"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
"'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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