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JBoss: Step Up and Be Certified
JBoss: Step Up and Be Certified

Due to the restrictions imposed by the Java Community Process, there were difficulties for certain large scale open-source projects to get access to the necessary tools and testing kits to validate themselves as truly Java-compliant. One such project was the popular JBoss application server.

However with the advent of JCP2.5, these restrictions have now been lifted which allows JBoss to now certify itself as true J2EE compliant application server. Sun has only this week released the necessary legal hurdles that were preventing JBoss from moving forward.

In an exclusive interview with Rick Saletta from Sun Microsystems, Rick told JDJ that Sun was very keen to involve JBoss in the process to prevent further fragmentation of the J2EE space.

JBoss have been vocal activists against the rules imposed by the previous JCP process that disallowed them from becoming fully compliant. That restriction has now been lifted.

But will JBoss pass the tests? Many experts feel JBoss won't. There is mixed reaction from people close to the JBoss project whether or not it's a quick fix that is required, or whether or not it's a significant engineering effort.

It is important for JBoss to pass the tests and prove to the world they are the full-blown J2EE application server they have continued to claim they are. The Java industry needs no fragmentation if they hope to achieve the overall goal of J2EE to create a set of standards that everyone can follow.

Last week's Web Services Edge 2003 East conference ended with a very lively panel discussion moderated by Alan Williamson. But there was very little he could do when JBoss's Marc Fleury and BEA's Tyler Jewell got into a heated debate regarding the true cost of application servers. Sun, just that week, had announced it had freed up the restrictions surrounding JBoss becoming J2EE certified. Simon Phipps of Sun, had challenged JBoss that the time had come for JBoss to put their talk aside and prove to the J2EE community they were a team player and become certified. JBoss failed to answer the question, instead taking somewhat of a bullish stance with respect to the size of their community and how irrelevant it was anyway.

This was in amidst speculation that JBoss would not pass the certification tests without significant work. The precise details of the offer Sun made JBoss were under NDA, with Marc Fleury using that as an excuse to deflect all questions on the situation when asked. Sun spoke with JDJ confirming that the actual financial details and finer points where indeed under NDA, but this wouldn't stop either party talking about the offer and the future of Jboss becoming J2EE compliant.

Watch for coverage of the full panel discussion on MP3 on the SYS-CON Web site, coming very soon.

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

News for James McGovern:
We went to JBoss bootcamp in Atlanta and on the first day we got JBoss tshirts, and on the second day we heard about how General Electric was ditching a large number of WebLogic licenses for JBoss ones.
You can find news of the later all over the web, but as for the former, you'll have to take our word for it.

If someone criticized the US automakers a couple of decades ago for their mistakes, self-serving, self-destructive behaviors and predicted their loss of market share,
are they "anti-US automaker"? I'd say no, but you can get angry, as someone slaving away in the trenches, by the behavior of people/companies/causes you support. And one can, based on the past, offer their prediction of the direction of various trends without being happy about them - the rise of C# and .NET, the decline of java, the self-destructiveness of the lack of cooperation by Sun toward JBoss, the lack of discipline/customer responsiveness caused, in large part, by a mass influx of less trained/experienced programmers primarily in the web-based/java/javascript/HTML/VB areas.

I am an anonymous coward as they say on /. but here are some disclaimers:
I am have 15+ years IT/software experience in various areas - healthcare, banking/finance, large universities, biotech, etc.

I administer 8+ multi-CPU Sun server machines running Weblogic Enterprise, plus 30+ mid-size Sun database, web and others servers.
I "deal with" issues related to various MS IIS, MS SQL Server, Win2K and NT Servers.
I have architected and developed systems integrating Solaris, Win2K, Open Source packages, C, perl, java, Oracle, DB2, Sybase, MS SQL Server and proprietary (CRM, etc) packages.

I don't work for (and never have) MS, Sun, BEA, IBM or AOL/Netscape.
I am a strong advocate of Free Software, Open Source Software, Sun, GNU/Linux, JBoss, PHP, perl, java and other software development and engineering ideas/trends that I think many would consider independent and forward thinking - including advocating moving to from proprietary App Servers to JBoss and then further (or directly) to lightweight distributed systems "glued" together with [language and orientation neutral] messaging and things like XMLRPC - effectively creating a dispersed middle layer. I am not alone in this, but it is new thinking - most people I have spoken with are excited about these ideas.

I (same as many people) don't necessarily agree with any philosophy or fantasy put forward by any company "whose payroll I am on" at any given time.

