By eweek  |  Posted 2006-12-01 Print this article Print

Is the JBossian spirit still alive, or has it diminished at all? I think were in a transitional phase. Were in a transition phase where as part of Red Hat, Red Hat needs to do a transition from a Linux company to a bigger open-source company. Within Red Hat one of the things that I find very JBossian is their level of passion. In some cases theyre in fact too religious. And a JBossian had to be pragmatic about what he was doing. We dont have time for dogmatism.
So the level of passion is definitely there. One of the things that needs to evolve at Red Hat is this combative, no-prisoners-taken competition spirit. Theres been a context change. Red Hat is no longer this cuddly penguin that all the partners love. Now were public enemy No. 1. And that has to percolate through the ranks. And the [defiant] attitude that always characterized the JBossians—because we were born with a gun to our head and [that] triggers an attitude that makes you a little bit more realistic. You know the competitions there and you go about your work. Theres a little bit of hurt romanticism within Red Hat, where they say, "No, no, our partners still love us." Yes, they do, but theyre going to try and kill you as well. And thats the name of the game at this level. Its called "coopetition." Thats nothing new, but its new for us.
So hopefully were a viral agent within the bigger Red Hat spirit where we give them that ability to tell partners we love them but that were going to compete. The announcement JBoss made to work with Bull and thus ObjectWeb is a conciliatory move in many respects. Could you see a similar kind of thing happening with the Spring community? I would hope so. For as long as I can remember weve been trying to reach out to the Spring folks in terms of coming to JBoss. If you want to do professional open source, this is the place to do it. And that group has been very vocal in its criticism of JBoss, probably due to history more than anything. Because their legacy has been that EJB [Enterprise JavaBeans] is bad. But now that EJB has completely co-opted some notions of dependency injection and POJO programming, they unfortunately feel threatened that their raison d être is in jeopardy. But they pioneered the mass acceptance of POJO programming and I always thought JBoss would be a great professional home for these folks. So the door is not closed here. And weve seen the JOnAS [ObjectWebs Java Open Application Server] crowd with Bull say theyll support JBoss, and in turn well collaborate on some ObjectWeb projects. But make no mistake: It was really Jean-Pierre Barberis, the business leader of Bull, who said it makes no sense for us to be fighting from a business standpoint. And the technical discussions were heated at first, but now that the deal is done the attitudes have changed completely. So getting over our technical egos, on both sides, is something difficult, but Bull is coming and were making room for them. Were going to evolve our governance and were ready to do that, but it was the business side that led that. Im afraid that in the case with Spring that theres not as much of a business tie-in that would lead the rest. But we are very open and I want them to know that. Next Page: A kinder and gentler JBoss?


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