you know the truth and everybody else is a blissful ignorant. I've been here (hey, I used to be an Amiga fan), but the truth is that reality is more complex. Conspiracy theories are a very comfortable way to wallow in denial, but if you want to do some real business, you need to break out of it and start asking the real questions.

    Computer history is littered with skeletons of companies that failed to do that.

    --
    Cedric
  15. I wouldn't say JBoss is doing too badly. According to a recent survey completed by their downloaders, 67% of them are in the process of or are considering switching from WebLogic.
    http://www.jboss.org/survey/help/
  16. Slightly off-topic to cool the discussion ;-) ..

    I am surprised how all discussions about commercial J2EE are ending up on BEA. I just had a look at the JBoss website, and I was really disappointed by the following data:

    100 % are switching or ident to switch from
    BEA WebLogic 67 %
    IBM WebSphere 8 %

    The difference can not be justified by difference in marketshare.
    Are WebLogic customers are few times less satisfied then Websphere customers ?

    Or is it few times more difficult to port the J2EE solution originally build using VA + WebSphere?

    I do not think BEA is using any FUD based strategy, clearly it would be much easier for them to make BEA based solutions less standards compliant and more difficult to port.

    This approach may work way better and this seems to me bigger problem.

    Michael
    (do not work for BEA, have not worked do not own shares, etc.)
  17. <quote>
    I am surprised how all discussions about commercial J2EE are ending up on BEA. I just had a look at the JBoss website, and I was really disappointed by the following data:

    100 % are switching or intend to switch from
    BEA WebLogic 67 %
    IBM WebSphere 8 %
    </quote>

    Look at it this way: if you interviewed all the people who bought OS/2 last month (all five of them), 100% of them would say they intend to switch from Windows to OS/2.

    Just trying to give you some perspective on self-serving numbers posted on own Web sites.

    Don't trust ours, don't trust theirs, but most of all, don't trust Oracle's :-)

    --
    Cedric
  18. <quote>
    Look at it this way: if you interviewed all the people who bought OS/2 last month (all five of them), 100% of them would say they intend to switch from Windows to OS/2.

    Just trying to give you some perspective on self-serving numbers posted on own Web sites.

    Don't trust ours, don't trust theirs, but most of all, don't trust Oracle's :-)
    </quote>

    Hmmm, you seem to have confused the numbers "5" and "50,000." According to independent source, Sourceforge, JBoss's downloads are at about that rate per month.

  19. <quote>
    Hmmm, you seem to have confused the numbers "5" and "50,000." According to independent source, Sourceforge, JBoss's downloads are at about that rate per month.
    </quote>

    Oops, you're right. The number of people who buy OS/2 are probably more like 5 per year, not month.

    Sorry.

    --
    Cedric
  20. <quote>
    Hmmm, you seem to have confused the numbers "5" and "50,000." According to independent source, Sourceforge, JBoss's downloads are at about that rate per month.
    </quote>

    Yes, I've heard Marc give this figure several times. I could never find the place where these statistics are stored on Sourceforge, though.

    Where are they?

    --
    Cedric


  21. JBoss respond to J2EE licensing concerns[ Go to top ]

    JBoss looks to be doing about 2 1/2 thousand downloads per week-day at the moment...check:

    http://sourceforge.net/project/stats/?group_id=22866

    Check that again when JBoss 3.0 is released ;-) In any case, JBoss is constantly in the most active projects list on SourceForge..currently in the 99.7478%th percentile. You can try to FUD JBoss all you like, but it simply kicks arse, it doesn't violate any licenses, and it's going to make quality middleware a free commodity shared by all.



  22. JBoss respond to J2EE licensing concerns[ Go to top ]

    <quote>
    and it's going to make quality middleware a free commodity shared by all.
    </quote>

    Quality middleware is already a free commodity shared by all. This field was nuked long ago.

    Who would buy a servlet engine? An EJB container? A Web server?

    That's not why people buy software. They buy support, they buy clustering, they buy guaranteed scalability, they buy integration with their legacy software, they buy maintenance contracts.

    --
    Cedric

  23. Sorry Cedric, but I just can't resist this one. ;-)

    "They buy support, "

    The JBoss mailing lists are frequently being referred to as "vastly superior to any bought support". Go figure.

    "they buy clustering, "

    JBoss 3.0

    "they buy guaranteed scalability, "

    JBoss 3.0

    "they buy integration with their legacy software, "

    JBoss has always been integration friendly due to the JMX-support and generally open architecture. Sure, you need some brains to make good use of it, but it seems to work for most people.

    "they buy maintenance contracts."

    JBoss allows you to always get the latest CVS, fresh in the morning, with test suites run 'n all. If you want stable binaries that's fine; at least you have an option.

    Touché.

    /Rickard
  24. There's no source cited in the quote about "JBoss mailing lists are...", but that's the beauty of the passive tense.

    I have to disagree on the support issue. When I send a message to BEA support, I always have an answer waiting in my next day's email, and I often get a phone call from them as well. Then they follow up to make sure that my problem was resolved, and that I didn't just give up. No mailing list can substitute for that.
  25. <quote> No mailing list can substitute for that. </quote>

    Clearly true. However, I think the point is that that JBoss does offer more "hands-on" support, for a fee. The difference is they don't force you to take their support contract the way BEA does.


  26. By the way, loved Confederacy of Dunces too.
  27. Cedric,

    <quote>
    Quality middleware is already a free commodity shared by all. This field was nuked long ago.

    Who would buy a servlet engine? An EJB container? A Web server?
    <quote>

    Last time I checked, WebLogic was selling licenses and ***mandatory*** support. JBoss offers excellent support on their forums and paid support contracts, consulting and training, through JBoss Group, for those who want more. What they don't do is charge for their product or penalize people who don't need their services. It was a nice scam that worked great during the Internet bubble, due to the fact that a large percentage of the US technology buying decision makers don't understand the first thing about technology. So they defaulted to brand recognition. Now that there's no more monopoly money, people are taking a harder look at the value of what they are buying.

