Since the acquisition of Gluecode Software in May 2005, IBM has made several code contributions and devoted technical resources to help the Apache Geronimo community reach its goal of Java™ 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) certification, a milestone that was reached in October 2005. Now, IBM is executing on the next phase of its open source application server goal, introducing IBM WebSphere Application Server Community Edition, an application server built on Apache Geronimo technology. WAS CE unveils a new business model, providing free code for use in development, testing, and deployment. Based on the J2EE programming model, developers can evolve to the more advanced WebSphere Application Server products with minimal disruption.
developerWorks: Scott and Paul, thanks for helping us understand what today's announcement is all about. I understand this new application server in the WebSphere line is closely related to the Apache Geronimo application server. How do the two compare or differ in functionality?
Paul Buck: WebSphere Application Server Community Edition (quite a mouthful; let's just say WAS CE) is based on the Apache Geronimo M5 (milestone 5) driver, which the project delivered in October. Geronimo M5 was the first official J2EE-certified driver from the project. This IBM product redistributes the Apache Geronimo code base in an easy-to-install-and-go configuration -- along with professional documentation -- to make sure that the early developer experience is a positive one. That's where it all begins. And going forward, the IBM support team will maintain WAS CE and keep it up to date with the latest patches developers need. WAS CE is tested and supported on the IBM Java Runtime Environment, which is known to be an industrial-strength performance leader -- the same Java Virtual Machine (JVM) the other members of the WebSphere app server ship.
With IBM and a diverse open source community already backing Apache Geronimo, I don't think any other open source app server enjoys the same community investment in both engineering time and proven technology contributions. IBM is in this one to go the distance, and we know what it takes, given our track records in J2EE and open source development. I'm sure the combination of community involvement and IBM's contributions will make Apache Geronimo the leader in the open source application server space.
Scott Cosby: I like to say that WAS CE is 90% Apache Geronimo -- meaning that we are building it based on the latest driver from Apache and then adding some value that our customers expect from IBM. By adding WAS CE to the WebSphere portfolio, our customers and partners can choose the application server technology appropriate to the problem they are trying to solve. I fully expect that the Apache project will drive new innovations into Apache Geronimo at a very rapid pace over the next year or so. WAS CE will have a more measured release cycle that balances the need to get the latest feature or function with a release frequency that is more predictable and spaced.
developerWorks: What does this announcement mean to developers who are currently using Apache Geronimo and who are active in the open source Apache Geronimo community?
Paul: The WAS CE announcement sends a strong signal to the Apache Geronimo community that an ISV thinks they are doing great work, and that Geronimo is ready to take its place in the industry as a top-notch run time that supports a certified J2EE container.
Scott: Paulâs right. I encourage developers to watch our actions (not just hear the words). We believe Apache Geronimo is the most open community around any open source application server project, and as such, there is plenty of opportunity for developers to participate. Remember, in open source, code talks. We will continue to contribute technology and expertise, and we encourage other developers to get involved, help the project, and gain a "voice."
developerWorks: Does this announcement affect IBM's recent acquisition of Gluecode Software? How? And how does it compare to or differ from WebSphere Application Server itself?
Paul: The product announcement of WAS CE is actually quite a natural evolution in our acquisition of Gluecode Software. WAS CE is the follow-on product for Gluecode SE that the Gluecode company always envisioned. Now that Gluecode is part of IBM, it's part of the WebSphere family.
Scott: WAS CE is a J2EE-certified application server and, as such, shares many of the same capabilities as the rest of the WAS family. Of course, WAS CE is a different technology base -- Apache Geronimo -- but if you're building applications based on J2EE standards, there's little difference. There is significant functionality in the other WAS products (like Network Deployment and Extended Deployment) that provide greater capability and quality of service. WAS CE has unique advantages in footprint, modularity, simplicity, and ease of acquisition (a free download). Ultimately, it comes down to selecting the right solution for the problem at hand.
developerWorks: If a developer has started using the open source Apache Geronimo app server, why would he or she need or want to upgrade to buying a product?
