Fleury: JBoss Model Is Here to Stay

Q&A: Marc Fleury, CEO of JBoss Inc., talks about how he sees startup companies like his competing with entrenched vendors such as IBM.

Marc Fleury, CEO of JBoss Inc., said open source is a force to be reckoned with and that his companys version of "professional open source" will be one of the prominent forms of software development as the industry shakes out. Fleury sat down with eWEEK senior editor Darryl K. Taft to talk about how he sees startup companies like his competing with entrenched vendors like IBM, which acquired Gluecode Software, a JBoss competitor, last May.

eWEEK: You guys were like the poster child for an open-source company that graduated to a point where you were pretty successful and you were starting to be targeted by the big guys. Id like to know, whats the end game for you?

Fleury: I think a lot of them have reacted. IBM has reacted. I think Sun has reacted by open-sourcing their app server, and weve seen that all of them, including BEA, have denied that we exist, but theyre reacting. And so Im thinking, is professional open source something that can only live in a company like ours or is IBM doing professional open source in a way, or is Sun doing professional open source? And I think this is a case where this company, when open source graduates from the state where everybody loves open source to the point where its a force in the market, they dont like it as much. And were going through that maturation in the industry. And were fine. Were still in inertia. I didnt think it was going to come that fast and that brutal—everybody going open source and trying to copy our model. I know that copying is the sincerest form of flattery, but its kind of early.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about open source becoming a key player in the business models of companies such as JBoss and IBM.

Right, but were you always looking to get to this point? Were you hoping to be a mini-IBM?

Well, theres definitely ambition in the company regarding the end game. We believe the end game is definitely an equilibrium point if you know the model, which is you will have your hobbyist open source, which is still a very big part of open source. You will have your professional open source like MySQL, and were going to be the force because were a funded version of open source, and an extremely motivated version of open source.

And then youre going to have the IBMs and Suns where its the large companies trying to absorb the crash landing that is going on in terms of things getting commoditized. And they think they can do it on their timeline or that theyll have a story when that occurs. We in that ecosystem are very much a pure player with a single vision, which is that professional open source is a standalone, viable category. And were going to continue making money and its very powerful.

We have about 150 employees today, and we continue to grow. This model is a model thats here to stay. I like to talk about the next 10 years of Java, but in the first 10 of Java weve some players move, were one of those players in the Java camp. And now its about the next 10 years and what were going to do to continue growing.

The timeline has been accelerated a little bit by the vendors. I feel a lot of confusion in the vendors right now.

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