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Open Source J2EE 1.4 gets Sun green light

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The first open source implementation of the latest specification for enterprise Java is expected in JBoss Group LLC's increasingly popular open source application server next year, Gavin Clarke writes.

The latest version of JBoss' eponymous application server follows changes to a Sun Microsystems Inc-backed body that regulates Java's development, which are designed to loosen regulation of licensing of Java by members of the open source community.

Marc Fleury, Atlanta-based JBoss' founder, told ComputerWire yesterday the company has finished its implementation of Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) version 1.4. J2EE 1.4 is due for official publication by the Java Community Process (JCP) in the first quarter of 2003.

Fleury said JBoss would now seek standards certification for its implementation. JBoss stands to become the first open source group to deliver a version of J2EE 1.4 under the revised JCP.

JBoss received the green light last week, after Sun told ComputerWire that it would allow all of the APIs contained in J2EE 1.4 to be open sourced. Fleury had expressed concern that certain critical APIs, including Enterprise Java Beans (EJB) 2.1, would be not be made available to open source organizations.

However, Java Community Process director Onno Kluyt said: "Sun's plan with 1.4 is that although it started before JCP 2.5, by the time it ships it will allow the creation of independent implementations. I don't think the APIs are that interesting, because the license that sits on top of J2EE will allow that [independent implementations]".

JBoss will not be a complete implementation of J2EE 1.4, though. Fleury said APIs for XML-based Web services were excluded because of a lack of demand. The APIs will be included should that change, he said.

JBoss is rapidly gaining a reputation among business users. Customers of previous versions of the J2EE and middleware-based application server include fast foot giant McDonalds, who uses the application server in some point of sale terminals, and the US Department of State which resells JBoss as part of an application to former Soviet states tracking weapons.

Fleury said JBoss' appeal is its low cost and modular architecture. The application server can scale to around 300 CPUs for relatively little cost, because the source code is open source. JBoss' modular architecture means customers can also choose the features they want, instead of installing a full J2EE application server on devices with limited processing and memory capability.

The organization claims 2 million copies of its reference implementation have been downloaded this year, compared to a total of 2 million for Santa Clara, California-based Sun's own J2EE reference implementation.

© ComputerWire


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