Sun, JBoss settle Java dispute

With changes to a licensing program, Sun paves the way for open-source Java application server projects JBoss and Apache to comply with the J2EE standard.

Martin LaMonica Former Staff writer, CNET News
Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.
Martin LaMonica
3 min read
Sun Microsystems and open-source software maker JBoss Group have resolved a long-standing dispute over a key Java standard.

The two companies on Tuesday announced that the JBoss Group has licensed testing software that will allow the open-source company to bring its software in line with Sun's Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) standard version 1.4.


What's new:
Sun and JBoss have settled a long-standing dispute over Java standards.

Bottom line:
JBoss, a maker application servers, will now be able to certify compliance with Java standards, which will assure companies that their Java applications will run unchanged on the software.

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In addition, a similar open-source Java application server effort from The Apache Software Foundation, called Geronimo, will also license the J2EE certification test kit, according to Sun. The Geronimo project, founded earlier this year, has not yet released a finished product.

Java application servers based on the J2EE design are used for running Java applications and providing other server-oriented services, such as clustering, fail-over and administration. J2EE certification is an important checklist item for corporate customers. Companies can run Java applications on Java server software from multiple vendors as long as the server software conforms to the J2EE standard.

The resolution of the Sun-JBoss negotiations ends a multiyear conflict between the two companies.

Sun complained that JBoss was claiming to provide a J2EE-compliant application server, even though JBoss had not invested the time and money required to undergo the certification tests. JBoss, meanwhile, complained that Sun was asking for too much money--in the "high six figures," according to JBoss founder Marc Fleury--and questioned whether the J2EE brand was worth the certification effort.

JBoss Group is also expected to announce on Tuesday that some of the company's partners, including Iona Technologies, WebMethods and SchlumbergerSema, will assist JBoss in attaining the J2EE version 1.4 certification through monetary or other kinds of support, according to a company representative.

Sun executives said JBoss and Geronimo were able to purchase the license because of the changes Sun had made to its licensing system in order to accommodate open-source projects. Another J2EE open-source project, called Jonas, done at the ObjectWeb Consortium, has had discussions with Sun but has not yet signed a certification licensing contract with Sun, said Joe Keller, Sun's vice president of marketing for Java Web services and tools.

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Separately, Sun on Tuesday announced that next week it will release an application server based on the J2EE version 1.4 specification. As previously reported, the software will serve as a "reference implementation" for other Java software providers to measure standards compatibility.

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Sun will also allow developers to write and deploy applications with the application server, which is called Sun Java System Application Server 8 Platform Edition, free of charge.

The latest update to the J2EE specification, which was ratified earlier this month in the Java standardization process, will make it easier for developers to create Web services applications. Version 1.4 also incorporates the interoperability guidelines published by the Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) Group, which will allow Java-based applications share information with Microsoft .Net applications.