Open-Source Geronimo Takes on WebLogic, WebSphere

Apache Software Foundation developers working on the open-source Java application server say they want its performance to be strong enough to match its top rivals.

LAS VEGAS–Developers working on Geronimo say they want to make the Apache Software Foundations Java application server a reliable open-source rival to BEA Systems Inc.s WebLogic or IBMs WebSphere services.

"We are trying to build a production class J2EE [Java 2 Enterprise Edition] server" that will make people comfortable with the concept of using an open-source application server in corporate data centers, said Alan Cabrera, a New York-based software development executive who is helping to develop Geronimos security features.

"Our intention is that its going to be the same caliber as WebLogic and WebSphere," which are both widely used application servers in the corporate world, Cabrera said.

The Geronimo team wants to produce an application server that is strong enough to encourage developers to use it as a production platform, rather than just as a lower-cost platform for prototyping and testing, Cabrera said.

Attendees at the ApacheCon U.S. 2004 conference here this week were told that Geronimo has reached some major milestones toward release as a production application server.

Geronimo is currently under review by Sun Microsystems Inc. Java experts for J2EE TCK (Technical Compatibility Kit) certification, Cabrera said. Certification would allow Geronimo to be an open-source J2EE implementation under the standard Berkeley Software Distribution license, he noted. But he would not estimate how soon Geronimo would receive certification.

The availability of a new open-source application server will likely be welcomed by the market because no other BSD-licensed J2EE application server is available.

Geronimo was built with a compact kernel of only about 32 Kbytes of code for fast performance. The application server is also highly modular, so developers dont have to shut down and restart the server kernel every time they load a component or test an application, Cabrera said. This factor makes Geronimo very stable and productive for developers and for data center managers, he noted.

The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), which is coordinating Geronimos development, is confident that a lingering dispute with JBoss Inc. over IP (intellectual property) rights wont derail the release of a certified version of Geronimo, said Geir Magnusson Jr., a member of the foundations board of directors.

In October 2003, JBoss sent a letter to ASF claiming that Geronimo violated JBoss IP rights because it contained code from JBoss application server.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read about Hewlett-Packard Co.s decision to work with JBoss on application server support.

Nearly a year later, ASF has replied, saying that its own research showed that the code in question had been written by Apaches own developer community and thus that no IP rights violations exist.

Next Page: When will Geronimo be certified?

John Pallatto

John Pallatto

John Pallatto has been editor in chief of QuinStreet Inc.'s since October 2012. He has more than 40 years of experience as a professional journalist working at a daily newspaper and...