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Eclipse Platform Authors: Janakiram MSV, Ken Fogel, Marcin Warpechowski, Michael Meiner, Liz McMillan

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OK - last one about JBoss

Well this has been an interesting time, buzz is still flying that Oracle will buy JBoss and lots of fun stuff is being said. I have several comments and thoughts on this topic that would probably take more time to write down and I have so let me just respond to couple of things that I've found interesting in this post.

Of course JBoss is open source, I never meant to imply that it was not open source. What I was trying to say in particular was that the openness of JBoss is not a sure thing over the long haul because of the closed nature of the developer community. The company employees most/all of the contributors to its projects (with the notable exception of Tomcat). While there are some distinct advantages to both the company and the community in this model there are also some gotchas. Most particularly this (look for the entry titled "Rewriting versus Refactoring" posted by Bill Venners) post referenced by Yakov here.

Now contrast this with a community like Tomcat. If/when JBoss is purchased by Oracle (I truly do hope it happens, would be great for JBoss folks and make an already very hot market even hotter) there will be virtually no impact on the Tomcat project, ever. The group of developers on Tomcat are dispursed, only a few are JBoss employees. In other words the committer base is spread across several companies and several individuals that do Tomcat in their spare time. So even if Oracle buys JBoss and removes its support from Tomcat (which would never happen, just hypothetical thinking) the community would feel the blow for sure but Tomcat would go on, both in being free and in development of new free versions. If Oracle dropped its support for JBoss (again, would never happen) where would JBoss go?

Contrast this with something like Eclipse, even though many don't quite trust IBM I think its plain to see that they understand the value of community. The group is independent of IBM now more than ever. The percentage of IBM committers continues to go down and the percentage of other developers goes up. Even if IBM were to go belly up (ok stop laughing) the Eclipse code base would continue to be developed and contine to be free, this is the value in an open and robust developer community.

In my engineering background I think of a robust developer community as redundancy. Redundancy is ineffecient in may ways but there is no substitute for an additional way to make oxygen if you are half way to the moon and the primary system suddenly drops dead.

So anyway that is my last post about JBoss for a while but I will have more to say about OpenSource companies and models...

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