Sleeping with the fishes?

Oracle evangelist: “GlassFish Open Source Edition is not dead”

Following the fallout from Oracle’s decision to kill off the commercial version of GlassFish, Oracle evangelist Bruno Borges has hit back, insisting that GlassFish is very much still in good health.

On Monday, Oracle quietly announced the decision to end support for the commercial branch of GlassFish (known as Oracle GlassFish Server). Prominent Java EE blogger Markus Eisle quickly picked up on the news and didn’t mince his words. In a blog post titled “R.I.P. GlassFish - Thanks for all the fish”, he said the application server was being “deprecated from a full blown product to a toy product”. Judging by the reaction on Twitter, many commentators appear to agree.

However, Borges, cross-posting to both his personal and Oracle-hosted blogs, had a different spin on the news. GlassFish’s commercial twin might be gone, he said, but the open source edition is far from dead. In fact, he argued, this might be a positive thing for GlassFish, allowing it to be “free from any ties with commercial decisions”.

He also set out the combat other “FUD”, such as confusion over the price of WebLogic – the closed-source server Oracle is pushing current GlassFish customers towards – and emphasised that support will continue for old builds of Oracle GlassFish Server.

Many have suggested that GlassFish’s natural successor is JBoss WildFly, the open-source foundations for JBoss EAP – including ex-Oracle evangelist Arun Gupta. Gupta, who evangelised GlassFish before moving to Red Hat last month, told JAXenter that WildFly “definitely emerges as the leader in this space”.

In response to such claims, Borges pointed out that Red Hat does not provide commercial support for WildFly – only JBoss EAP, which will not share identical builds. It’s a similar case with IBM and WebSphere, he said: Oracle is far from alone in its policies.

Tomitribe steps up

In fact, only one open-source application server now has direct commercial support: Apache TomEE, courtesy of Tomitribe. The young company, recently founded by David Blevins, took the opportunity to reiterate its commitment to open source in a blog post of its own.

However, Blevins – who appears to be the author of the unsigned post – said selfish companies using GlassFish were as much to blame for the move as Oracle themselves.

“If you are a GlassFish user, how would you compare Oracle’s contribution to GlassFish to your own contribution to GlassFish?” he wrote. “For as much as we throw money around in our companies, it’s shocking we do not think to direct some of it at the communities of Open Source software we use.”

Tomitribe was launched at JavaOne this year with the explicit purpose of supporting the TomEE community and its contributors. Its strategy is to provide paid consulting, training and support services in order to fund TomEE’s development – and, presumably, build a profitable business too.

This need for a commercial base to open source software was echoed by Blevins in yesterday’s blog post. He concluded: “Not even IBM or Oracle can pick up the bill for Open Source forever. All Open Source communities need your support.”

Photo by Darren Kirby.

Elliot Bentley

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