Netscape – now dead and departed in most respects – is a company that played a key role in the open source revolution by opening up Mozilla in 1998. Not all of Netscape was open sourced in 1998. The Directory Server wasn’t open until fairly recently when it was acquired and open sourced by Red Hat in 2005. But what about Netscape’s webserver – their so-called Netscape Enterprise Server?
Turns out it morphed into iPlanet Web Server during the Sun/Netscape alliance era, then it was called SunONE Web Server and now its called the JES Web Server.
Now today here in 2009 that webserver is finally being open sourced (under the BSD license).
Apparently the open sourcing came as the result of Sun engineer Brian Aker who currently leads Sun’s Drizzle open source database effort.
“At some point last year I met up with a group in Menlo Park who had been working on a webserver at Sun. Low and behold it was the evolutionary grandchild of what was the Netscape Enterprise Server,” Aker blogged. “After talking to the engineers I wrote a few internal letters to see if we could push the code out as BSD so that others could learn/use/maybe even migrate if they wanted to. I am happy to say that Sun has decided to make the release happen.”
This is a good thing since I remember well being a fan of the iPlanet Web Server years ago. Sure we’ve got Apache and LightHTTPD (which is awesome), but there might well be some nuggets of wisdom that can be gleaned here.
This is also the RIGHT THING to do and we should all be thankful that Brian Aker noticed this server and asked for it to be openned up.