One of the fundamental questions that Red Hats acquisition of JBoss raises is what impact that deal might have on existing agreements between JBoss and companies like Microsoft and Novell.
For its part, Microsoft is saying there will be no change to its existing technical collaboration agreement with JBoss, but Red Hat is hedging its bets and not yet taking as definitive a stand.
Last September, JBoss and Microsoft announced plans to seek to broaden interoperability between the JEMS (JBoss Enterprise Middleware System) and Microsoft Windows Server.
“We can confirm that our technical collaboration with JBoss is continuing forward, and we are committed to meeting our mutual customers interoperability needs,” is all Bill Hilf, Microsofts director for platform technology strategy, would say on the matter.
“We will defer to Red Hat and JBoss for specifics on the acquisition announcement,” he told eWEEK.
But Tim Yeaton, Red Hats senior vice president of enterprise solutions, was a little less definitive, telling eWEEK that customer demand would continue to drive all existing Red Hat and JBoss partnerships.
“The reality of todays IT industry is heterogeneous environments that require plug-and-play and open infrastructure components that interoperate with both open-source and commercial products. Our goal is to provide a ubiquitous, end-to-end open source solution. Clearly, to do this, it must be multi-OS,” he said.
Microsoft used the LinuxWorld Conference in Boston the week of April 3 to announce the launch of a new Web site called Port 25 that is designed to give a birds-eye view of its internal open-source software laboratory and elicit feedback and ideas about how it can work better with the open-source community.
For its part, Novell has entered into a significant partnership with JBoss. Last August, Novell said that it was furthering its partnership with JBoss and would deliver comprehensive technical support for JEMS, which includes the JBoss Application Server, a J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition) server.
This move made Novell the first and only Linux infrastructure vendor to offer enterprise-level support for JEMS. Before this, Novell was a JBoss Authorized Service Partner. Novell also said at the time that it would bundle the JBoss Application Server as SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9s default application server.
Novell spokesman Bruce Lowry told eWEEK on April 10 that the Waltham, Mass., firm was committed to delivering a full open-standards-based infrastructure stack to its customers.
“We have partnered with and supported many proprietary and open-source alternatives for application servers, including with JBoss, where we have a contract in place,” he said.
“We plan to continue to honor that contract. Our approach in helping customers define their open enterprise is completely customer-driven. We will continue to offer and support the components of the stack that customers request,” he said.
Scott Donahue of analyst firm Tier 1 Research, a division of The 451 Group, agrees, saying he expects JBoss to remain fairly autonomous within Red Hat and to continue to work with Red Hat competitors like Novell.