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ADTmag.com: ADT's Programmers Report: Open-Source Servers Today

Jun 21, 2002, 09:00 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Colleen Frye)

"If open-source operating systems and Web servers can go mainstream, can open-source application servers be far behind? Already, the likes of Tomcat, Zope, Enhydra and JBoss boast development communities devoted to moving open software forward, and corporate IT has started to test the waters. Some of these products are all the app server many users need. And many are supported by commercial software makers. But questions remain. Can open-source application servers scale? Will management tools be available? Will commercial versions of open-source application servers really be open? Will maintenance and support be readily available? Another question: How important is full J2EE compatibility?

"'Without EJBs, [an application server] can't call itself a J2EE server,' said James Governor, a London-based analyst with Illuminata. Full-blooded J2EE servers come under the aegis of Sun's Java Community Process, but are not strictly open source. And J2EE certification, he said, is expensive, which impacts a vendor's ability to maintain the low-cost pricing model of open-source software. But many businesses want a J2EE-compliant product, 'even though most applications don't use that capability,' said Governor. 'A lot of ISVs are throwing good money away at the moment.'

"If the history of Linux and Apache provides a roadmap, though, observers say corporations will likely strike a balance, utilizing both open-source and commercial application servers. 'Both have their place,' said Governor. 'It's about balance. People don't want to make gambles, but when they see vendors they trust supporting this stuff, they'll go forward with it...'"

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