ObjectWeb is a consortium of open source developers founded in 2002 by France Telecom, Bull and INRIA. The organisation mentors a set of open source projects developed and distributed under the GNU Lesser General Public Licence.
Why do we need an organisation like ObjectWeb?
For open source to gain adoption, it requires support. You can't expect a large corporation to implement mission-critical products such as an operating system, application server or integration services without a reliable source of support documentation such as you expect from a commercial organisation.
Chief information officers are not really prepared to say: 'We've got a billion dollars per day going through our servers and it's an open source application server.' That requires some level of commercialisation around the support area, in training and documentation.
But it's difficult to expect companies to give away these things for free, so you expect some kind of commercialisation of open source. Most open source companies will not be able to survive with their current business models.
Red Hat does not run open source projects, that's what ObjectWeb does. We rely on other people to commercialise it and ship it, and make it available to enterprises.
So we need a more reliable source for the code, more than just an anonymous group of open source developers, and ObjectWeb is that source?
When we first announced Red Hat's adoption of JOnAS over a year ago, the number of hits on the website went up exponentially. That can't just be because it's a cool news item; to say that Red Hat is getting interested in JonAS. I think it's more significant than that.
In August Red Hat unveiled an application server based on ObjectWeb's JOnAS code. What's next?
The next really big thing is that we expect J2 Enterprise Edition [J2EE] certification in October. That is really important for us. The core application server for the Red Hat application server is JOnAS, so that means that by October Red Hat Application Server will be J2EE certified.
This will intensify competition for JBoss, because at the moment they are the only open source J2EE application server that is certified by Sun Microsystems.
As the application server continues to be commoditised, we will partner with more large commercial software organisations, even commercial J2EE application servers such as Weblogic and Websphere. All of the major application server vendors are on the target list of deals that we want to strike.
But ObjectWeb does more than just JOnAS.
Red Hat just donated CCM, a content management system. They will take the lead in the project. The message that I suppose they want us to deliver is that the relationship between Red Hat and ObjectWeb is strengthening.
And Object web is going to produce an enterprise service bus [ESB], a middle tier with integration capabilities to back-end systems. ESB promises to solve substantial problems around integration and middleware.
The kick-off meeting is 4 October. Some major ISVs are going to join us. These are not just software vendors. Hardware vendors, a very large systems integrator and two or three Fortune 100 companies are getting involved in this initiative.
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