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JBoss Pushes Enterprising JEMS

Professional open source company JBoss kicked off its first-annual JBoss World 2005 conference in Atlanta with the launch of two programs designed to beef up enterprise support for open source software, officials announced Tuesday.

The JBoss Network and JBoss Open Source Federation build upon the Atlanta-based company's JBoss Enterprise Middleware System (JEMS) platform, a collection of open source projects supported by the company's professional open source services.

JBoss provides for-fee services to open source projects hosted at its developer site under the premise that businesses will adopt open source software as long as there is professional support available for the applications.

The Open Source Federation is bid to develop more open source projects and get them to integrate with the JEMS platform, which in turn will give companies more incentive to switch from proprietary software. JBoss provides developers with a Web site on the JBoss site to host their project, as well as support to get their project under way.

JBoss will provide infrastructure, project launch assistance and access to third-party project information for proprietary software developers who want to take their application open source; open source project developers will be able to retain their project at existing open source project sites like the Apache Software Foundation, Eclipse or SourceForge.net while they are part of the JBoss program.

The caveat is that while any open source project with an approved Open Source Initiative (OSI) license can join, it must integrate with the JEMS Platform, and project developers must be able to provide support for any customer who decides to use their software application, such as application training and documentation.

"There really won't be many guidelines; the main guideline is they need to share that professional open source vision," said Shaun Connolly, JBoss vice president of product management. "There has to be somebody behind it to provide the support, the training and all the other stuff that is expected from professional open source."

Officials said they have already signed three open source projects to the federation: JasperReports, a Java-based reporting tool currently hosted at SourceForge.net; Synch4j, a data synchronization and remote management project for mobile devices; and XWiki, a Java wiki engine.

Unisys is contributing resources for a JBoss Administration Console, a Web-based automated server management interface running within the JBoss Application Server.

While it seeks to attract more application support from developers, JBoss is also beefing up its JEMS support for customers with the release of JBoss Network, a portal that provides information on JBoss applications.

Connolly calls the console a "Windows Update on steroids," giving customers a single view into patch information and technical knowledge. The single-node console will be freely available, while multi-node support will be part of the company's professional support package, he said, and will be introduced in phases beginning in March.

Future features include a reporting tool that discovers which application version exists on a particular machine in a network and the patches available for that system, as well as support for JBoss Federation applications.

Also announced Tuesday was the production release of Hibernate 3.0. The open source, Java-based project provides a framework for mapping from Java classes to a relational database, as the two data types are incompatible.

According to officials, it's a time-saving application that frees developers from as much as 95 percent of the manual SQL coding otherwise necessary and a core component to the applications that make up the JEMS platform.

Some of the added features in the latest version include:

  • Hibernate filters, which simplify access to historical data by allowing for specific queries that are stored in a single result set.
  • Monitoring and management support to diagnose system information to isolate system performance problems.
  • More flexibility, such as the ability to map an object to multiple tables and over-ride Hibernate-generated SQL with hand-written SQL.
  • Support for Java Specification Request 220 (JSR-200), Enterprise Java Beans 3.0.
  • The Hibernate Eclipse Toolset, a full port of the Hibernate console to Eclipse.