JBoss Joins Eclipse, Releases Application Server 4.0

Open-source firm JBoss made two high-profile announcements today, unveiling the release of Application Server 4.0 and detailing an alliance with the Eclipse Foundation.

Both announcements indicate that the company is expanding its open-source presence, as well as becoming more of a contributor to the open-source community.

JBoss’ Application Server 4.0, which is middleware that was recently certified for J2EE, is poised for enterprise production deployment, the company noted.

While it promotes that product, JBoss also will be concentrating on its efforts with the Eclipse Foundation, a community dedicated to implementing a universal platform for tools integration.

Seeing the Eclipse

Having JBoss as a member of the Eclipse Foundation will be valuable, Mike Milinkovich, the foundation’s executive director, told LinuxInsider. Eclipse’s platform has been adopted by commercial vendors, academic institutions and open-technology developers, and allows for software modeling and testing as well as tools integration.

By working together, JBoss and the foundation will work toward developing more complete and tightly integrated open-source tools and middleware products, according to the company.

“Having JBoss join us is important, because it further endorses Eclipse’s tool integration platform for doing J2EE development,” Milinkovich said. “JBoss will be contributing by putting resources into our projects, and that ensures a first-class deployment.”

Milinkovich added that Eclipse has been doing work with other open-source projects as well, including the Apache Foundation, and each project gives Eclipse and open source a fresh boost of resources and prominence.

He anticipates that the first major contribution to come out of the partnership is a plug-in that will provide developers with a Java-based, aspect-oriented framework that can be used in any programming environment.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do a project like the plug-in without contributions and resources from places like JBoss,” Milinkovich said. “That’s why this is really great news.”

Mutual Admiration

Ivelin Ivanov, JBoss director of product development, told LinuxInsider that the company chose the Eclipse Foundation specifically because of its interest in middle-tier initiatives.

“Eclipse is getting into the middle-tier space,” Ivanov said. “We were approached by them to discuss that and share expertise, and it grew from there.”

Ivanov noted that the partnership will help JBoss extend its offering with tools that support development. Also, it lets the company tap into a very active open-source group.

“It was the best match in terms of community, adoption and reputation,” he said, adding that the foundation also had a professional open-source methodology that matched JBoss well.

Going 4.0

JBoss also announced Application Server 4.0, which is now available under the open-source Lesser General Public License.

The company’s other versions of AS have been downloaded more than 5 million times, according to JBoss.

Version 4.0 lets middleware providers craft simplified programming models for developers without adversely affecting caching, transactions, object persistence and other areas.

JBoss has emphasized key features, like scalability, performance and a customizable footprint.

Most important, the company said, AS 4.0 is the first open-source application server to achieve J2EE 1.4 certification. In the past, JBoss noted that it would not certify its application server, citing Sun’s high licensing cost as the reason.

In the Middle

The spread of open source in the middleware arena is an important step forward, Milinkovich noted.

“Basically, it’s about freedom and choice,” he said. “People want to have the ability to implement on open source, and it’s vital to have a freely available middleware stack for that to happen.”

He added that one of Eclipse’s main goals is to provide tool integration platforms for the full breadth of the software lifecycle, and to be on as many different platforms as possible.

Middleware is a large part of that lifecycle, and JBoss’ efforts should prove valuable for expanding open source’s range, Milikovich said.

He added, “JBoss will ultimately help developers build better, easier to use middleware.”

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