SpringSource Moves dm Server to Eclipse

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2010-01-12

SpringSource Moves dm Server to Eclipse

VMware's SpringSource division has announced the contribution of its dm Server technology to the Eclipse Foundation to form Project Virgo, an initiative to deliver a module-based Java application server.

The announcement comes at the 2.0 release of the dm Server, which "represents a major milestone for the project and for enterprise application development with OSGi [Open Services Gateway initiative] in general," SpringSource CTO Adrian Colyer wrote in a Jan. 12 blog post about the move. "I'm delighted to now be able to reveal the next step in the dm Server journey: We have submitted a proposal at Eclipse.org to continue development of the dm Server as part of the Eclipse RT top-level project."

Colyer said moving the dm Server effort to Eclipse.org "has a number of practical implications for users of dm Server:

- Project hosting, home pages, forums, and downloads will all be moved to Eclipse.org infrastructure

- The license will change from the current (largely) GPL license, to the Eclipse Public License (EPL)

- It will be much easier for other organizations and community members to get involved in the ongoing development of Virgo"

Moreover, "The combination of the license change and community hosting at Eclipse.org opens the code base to a much broader set of users and developers," Colyer said. And the next release of dm Server, Version 2.1, "will be developed and released from Eclipse.org."

"The growth of run-time technologies at Eclipse has been gathering momentum over the past two years," Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, told eWEEK. "With this latest contribution by SpringSource it has hit critical mass. It is exciting to see the vision of a modular Java run-time take shape within EclipseRT."

The dm Server technology "has been in full-time development for over two years" at SpringSource, Colyer said. However, SpringSource "set out with a vision to make modular application development a reality for enterprise developers."

More on dm Server and Javas Future


Colyer continued:

"The dm Server today provides a state-of-the-art server platform for modular enterprise application development based on OSGi and the Spring Dynamic Modules (now standardized as the OSGi Blueprint Service) programming model. Enterprise OSGi, and the dm Server, have made huge advances. And yet it is fair to say that adoption of OSGi for enterprise application development does not come without a cost. Like many new technologies, an initial investment has to be made that will pay back over time. ...

"There is a great deal of interest and innovation around enterprise OSGi and the dm Server. This interest is strongest amongst early adopters, and projects with requirements that match closely to the dynamically modular nature of the OSGi Service Platform.

For a mainstream development team, though, who just want to build an enterprise application as quickly as possible, and with as little hassle as possible, the costs currently associated with adopting enterprise OSGi can outweigh the short-term benefits.

This situation needs to be addressed before enterprise OSGi can become the de facto approach for mainstream enterprise application development. Please note that I'm talking about enterprise application development here; if you're writing infrastructure software and need to create a 'stackless stack' (Kirk [Knoernschild], James Governor) then OSGi is already the de facto approach, and fully supported by the dm Server and the associated dm kernel sub-project."

Moreover, in a Jan. 12 blog post, Milinkovich said:

"The future of Java technology in the enterprise rests with its rapidly evolving ability to regain its original promise of lightweight, flexible and dynamic application development and deployment. In other words, the faster Java gets to the stackless stack, the brighter its future will be."

In addition, Milinkovich noted, "SpringSource has long been one of the most visible and vocal leaders of lightweight, componentized Java run-times."

In his post, Colyer said SpringSource knows the value of open-source development and community building, as the company was founded on the open-source Spring Framework.

"We know because it is a path we have successfully taken many times," Colyer said. "In creating the Virgo project at Eclipse.org, we seek to accelerate the journey of the dm Server and of enterprise OSGi along this path."

Taking the project to Eclipse was the right move, and the technology is a good fit, he added.

"The dm Server builds on, and tightly integrates with, Eclipse Equinox-the reference implementation of the OSGi Service Platform," Colyer said. "In addition, the recently proposed Gemini project at Eclipse.org will host reference implementations of many of the key enterprise OSGi specifications supported by Virgo-including the SpringSource-led Gemini Web Container and Gemini Blueprint Service projects. The dm Server development tools are also all Eclipse-based. As an Eclipse RT project, Virgo will benefit from close collaboration with the OSGi community at Eclipse.org, the ability for multiple parties to contribute to its ongoing development and feedback from the Eclipse user base to help shape future direction." 

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