The message above wishing the JBoss team would rather work on the code than certification really gives me the creeps. I've had an overdose of open source projects during the past 3 weeks. Every time some opensource project fills the error log with 50-60 lines per request I'm told by the opensource activists that I shouldn't worry about it. Should I also tell our clients that it's normal our app produces megs of crappy error messages?

It really leaves me wanting to see some production quality code or is it just that it's the choice of bad programmers so they can point their finger on something when something goes wrong?

Is this typical of the ravings of an anti-java evangelist? Why doesn't (s)he leave a return address? Whose payroll are they on?

Coward, you should have the courage of your convictions.

Otherwise, your viewpoint entirely looses credibility.

I totally agree. Purchase decisions are made on the basis of whether they like the sales person, whether they have a good pitch, and whether it makes themselves look good inside the organization. ;-)

I have seen F500 companies switch from one AS to another, only after their experiences have been so bad that they have to change to save face. In most cases their failure was more due to internal incompetency than anything else. But they gotta have somebody to shoot and blame, so they'll need a vendor... Apache is OK, TomCat fine for development, but if it is BIG it is more about risk management and the possibility to sue than "the best and cheapest technical solution".


- BTW: what are these "issues" with JBoss J2EE certification? Is that just corporate industry talk?

have fun with your perl and cobol. Probably hated to give up your key punch machine too

Actually, moving my apps from Weblogic to Jboss has been quite uneventful and easy. Jboss is a pleasure to use. Moving my apps painlessly tells me its plenty certified. That, and my company is encouraging the use of Jboss internally is all i need.

The question is : how do you expect an open source community to spend months (so i hear) performing the tests to get certified? personally, i'd rather them spend their time on the code. And the test suite still cost alot. SUN charges based on the user base of the product. Jboss cant afford it. sun says they gave them 'favorable' terms based on their download stats. unless we are in on that conversation, and are aware of the truth, we can only speculate and amuse ourselves with these discussions. We're not there, so we dont know!

To be free from the shackles of licensing agreements, operating systems, per processor fees, client access fees etc.
I am tempted by proven technology aka "JBoss" it works - so should you.

The whole point of certification is ensuring that you can freely move from one application server to another, i.e. BEA to JBoss. Actually being certified doesn't necessarily make this any easier, but it certainly wouldn't hurt. And it doesn't certification doesn't mean anything in terms of performance. It mainly helps second tier players, as well as provide valuable marketing for the Java industry. JBoss should get themselves certified.

Instead of a huge, slow, bloated J2EE, there are java based app servers that are nimble, fast, highly productive, and have rich heritages. WebObjects is one, for example. Originally from NeXT, the ORIGINAL appserver, WebObjects gives a great productivity BOOST to organizations using it. (No, I don't work for Apple, the current owners of WebObjects).

Sooner or later both IBM and BEA will be forced to give away their application servers for very little money in order to stay in the game. The real market is determined by Fortune 500 corporations who care about support contracts and those lovely t-shirts the vendors give away, this will always keep JBoss at a disadvantage.

While VERY few of my customers want to bail from MS-based solutions, there ARE a few who have expressed an interest in JBOSS. None have expressed an interest to jump from BEA or IBM to JBOSS.

Getting this certification will "seal the deal" for my company and companies wishing to go down this path.

While I've been more than hesitant to have them switch to Apache (hits "the wall" around 50 sessions in versions we've tested) I'd be VERY interested in JBOSS (if certified).

As for my MS customers, their strategy has been that it really does matter in regards to JBOSS or code openness. (The Intel strategy is scalable and more cost beneficial than proprietary UNIX solutions for them.) The latest Win 2003 Web Server pricing (@ $400) reaffirms their desires to move quicker to .NET.

As for me, we service both J2EE and .NET (I'm bipolar and after 26 yrs in this biz, management to always stay out of the religious vendor wars.)

I think this is great thing.

The horse is already out of the barn. When history looks back, Java and Java programmers [and the worst offenders of all, so called Java Architects - how many times can the same n-tier diagram be drawn on a white board?] will be seen as the bloated, egotistical, self-serving, greedy regime that presided over the technical side of internet bubble. Never have I seen lower overall productivity, higher cost, more ego, less interest in customer needs than the web/app-server/java based crap put out as alleged systems over the past several years. Thank god there are still mainframes, AS/400's, non-object databases, perl and C around to do actual work. If the construction industry mimicked the java industry, we would have houses with walls of stacked up 4x8 sheets of plywood [because its faster than framing and cost doesn't matter], 4 foot high ceilings [because its a "pattern" from a book] and all the windows on just one side [because that's how we do things].

