JBoss Application Server gets J2EE certified

Underlining the enterprise capabilities of its free, open source JBoss Application Server, JBoss Inc. on Monday plans to announce Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) certification for the product.

After launching an effort last November to achieve J2EE compatibility, the JBoss Application Server 4.0 has now passed Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Compatibility Test Suite for J2EE version 1.4, JBoss said in a statement.

Certified compatibility for the server ensures that it is J2EE compatible and that applications written to the standard will remain portable. Compatibility is a key step for JBoss in its efforts to bring J2EE and open source together, JBoss president and chief executive officer Marc Fleury said in the statement.

Enterprise users especially will look at compatibility when weighing JBoss against rival offerings from companies such as BEA Systems Inc. and IBM Corp., said Shawn Willett, a principal analyst at Current Analysis Inc. of Sterling, Va.

“Even though a lot of people, including JBoss, have said in the past that these certifications don’t mean a lot, in fact they do. Corporate users do look at it, it is a checklist item. I think it will be good for JBoss. I think it will give momentum to the open source movement in application servers,” Willett said.

Two other open-source application servers have also said they hope to be J2EE 1.4-certified by the end of the year. They are Geronimo, a project of the Apache Software Foundation, and Jonas, overseen by Europe’s ObjectWeb consortium.

The JBoss Application Server has been downloaded more than 5 million times since March 2001, according to JBoss. Though the software is available at no charge, JBoss does offer paid services and support.

Atlanta-based JBoss aims to become a full-fledged competitor to BEA and IBM by expanding its open source middleware offerings. The company has US$10 million in funds that it could use to acquire technology and developers. A spokeswoman said JBoss doesn’t rule anything out when it comes to expansion.

Still, JBoss has a lot of work to do before it will have a complete middleware stack comparable to what BEA and IBM offer, said Current Analysis’ Willett. “They are working toward duplicating that stack, but I think they have a long way to go, especially in terms of integrating,” Willett said.

JBoss claims its application server is the first open source application server to achieve J2EE 1.4 compatibility certification. Open source products could not get certification before November last year because Sun bundled its J2EE reference implementation along with the certification test suite. Vendors that signed up needed to agree to the Sun Source Code License agreement, effectively preventing any agreeing company from offering an open source J2EE product, according to JBoss.

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