Open-source JBoss integrates with Borland Optimizeit

The evolution of the open-source JBoss application server took another turn recently as its maker, the JBoss Group LLC, signed a deal to integrate its free, Java-based app server with Borland's popular Optimizeit Suite for Java performance management. The pairing of Optimizeit and JBoss 3.0 is designed to improve developer productivity, said George Paolini, vice president and general manager of Java solutions at Borland, Scotts Valley, Calif.

Java developers can use the popular Optimizeit Suite to get real-time insights into the behavior of their applications and to see where performance improvements should be made. The match-up was a natural, according to JBoss president and founder Marc Fleury, who said his company's development team uses Optimizeit in its own daily performance tests.

"Optimizeit contributes to JBoss's position as one of the most stable application servers on the market," Fleury said. "We believe that the two products are naturally strong together and will provide an attractive offering for Java developers."

Fleury sees 2003 as a growth year. In 2002, approximately 2 million users downloaded the free JBoss app server, he noted. Fleury claims the company saw nearly as many downloads in the first quarter of this year alone. That level of interest, he said, indicates "a critical mass in the minds of developers."

JBoss is clearly a popular Java server, but can it truly be called a "J2EE" server?

There is still at least one pothole on JBoss's road to success: the company's disagreements with Sun over the certification of its app server as J2EE compliant. Sun has asserted that JBoss has not wanted to test the software because it does not meet the requirements for certification. JBoss insists that Sun doesn't want a free open-source application server on the market because it would interfere with revenues from commercial server vendors.

"Sun accused us of splintering the market and doing our own thing," JBoss's Fleury said. "That's just not true. We love J2EE. JBoss was born in J2EE and we fully support it. We've adhered to compliance dearly, and now we've been accused because we didn't take out the brand. But we're a small company, and taking certification for the brand is a big investment in time and people. Hopefully, we will find a way with Sun to certify JBoss in a way that makes ROI sense."

The J2EE specification is defined in the Java Community Process, through which companies work in technical committees to sort out the official blueprint to write Java server software.

In March, Sun offered JBoss the opportunity to license a set of compliance testing tools. The testing suite is for the J2EE 1.4 specification. "The J2EE 1.4-compatibility test suite license is per the terms we agreed to with Apache," Rick Saletta, Sun's group marketing manager for Java and OEM licensing said at the time. "We were able to separate the licensing of the source code from the test suite license."

That separation was a critical compromise because open-source vendors may not agree to a license that requires them to buy source code and leave it unchanged.

As of this writing, the two companies are still in negotiations over this issue.

JBoss's Fleury counts the Borland deal as a coup for the upstart JBoss Group, which has been garnering serious buzz as it positions itself as an alternative to proprietary products from companies such as BEA and IBM. "Borland is a tool vendor and agnostic," Fleury told Programmers Report. "They told us, 'You guys are everywhere in development and we'd be silly not to support you.'"

Fleury founded the Atlanta-based JBoss Group in 1999. A former software engineer at Sun Microsystems, he led the development team that created the company's namesake app server. JBoss 3.0 is an open-source, Java-based application server that includes the basic EJB container and JMX infrastructure, JBossMQ for JMS messaging, JBossMX for mail, JBossTX for JTA/JTS transactions, JBossSX for JAAS-based security, JBossCX for JCA connectivity and JBossCMP for CMP persistence.

JBoss Group consists of about 30 full-time developers. The company makes money by selling support and consulting services, Fleury said. "It's a service company created by all the core developers of JBoss," he said. "It's not a third-party entity like Red Hat. We are offering services on a product that we built."

For more information on JBoss Group and its product, visit http://www.jboss.org/.

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About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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