Paul: If developers are ready to deploy or need some extra assistance to get started, moving to WAS CE makes sense. IBM's world-class support is available to ensure that their Geronimo choice is the right choice. Also, WAS CE ships with IBMâs JDK technology, which has a proven track record of performance leadership.
Scott: Keep in mind that anyone will be able to download and deploy into production either Apache Geronimo or WAS CE. Both are available free of charge. IBM offers multiple support tiers for either Apache Geronimo or WAS CE users, so it doesnât matter which distribution they choose. Often, once customers move an application from development to deployment, they start to consider the long-term support requirements for the underlying code (including the application server). IBM offers different support agreements that can be bought online.
developerWorks: Apache Geronimo is really nimble for small enterprises and can be downloaded in minutes. What about the source code for WAS CE? Is this a nimble app server appropriate for users and enterprises of all sizes?
Paul: WAS CE is ready for small deployments typically found in small enterprises as well as for departments of large enterprises. The source code for all of the open source components included in WAS CE is available.
developerWorks: So, with this announcement, it seems IBM is deepening its commitment to supporting the open source development community. Would you agree with that?
Paul: Absolutely. By offering this new open source application server, IBM is responding to a customer set that prefers the ease of availability associated with open source-based offerings. These folks want the flexibility to get going with the technology now, without having to pay up front. And if they find they need support after getting started, IBM has both tiered support offerings for Apache Geronimo as well as WAS CE -- an option to fit each customerâs situation.
Scott: The fact that IBM is launching WAS CE and the support options for both WAS CE and Apache Geronimo is a very firm statement of commitment. We'll continue to contribute technology, expertise, and experience to the Apache Geronimo project and strongly encourage others to commit to open source and the Geronimo community.
developerWorks: When can developers take WAS CE for a spin?
Paul: WAS CE will be available by the end of this year.
Editor's note: Tune in to developerWorks on November 16 at 11:00 a.m. ET for a webcast titled "Leveraging Open Source in your Application Infrastructure." Scott Cosby and Matt Hogstrum will delve into the technology behind Apache Geronimo and introduce IBM WebSphere Application Server Community Edition.
As the Gluecode Transition Executive, Scott Cosby is responsible for the successful integration of Gluecode Software into IBM and for business-line operations. Gluecode provides customer support and consulting services for both the Apache Software Foundationâs Geronimo project and for WebSphere Application Server Community Edition. Prior to this position, Scott led a team of product managers responsible for product strategy, new product creation, and managing IBMâs WebSphere MQ portfolio of products. Scott has also had responsibility for worldwide product marketing of the IBM WebSphere Business Integration portfolio. In previous roles, he helped IBM become the leader in emerging software technologies, such as Web services, XML, Linux®, and Java technology. Before joining IBM, Scott was an executive at American Management Systems where he led cross-disciplined teams in building comprehensive business and IT solutions for clients.Â Scott received his Master of Business Administration degree from Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business and a Bachelor of Science degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia.
Paul Buck is director of Gluecode Development at IBM. His team contributes to the Apache Geronimo project, an open source server platform that supports J2EE and other frameworks. Some of Paul's previous assignments include Director of Java Platform Strategy for IBM Software Group, Director IBM Eclipse Development, CEO of Object Technology International, Director of IBM's Center for Java Technology in Cupertino, and Product Manager for IBM's award-winning VisualAge® for Java IDE. Paul founded the VisualAge for Java project. His leadership helped guide the release of the Eclipse Platform and formation of the Eclipse.org open source community. Paul was IBM's representative to the Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition (J2ME) Executive Committee of the Java Community Process for three years. Paul's IBM career started in 1984 at the company's Toronto Development Laboratory. His career has been dedicated to advancing software application development and supporting the community of software developers. Paul holds both a Master of Science degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from Queen's University at Kingston, Canada.
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- Go to the Apache Software Foundation Web site, home to Geronimo and a host of other open source projects.
- Get information on the announcement of WebSphere Application Server Community Edition, as well as resources on other IBM WebSphere products and technologies, at the developerWorks WebSphere home page.
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