    CIO's and board members care about the money when all is said and done. The smarter ones listen to their developers when it comes to technology buying decisions. And JBoss owns the minds of the high level developers. I know, as an integrator, I absolutely cringe when I'm forced by the suits to work on Web-dogic and IBM crap-sphere. I do the development on JBoss and port to whatever the Man wants because he played on a round of golf with some bozo salesman from your organization and made an "executive technology decision."

    The problem is you guys at proprietary vendors just stopped having fun and now that your stock options are on the crapper, you've turned a bit pissy lately.
  28. Hey dude ... inspite of what you say, JBooobs is soon going the enhydra way.
  29. The name "middleware" says it all. It's IT plumbing and brand recognition will only go so far. How many CORBA companies have survived? I can only think of one, IONA and they're definitely trying the J2EE route. Can you name the manufacturer for the clutch in your car?

    Of the four dominant app server players, IBM does a million different things, is an integrator, derives most revenue from services and they're IBM; Oracle owns the DB and that's a significant installed base. IBM and Oracle can both have sucky products because they leverage everything else. JBoss is not a commercial entity, so there's nothing to kill. It's like the Internet, you can try and kill a few nodes, but the rest will survive. Do you think the Chinese govt. gives a **** about J2EE licensing? And then there's BEA/WebLogic. Hmmm, let me see, you're not IBM or Oracle, so people don't have to worry about dumping you, plus you have a whole company to support--off a market that's rapidly getting commoditized. As far as I'm concerned the writing is on the wall. It's not JBoss' fault -- you're problem is that in the brief time you had in the Sun (pun intended) you did not manage to get as big or influential as IBM or Oracle or stay as lean, nimble and cutting edge as JBoss.
  30. How many of those downloads continued up to production system?
  31. don't believe the crap that jboss is putting out in their survey. They will be out of business very soon (just like enhydra). I just don't see them being able to make a convincing case to switch from any of the established app servers -- especially with the huge legal threat hanging over them.

    Now which CIO would want to go back to his/her board in a few months and say "guess what, we have to drop jboss because, um, er, there is this small problem re: the license".
  32. JBoss responds to J2EE licensing concerns[ Go to top ]

    Vicious post. You wouldn't happen to work for Enhydra would you? I'm surprised that JBoss, a group that manages to put out a high-quality product, for which they charge zero dollars seems to generate such hatred. Could it be that the dominant players in the industry are afraid that a loose association of extremely talented developers with no money and no friends in the industry is kicking their ass? So you all create FUD around licensing to cover your asses on the fact that JBoss just might be a better TCO solution. As far as I can tell the only two parties who have anything relevent to say about this issue are Sun and JBoss.
  33. I'd agree with Peter Daily here. Sun is between a rock and a hard place. De facto support of JBoss and you tee off the big-money marketers (BEA, IBM, ORACLE). De facto non-support for JBoss and you tick off the entire open source community. Solid analysis of the situation in my view.
  34. But I've always thought that it wasn't possible to patent a programming interface. What a naive person I am...
  35. Doubting Thomas,
    >I would also like to see some remarks from Sun stating >that JBoss can be redistributed. I'd recently wanted to >use JBoss, but my management would not allow it because of >legal concerns. The core issue was not whether JBoss is a >clean room implementation (we can certainly prove that!), >but whether we have infringed on the J2EE copyrights in >doing so.

    Maybe your company and those other companies that want to use JBoss, but are concerned about the legal issues of J2EE licensing, should lobby Sun on this issue. While Sun is not exactly motivated to make a noble gesture of support here to OpenSource, given the revenue and relationships they want to protect with BEA and IBM, it's less likely they'll ignore market pressures from the corporate world. After all, Sun sells hardware and they can still get the hardware sales out JBoss users.
  36. JBoss responds to J2EE licensing concerns[ Go to top ]

    There are two issues as far as I can see: testing and certification.

    The license says that you must comply with the tests available from Sun, but this seems a seperate issue to that of being certified and branded as J2EE compatible. About the worst I can see happening is that JBOss will have to be careful about the use of the term J2EE.

    As already mentioned, Orion hasn't paid for certification either but no-one is spreading FUD about the legality of the Orion Application Server. In my opionion the information spread about JBoss is a reaction to a tightening Application Server market that is rapidly approaching saturation (we have seen recent reports about the overspending on app servers). JBoss provides a low-cost real-world solution to the needs of many companies that enable them to lower the TCO significantly.

    Anyone can pay Sun to access the Compatibility Test Suite and have their Application Server certified. As an Open Source project JBoss cannot afford the cost of formal certification but this does not necessairly mean that they are in breach of the J2EE license, as far as I can see.
  37. JBoss responds to J2EE licensing concerns[ Go to top ]

    Given the current business environment meaning no more play money, employing JBoss makes perfect sense. I think it is market niche is not 'poster' projects (big boxes, big press, big $) but mass, grass roots enterprise and web based apps. It is a perfect candidate for transitioning a web-based app (JSP/Sevlet) into full J2EE stack. So what it is not officially recognized as J2EE. Given its history of J2EE support and developer's knowledge of the specs, a development team can keep their project open to a port to a commercial app server if there is a budget for it.

    'J2EE' license has become more of a political tool for the big guys so leave it to them to play with. I say the middle size business is going to be the battleground for .NET vs J2EE and JBoss will be there.

    P.S.:
    Guys, as I read some of the posts, you sure remind me of kids in a sandbox. There is no reason to get emotional about it.