Red Hat to Oracle: You Don't Own Java


Oracle has said that Java is the primary reason it is purchasing Sun. But does Sun own Java? As the JavaOne lovefest kicks off June 2, Red Hat laid down a marker that says Oracle can't buy something Sun doesn't own.


I like the program's name, JBoss Open Choice. I guess that's because I first used the term "open choice" in a research project I did for Red Hat five years ago. The term reflected research I was seeing that said users wanted flexibility to choose between various licensing terms and conditions (Ts&Cs) and would never make decisions based on Ts&Cs but on functionality. Ironically I used it in this project to describe the program Red Hat had just kicked off to work with the Bull-spin-off Java Open Application Server (JOnAS). Of course that was before Red Hat acquired JBoss and began to limit user choice at least from a marketing perspective (from an open source development, Ts&Cs and cultural perspective, Red Hat users are not constrained).


According to Red Hat,

"...the JBoss Enterprise Middleware portfolio now includes solutions for all of the common Java application workloads; from simple web applications, to light and rich Java applications, to Java Enterprise Edition (EE) based applications. Moreover, JBoss platforms support a variety of popular programming models including Spring Framework, Seam and Google Web Toolkit. With this expansion, Red Hat now has one of the most comprehensive Java application server portfolios in the industry."

They don't say so specifically, but what they mean is,

"...as compared to Sun itself and even as compared to Sun after its middleware is merged with Oracle's application server lineup."

The really interesting thing is how infrequently Red Hat mentioned open source in its June 1 press release. Of course it could not avoid its standard boilerplate tag line about open source market leadership and all of the software discussed is available under open source Ts&Cs. But the emphasis -- rightfully so -- is on the open choice that users like you want.


Of course that leads to great debates about stacks of software vs. acquiring software a la carte. But I'll leave that for another day.