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Red Hat throws new app server in the ring

SAN FRANCISCO -- Red Hat on Tuesday announced the availability of its first J2EE application server. Announced at the LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco, the open-source Red Hat Application Server (RHAS) is designed to be a low-cost alternative to offerings such as IBM’s WebSphere, company officials said.

RHAS represents Red Hat’s first foray into the application server market. The Raleigh, N.C.-based Linux distro had worked with other vendors to integrate their app server software with Linux, but a Red Hat app server offering had been anticipated since late last year.

The move comes as the JBoss open-source Java server has gained increasing acceptance. Red Hat chose to forgo use of the popular JBoss server in favor of an implementation based around the JOnAS app server. JOnAS was created by the ObjectWeb consortium founded in 2002 by Bull, France Telecom and INRIA. Red Hat said that it is working to ensure full interoperability between RHAS and app servers from IBM, BEA and Oracle.

“The open-source Web and Java communities are flourishing and expanding with organizations such as Apache, ObjectWeb and Eclipse driving the innovation,” said Paul Cormier, executive vice president of engineering at Red Hat. “The application server was a natural next step for open source.”

Meanwhile, Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik kicked off the LinuxWorld show with a conference keynote and a suggestion that the use of patents and copyrights in the United States to restrict the disclosure of computer source code could hobble the country as the world moves toward open source.

“We’re seeing a sense of resentment build around the world [toward the U.S.],” he said. The United States is increasingly seen as “the organization with the really deep pockets, the organization that’s always winning.’’

Moreover, he asserted, world governments’ endorsement of Linux is not mirrored in the U.S., at least at the local level. “Why is it that I can meet with the president of India, who spent an hour with me talking about how he was going to use open-source software ... to move his educational system to the 21st century, and yet I struggle in my own town just to get an appointment with the local school committee to introduce them to this thing called Linux?” asked Szulik.

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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