JBoss Inc. Lays Groundwork for JBoss Ecosystem

JBoss Inc. launched its first annual user conference in Atlanta, March 1-2, by unveiling two initiatives designed to promote its "professional open-source" strategy and expand the JBoss ecosystem.

The newly established JBoss Network is a set of subscription services designed to streamline and expand support for the JBoss Enterprise Middleware System (JEMS). The services will be delivered through a customer portal, from which users can access technical knowledge, download patches and upgrades, and manage their applications.

The new Network gives the company a vehicle for providing customer services more proactively, says JBoss chairman and CEO Marc Fleury, and for "making software-issue resolution a more transparent process." Fleury said the Network would be the "centerpiece" of the company's future services offerings. JBoss plans to introduce Network features in phases, beginning this month, he said.

JBoss also cut the ribbon on the JBoss Open Source Federation, a professional organization focused on offering value-added services, technology infrastructure, and marketing support for open-source projects that integrate with the JEMS platform.

The JEMS platform includes the JBoss app server, the Hibernate object-relational mapping software, the Tomcat JSP and Servlet Web container, the jBPM workflow engine, the JBoss Cache caching technology, the JGroups multicast communications toolkit, and the Eclipse IDE.

The Federation will also serve as a vehicle for spreading the company's "professional open-source" philosophy and methodology.

"When the customers come to the Federation, they will find professional open-source software, meaning fully open source and free, but with people standing behind it," Fleury says. "We are saying that the professional open-source methodology is bigger than JBoss, and it's something that is changing the way the industry builds, markets, consumes, and sells software. And we want to give this ability to companies who want to embark on the same model as we do."

The Federation will comprise a fairly selective group of projects, supported by existing companies or individuals who want to build companies on the professional open-source model, Fleury says.

"It's not SourceForge, in the sense that we don't want to have 80,000 projects with no support or momentum," Fleury says. JBoss will host the Web site and community forums for the Federation, as well as mentor those embarking on professional open-source projects.

"We are trying to harness the incredible ISV creativity that's out there and encourage them to build a professional open-source ecosystem," Fleury says.

The list of Federation charter members includes Unisys, which is contributing resources for the JBoss Administration Console; Funambol, which supports an initiative to deliver a complete mobile application platform implementing the SyncML protocol; JasperReports, which supports a reporting solution for document creation and other applications; and XWiki, which has developed an engine written in Java for the wiki open-source database.

The company plans to provide access to the JBoss Network for Federation projects sometime in the future, Fleury said, eventually creating a single platform to provide customers with services and software for JEMS and related open-source applications and tools.

The open-source, Java-based JBoss application server was first released in 1999. Two years later, JBoss Group was founded to provide technical support services for the software. Marc Fleury, who wrote the first version of JBoss, founded the for-profit, Atlanta-based JBoss Inc. in 2004, to provide "resources, technology direction and core development" for the technology evolving around JBoss.

JBoss World 2005 is JBoss Inc.'s first user conference and expo. The event drew an estimated 600 attendees to the Omni/CNN Center in downtown Atlanta.