JBoss Joins Java Community Process

Move comes despite JBoss' ongoing battle with Sun Microsystems over the licensing of Java 2 Enterprise Edition.

Despite an ongoing battle over the licensing of the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) with Sun Microsystems Inc., JBoss Group LLC has joined the Java Community Process (JCP), the organization that oversees all issues relating to the Java platform, including J2EE.

Marc Fleury, president of JBoss, told eWEEK that his Atlanta-based company, which provides services around the open-source JBoss Java application server, has joined the JCP to help take the Java standard forward.

Yet, Fleury remains resolute on his stance that the JBoss Group should not have to pay to license J2EE, specifically the Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) to test for compatibility, because the company works with open-source technology.

Sun officials have said the TCKs can cost upward of tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. For instance, the TCK for the Java Advanced Imaging API costs $25,000.

Sun offers a scholarship program for open-source and academic initiatives through a partnership with the Apache Software Foundation. Fleury said JBoss should be eligible for such a scholarship because of its open-source base.

Asked whether he thought joining the JCP might help in his companys effort to license J2EE, Fleury said: "It may, but indirectly. The JCP is to write the specs. So we would help there. TCK is to prove compliance with a binary test, and you must pay to get that test—at least we do."

Yet, Fleury said JBoss would contribute to the JCP process, even more than it already does. "The cache, persistence, JMX [Java Management Extensions], management are all specs where we already participate," he said. "J2EE is our domain. New JSRs [Java Specification Requests] we would work on would be around the AOP [aspect-oriented programming] framework."

Joining the JCP also involves a fee, but only $5,000. Fleury said JBoss looks forward to working with the standards group.

"We are willing to play by the rules," Fleury said. "As you know we agreed to all the terms from Sun for the TCK license."

On the eve of Suns SunNetwork conference which ran in San Francisco this week, Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president of Suns software group, told eWEEK: "Ill give you a pretty clear view, at least from my perspective on how we manage Java and the open source world. There are some duplicitous companies that like to compare and equate open source with not-for-profit. And I assure you we will deliver all of our technology licenses, all of them, free of charge to not-for-profit organizations at infinite scale. However, if a not-for-profit delivers its products to a for-profit company that then turns around and sells those products to another company that is not a not-for-profit. That is a for-profit company and they muct pay for a Java license. So JBoss.org as a not-for-profit, if it in fact delivers products to customers free of charge, should not pay for the license. JBoss.com, the company that in fact is commercializing that product, if it receives delivery from JBoss.org and then turns around and delivers that product for fee to customers they will pay for that privilege."

Schwartz added: "And those companies that are conflating the two (open source and not-for-profit), and saying not-for-profit and open source are the same thing are kidding themselves," Schwartz said.

Said Fleury: "SUN needs to be consistent, they are not. Either all open source implementations pay or they are all offered the same scholarship. All companies involved here, whether hiding behind non-profit or not are making profits off of open source, JBoss Group, Sun, IBM, BULL, Red Hat included. Their definition of the scholarship program is patently absurd and they need to recognize that. What is so difficult about saying, we screwed up and we will redo it? The scholarship is a hypocritical farce at this point. The way I read it is that SUN gives scholarships to their friends and penalizes JBoss."

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