IBM's been giving Geronimo a lot of attention lately. (Enough to bring me back to the blogosphere despite being in the midst of a big move from North Carolina to Texas...) Earlier this year, IBM acquired Gluecode Software, whose products are based on the Geronimo application server. In recent months, IBM developerWorks has been publishing a series of articles on Geronimo. Tuesday at the LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco, IBM announced it will begin providing support services for Apache Geronimo, and also announced it has contributed its Gluecode Management Console software to the Geronimo open-source project.
I find it particularly notable that IBM will formally and fully support customers who are using pure, open-source Geronimo, as well as those who upgrade with Gluecode. "Developers that want pure open source technology can choose Geronimo, and those that want an open source-based solution with value-added features can opt for Gluecode," said Robert LeBlanc, IBM WebSphere general manager. "Now both are backed by support services from IBM." In other words, IBM will support you even if you stop short of buying the IBM enhancements and go with the open-source option.
Why? It seems IBM recognizes this as an opportunity -- not only to attract more small and mid-sized customers, but also to make money by selling support to the many Geronimo users.
As I see it, the fact that IBM is setting up a formal support structure for Geronimo signifies two things: One, Geronimo is a big, big deal with a bright, long future. (After all, IBM does continue to operate as a for-profit corporation! When for-profit companies are effectively putting bets on key technologies and business models, I for one take notice.) And two, IBM continues to "walk the talk" -- not just talk about but take tangible steps that show significant support for open standards and open source.