JBoss changes coming soon

Can you just feel the anticipation building?

As JavaOne 2012 gets started this week, Red Hat is using the occasion to announce some shake ups for its venerable Java-based JBoss product line.

There's a lot of yummy sauce, but it's a little hard to find the actual meat of the news buried within the commercial Linux vendor's announcement today. Here's what we do know.

Probably the biggest potential news is the intent to "increase access and availability to JBoss for developers," according to Steven Yi, Director, Strategy & Product Management at Red Hat. Specifically, Yi is referring to the JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP), which currently is under the GNU Lesser GPL for development, but requires a Red Hat support subscription for production use.

So what does increased access mean? "We're going to delve into specifics later," Yi said in a recent interview, adding that the goal is to make JBoss EAP more readily accessible, but not describing what that means. Presumably, there's a potential license change coming for the product, but it is not at all clear what Red Hat is thinking. It's telegraphing the move, though, probably because Red Hat would like to see what partners and customers are thinking.

As the copyright holder for JBoss EAP, there's a chance that Red Hat could shift the whole project to a permissive, BSD-style license, but looking at the the JBoss Individual Contributor Agreement for the product, this clause:

"You hereby grant to Red Hat, its successors, and assigns, the non-exclusive, transferable, irrevocable, perpetual, royalty-free right to use, modify, copy, sell, and distribute the Contributions under the terms of any version of the GNU General Public License, or any version of the GNU Lesser General Public License. Without limitation, this grant is made with respect to any copyright, patent, or other intellectual property or moral rights You may have in or to the Contributions."

…would seem to preclude a possible switch away from a GPL-style restrictive license. (The Corporate agreement has the same clause.) But, it should be noted, that's the contributor agreement for the JBoss Application Server, which is not the same product as JBoss EAP.

It's a bit of a mystery, so we'll have to see what Red Hat has in mind for EAP. Instead of a license change, it could be a change in the subscription plans, which might make JBoss free to use beyond just strict development/evaluation purposes.

Speaking of JBoss Application Server, the biggest Red Hat news to come out of JavaOne today is about JBoss AS, which will soon be no more.

Because of the confusion between JBoss AS, JBoss EAP, and the rest of the JBoss product line, Red Hat has decided to invite the community to rename JBoss AS in a special open election now open. Voting is open from now until October 14.

The top names, as decided by a panel of judges made up of Red Hat employees, will be presented to the community for voting from October 21–November 1, and the winning entry will be announced November 12 during the Devoxx conference in Antwerp, Belgium.

So, while a bit more definitive, there's another "stay tuned" piece of news for you.

Was there nothing concrete from Red Hat today? Sure, and it's not a throw-away piece of news: Red Hat announced its collaboration with 10gen, the vendor for the MongoDB non-relational database that's been a pretty loud player in big data space. Red Hat and 10gen are working together on the Hibernate Object Grid Mapper project, a data access library for developers, to create a similar framework for developers who want to plug into the MongoDB NoSQL database.

This is significant, since it connects JBoss with an exploding tech sector, and a database that's on a serious climb in popularity.

In the meantime, changes are coming for JBoss… we'll just have to see what they will be.

Read more of Brian Proffitt's Open for Discussion blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Drop Brian a line or follow Brian on Twitter at @TheTechScribe. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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