Who says there’s no money in open source? Not JBoss Group, maker of one of
the world’s leading J2EE-based application servers, which Tuesday unveiled
its first annual distribution of company profit sharing and economic
JBoss Server, which boasts more than 150,000 downloads per month, is free
and many companies are beginning to embed the application server in their
products. JBoss Group subsidizes the development of the application server
with commercial activities which include training, support, consulting and
documentation, and management of the JBoss software affiliates program.
JBoss said those commercial activities have allowed it to offer economic
interest options to 37 developers, and even cash bonuses to many of them.
The options and bonuses were based on contributions to the JBoss
application server in 2002 and earlier.
“The Compensation Plan is our way of rewarding the open source JBoss
developers, whether or not they work for JBoss Group, giving them a stake
in the company’s future, as well as offering them cash awards based on
annual profit-sharing,” said Marc Fleury, president of JBoss Group and
founding developer of the JBoss application server.
The company said thousands of developers have contributed patches and bug
fixes to JBoss, and 82 developers currently have a read-write password to
JBoss, allowing them to contribute directly to the codebase. Of that
number, an average of 10 core developers work full-time for JBoss at any
“Working with JBoss is a unique opportunity to develop the cutting-edge
infrastructure that most programmers only dream about,” said Bill Burke,
chief architect of JBoss 4.0 and formerly a member of the Iona Orbix2000
development team at IONA. “There are no amateurs here. The compensation
plan is part of the services equation that makes it financially rewarding
to work full-time in open source.”
JBoss 4.0 is scheduled for release early this summer.
The company said developers like Francisco Reverbel, professor of computer
science at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, represents another driving
force in the development of JBoss: the academic research community.
Reverbel, who is in charge of the Common Object Request Broker Architecture
(CORBA) implementation for JBoss, recently co-authored a paper on JBoss
with Fleury which was accepted at the ACM/IFIP/USENIX International
Middleware Conference 2003 in Rio de Janeiro. The two will present
their paper at the conference from June 16-20.
“JBoss is a really good example of how open source can marry leading-edge
academic research with the practical needs of the professional software
community,” Reverbel said. “The compensation plan is one way JBoss Group
ties together a geographically and professionally diverse JBoss contributor
base and rewards their association with the project on an ongoing basis.”