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Red Hat Expands JBoss Developer Push

Red Hat is expanding its JBoss middleware efforts with new initiatives that make it easier to acquire and develop with its open source applications technologies. The open source vendor is also acquiring data-management and integration software vendor MetaMatrix for an undisclosed sum.

Red Hat is aiming to take a bigger chunk of the multi-billion-dollar middleware application space by making a play to move legacy applications to an open source infrastructure.

"It's a pretty big step forward," Tim Yeaton, senior vice president of enterprise solutions at Red Hat, said on a conference call announcing the initiative. "Particularly in the middleware with the addition of MetaMatrix and our more refined more simplified subscription model that will expand and accelerate the adoption of various middleware technologies more broadly."

Yeaton declined to provide financial details of the MetaMatrix transaction, though he did note that the deal is expected to close in the next 60 days, with MetaMatrix personnel moving to Red Hat.

Yeaton explained that there are problems today with data-intensive apps like Business Intelligence and any app that is trying to construct a single view of a customer or transaction. "MetaMatrix addresses those issues with a federated data-service layer that abstracts apps from the data sources and makes the data available as a service."

The plan, according to Yeaton, is to open source the MetaMatrix technology as quickly as it is feasible to do so.

Red Hat also unveiled a major change in the way people can actually acquire JBoss technologies. To date users have had to take an a la carte approach to getting a full JBoss stack. Going forward there will be the JBoss.org community site, which will allow developers to get the leading edge of JBoss technologies.

There will also be a certified JBoss Enterprise Platform distribution that will include all the core JBoss middleware application technologies.

The general idea is similar to what Red Hat does with its Fedora Linux community distribution. The JBoss.org community will be a place where more rapid innovation and releases can occur.

Shaun Connolly, vice president of product management for the JBoss division at Red Hat, explained on the conference call that Red Hat has also refocused its JBoss.org portal to give it more community appeal. Part of that appeal according to Connolly is to highlight JBoss's interactions with other open source communities including Apache, Sun's Glassfish and others.

"Later in the year we'll be rolling out a platform for SOA integration and business-process integration that will integrate new technology," Connolly said. Part of that integration effort will include an ESB (Enterprise Service Bus) project that the JBoss.org community is working on.

Red Hat is also rolling out a new developer support program that Connolly described as an effort to appeal as early as possible to developers.

Red Hat Developer Support Subscriptions offer Red Hat's expertise and backing for software developers to help get SOA, Java and Linux development projects into production.

In early March, Red Hat acquired a trio of AJAX projects from tools vendor Exadel. The company plans on rolling them into the JBoss ecosystem. One of those products is set to be re-launched in early summer as Red Hat Developer Studio. The Studio is expected to become a part of a Red Hat Developer program.

Red Hat acquired JBoss just over a year ago for $350 million.