What does java have going for it now other than overly complex APIs [as discussed previously on JDJ], slowing momentum and a large base of unemployed programmers? It doesn't have the underdog elegance of the Mac or Smalltalk, the quirkiness and raw productive power of perl, the plodding heavy-lifting power of COBOL/RPG/VSAM, the cold, calculating, commercial targeting of C#. It seems poised to fade into the undifferentiated ranks of programming languages, perhaps becoming this generation's pascal.

Ironically, Sun seems to be disparaging one of the few groups attempting to raise the bar of quality/responsiveness and evangelize the java/app-server religion.

Don't get me wrong, I am the strongest voice at my company for swing/JNLP technology, but I see that the war is probably lost; Due, at least in part, to exactly this type of in-fighting and wasted effort. What if instead, Sun helped JBoss maybe did other things like help the database companies (Oracle, IBM, Sybase, mySQL, maybe even MS) create top quality, free JDBC type-4 drivers? The reality is that the corporate and personal egos involved, the lack of a unified, powerful marketing campaigns and lack of responsiveness to reams of significant productivity and performance reducing bugs will continue to degrade java's ability to retain market and mind share.

Non-bloated distributed systems, message oriented middleware, language and "orientation" neutral, loosely-coupled grid and cluster system will be the future --- along with things like dotGNU and Mono that will fight the good fight of preventing a complete .NET monopoly by MS.

For the first-class passengers (SUN, BEA, java programmers, etc) on the "unsinkable" sinking ship of java, I suggest they schedule a slot for appearance on the Dr. Phil show so that he can smack a reality check on them. Then maybe, they will stop acting like ants fighting over a cookie crumb while the shadow of the shoe of .NET/C# looms over them ready to come down and end the fight.

There seems to be a clash of egos between Sun and the JBoss Group LLC over J2EE certification for the JBoss Open Source app server.

Let this minor issue not cloud Sun's strategic thinking regarding the future of J2EE. As a developer for a large multinational systems integrator whose clients are large banks, telcos and energy companies, I can report that although J2EE is the preferred corporate architecture standard for all these companies, Microsoft's .NET is increasingly being used as a "tactical solution" for less mission-critical projects.

The reason: .NET is perceived by decision-makers in these companies as entailing lower cost and higher productivity than J2EE.

Clearly, there has either been a failure of communication between Sun and its customers, or these customers are really right, and .NET really does provide these benefits that J2EE fails to.

But J2EE is not necessarily a higher-cost or lower-productivity solution than .NET.

The Open Source Java community has been independently addressing the productivity argument, not through Studios and integrated IDEs (which are vendor-specific and non-portable) but through excellent cross-platform tools such as Ant and xDoclet.

The xPetstore application is standing proof of Ant/xDoclet productivity (2000 lines of code versus Microsoft's 4500 lines for the .NET implementation and Sun's own 14,000 lines for the original Petstore demo).

The Open Source Java community has (through the JBoss Group and friends) also produced the JBoss application server which addresses the cost apprehensions of Sun's J2EE customers.

If Sun gives its official blessing to the Open Source Java's community's initiatives with regard to productivity and cost, it will be the ultimate beneficiary by preventing defections to .NET.

On the other hand, if Sun insists on a short-sighted war of words with the JBoss Group, it may end up with a Pyrrhic victory by proving that JBoss was not worthy of certification after all, and then presiding over the remains of a once-great J2EE market while Microsoft laughs all the way to the proverbial bank.

Sun should put aside its corporate ego and actively help get JBoss certified, contributing effort and code to the Open Source app server.

Then they must bundle JBoss, Ant, XDoclet and NetBeans together with all their server hardware.

They must provide support for this bundle, either by themselves or in partnership with the JBoss group and the Apache Software Foundation.

They must spend the marketing dollars required to sway corporate decision-makers to this low-cost, high-productivity way of building Enterprise applications. By way of comparison, Microsoft's marketing budget for .NET is reportedly $200 million.

If they wake up in time and do this, it may still be a J2EE world. If they blow it, as they give every indication of doing, then Java developers would do well to start learning C# and .NET, because that is going to be the future.

Ganesh Prasad
Independent Developer
Sun Certified Programmer for Java 2
Sun Certified Web Component Developer for J2EE

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