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JBoss Building New Community Site with Magnolia

Red Hat is a leading technology vendor for its Linux platform and JBoss middleware lines of business. Though it has tremendous in-house technical expertise, Red Hat is actually going to a third party vendor for the technology needed to build the Web content management system for the new JBoss.org community website.

In so doing, Red Hat is leaving its own content management efforts behind and embracing the open source Magnolia content management system. In choosing to use Magnolia, Red Hat took the same path that many open source customers do: They simply downloaded the application and tried it out for free before ever contacting the vendor.

The move to Magnolia is proof positive that not only is Red Hat an open source vendor, but they're an open source consumer as well. It could also be a harbinger of a potential new business vertical for Red Hat in the content management space.

"Our core business is really the middleware projects to do with the application server and enterprise service bus," JBoss.org leader Mark Newton told InternetNews.com. "So it's not really in our interest to build our own CMS just for our own Web site. We felt we could offer better service to our community by leveraging the work of another open source CMS."

Newton noted that previously, JBoss had been working on an in-house solution that has been the CMS behind JBoss.org. The JBoss.org effort itself kicked off in April of 2007 as a community site that is intended to help boost collaboration and participation in JBoss open source projects.

In choosing Magnolia, JBoss.org went through the same kind of exercise that countless enterprises go through to find a CMS that works for their own environment. Newton described the process used to find the right CMS as being a conventional process.

"We started off looking first at wikis, letting the projects update their own content in a very quick way," Newton explained. "The problems we found is once you entered information, it wasn't really structured and you couldn't pull it all together. So although it was very quick, it didn't add much value."

With wiki's not an option, JBoss.org started looking at lightweight content management systems. When they downloaded and tried out Magnolia, Newton noted that it became obvious to the JBoss.org team that it was possible to build a Web site from inside the browser, which for them was a key requirement.

Newton explained that JBoss.org then created a proof of concept using Magnolia and posted it internally to let JBoss staffers use it. Only after going through that exercise and validating it for themselves as the right solution did Newton take the next step and decide to contact the Magnolia company to look at support options.

Boris Kraft, chief technical officer at Magnolia, noted that Magnolia is all open source code and Red Hat understood the concepts behind the application.

"The first time I talked to Mark Newton he already had everything up and running in his environment. That was pretty neat," Kraft told InternetNews.com.

"Right now, there are some quality assurance issues from our side and things can get complex at a certain point no matter how easy you try and keep them. To deploy a large infrastructure like the one for JBoss there are a lot of levers to try and get things to run optimally and that's where we're helping," he said.

JBoss might well end up helping Magnolia as well. As an open source effort Newton commented that if JBoss had any fixes they would certainly contribute them back to the Magnolia project. Then there are also the potential business implications.

"Of course it's in the realm of possibility that we'll want to reach out with Magnolia to have a stronger partnership," Newton said.