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Afterthoughts… April 30, 2006

Posted by Sacha in JBoss, Moved from JBoss.org.
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In the last few days, I crawled through the huge amount of articles, posts and
internal e-mails that followed the RHAT/JBoss signing. Damned! This is pretty
impressive, the feedback is extremely positive and for most this
move is simply
so natural, so obvious. In retrospect it is to me too.

Inside…

Inside the company, I have been highly impressed by the reaction of my JBossian R&D
colleagues: at first, obviously, they have been surprised by the news (they had
been used to rumors and there were none here), wondered what it meant for them,
for their projects, etc. It seems for many of them this is a natural move as
well. I was expecting lots of distraction, many questions, etc. but in fact
things calmed down very fast: people got it and went back to work, some
relieved and most even more motivated than ever to build the next generation
middleware! Onward! Congratulations guys, you’ve impressed me, really.

…outside

From a PR standpoint, as a said before, the feedback was overwhelming and extremely
positive. Obviously, some articles have raised some issues or challenges they
could foresee, fair enough. Let me dig into some of those…

Theoretical challenges

I’ve
classified most of the issues in the “theoretical challenges” category. They typically
address high-level strategic integration issues, market-forces, synergies, e.g
“does this change the software landscape as we know it” as some articles
claimed. I am certainly not classifying them as “theoretical” in order to
make them look futile. All of these points are very interesting and most of
them are valid questions. No, I do classify them as “theoretical challenges
because I think there is no need to spend time factually arguing for or against
them: nobody is right or wrong at this stage, only our combined ability to
execute will tell, down the road, if we have been successful or not. Facts will
speak for themselves, no need to spend endless cycles arguing whether the sky
will be clear in 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years. Let us prove ourselves:
we are extremely motivated to build a billion dollar company, something great.
Wait and see, we are working on it. Still, I know we will succeed ;)

Interoperability/Partnerships

A second category that interested me concerned our continuing work with existing
JBoss partners. While I understand that this concern was raised by some of our
partners, let me reassure many of you. Things are pretty clear cut on our
side: maintaining a multi-vendor JEMS stack is key to our strategy. WE
will support all our partners that adopt JEMS as they infrastructure. It
wouldn’t make sense for JEMS to strictly target the RHAT Linux platform as much
as it would not make sense for RHAT to strictly target JEMS as its middleware. JBoss
runs on Windows and Websphere runs on Linux RHEL. In the “real world”
enterprise IT Operating systems and middleware, are heterogeneous environments.
Customers demand freedom of choice, that is not something we can be for or against.
It just is, by popular demand.

FUD

A third category, the FUD one, was to be expected. I’ve surprised by the lack of
creativity though:

  • JBoss is being licensed under the GPL, hence, obviously!, not suitable to your
    environment, you should really use <whatever shameless product plug here>
    instead

    • JBoss AS is LGPL licensed and is totally fine for your deployments, either as an end-customer, an OEM or an
      ISV.
  • JBoss
    is “weak” in Europe

    • False:
      most of our leads come from Europe. JBoss adoption in EU is as widespread as in
      the US, this is a global phenomena.
    • While it is true that in terms of company development, JBoss Europe is about one-year
      behind JBoss US, today, most of our R&D work is done in Europe.
    • We
      have developers present in 10 European countries: Belgium, Croatia, Czeck
      Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, UK;
    • We have physical offices in 4 European countries: Switzerland, UK, Germany and Belgium; Furthermore, once we hook up with Redhat, we will instantly scale our
      coverage of Europe.
    • I don’t necessarily like comparing Europe vs. the USA vs. Mars. In that regard, having
      a tri-national French/Spanish/American CEO is pretty useful.
  • JBoss will no more be available as open source software, you should expect a free
    version for the children and a for-pay version for the adults

    • That is the funniest FUD we have heard from our competitors. Think about it a
      minute, consider the rumors and consider where we have chosen to end up. RHAT
      is a pure play open source, that is why we went there. If we really wanted to
      go proprietary don’t you think we would have gone somewhere else? No really! We
      certainly do not expect to change the current model: why changing something
      that works great and the customers love?
    • Open Source business uses various models (support/maintenance, dual licensing,
      packaging, certification, proprietary plugins, etc.), so do we.
    • People have spread FUD for all our history on us going proprietary and we will
      continue to prove this simply wrong. That is not what we want and that is not
      what our users want.
  • JBoss will only be available on RHAT Linux
    • See above, also the LGPL license prevents anyone from restricting our distribution.
      Finally remember that JBoss is written in Java and that Java runs anywhere.

What’s next?

Good question! A small combined team is currently working on the RHAT/JBoss
integration plans that we will roll-out once the deal closes: We will be ready
to disclose more information at JBoss World Las Vegas (don’t forget to register
in time, that’s pretty soon!). But more importantly, the team is working hard
to work on future releases of our JEMS. The technology innovation rate is going
to increase: JBoss Web (Native IO and .Net/Java/PHP integration),
JBoss AS 5.0
(EE5/EJB3 – next generation enterprise development),
JBoss ESB 1.0,
SEAM (smooth
EJB3/JSF/BPM integration),
JBoss MicroContainer (JEMS’s new Middleware
Operating System),
JBoss Messaging 1.x (next generation messaging infrastructure)
and much more! so stay tuned and enjoy!

Onward!

Sacha

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