Wednesday, April 30, 2008

SpringSource's Application Server

A friend sent me the press-release detailing the release of the Spring Source application platform and asked me what I thought.

I had to try hard to come up with something. Truth is, I care a little bit but not a lot. To me this is a VC driven move. Spring is a natural consultancy, being a development framework, but they have been struggling with their sales in the runtime. So voila, we now have a box drawn around an OSGi kernel, the Spring framework and Hibernate/Tomcat, and it has a name: it's an application server. It is the same thing you had yesterday for free, except it is now under the GPL and a proprietary subscription license.

I laugh. SpringSource is trying to monetize its ISV user base. Good for them! I predict this flat-footed license change will have little traction with the ISV community. Why? because getting the ISVs to pay will take more than branding around previously BSD licensed software. Exactly what does an OSGi kernel bring on top of Tomcat? Nothing. What does this bring you if you ALREADY ship Spring and Hibernate/Tomcat (from JBoss?) nothing. If you want runtime support of Hibernate/Tomcat, go to those who write it: Red Hat. Spring in a desperate attempt to monetize a runtime has become a leech off of the development efforts of JBoss/RHT.

Finally I am fuzzy on how this impacts their relationship with other app-servers. They are not neutral anymore. Unhappy with their position as "just" a development framework, albeit a popular one, they want to compete with the big boys in runtime, the SUN, IBM, JBoss and Oracle. But from a runtime standpoint, this is tomcat with a module loader on top. For those that use Tomcat+Spring, they gain nothing, for those that use app-server + Spring this is irrelevant noise. They are supposed to do what? throw their legacy appservers and replace it with ... nothing? Rod Johnson stopped making sense...

Here is a message to Rod: You have been listening to your VC too much. Peter Fenton is a good guy but he has no imagination, he is just applying what he saw done by others at JBoss. He is just trying to turn you into JBoss. You should know better than that: Spring is not JBoss. Trying to become JBoss, you are going counter-nature and your latest PR sounds like a fart out of your VC's ass.

Look guys, the application server wars were fought and over by 2005. We are in 2008 with POJO programming everywhere, lite programming models in EE. You are just trying to make a buck out of what you and RHT (Hibernate/Tomcat) give away for free. I don't know why your user community would care. What's new, this is so transparent it's boring.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

From TSS the Bullshit starts flowing.

Re: Why GPLV3 ?
Posted by: Adrian Colyer on April 30, 2008 in response to Message #251558

Creating an application platform that makes the benefits of OSGi available to end users was a huge investment for us. There's a *lot* of technical innovation under the hood which won't be immediately apparent but which enables us to make a generational leap. If we're giving that technology away in open source, we wanted others who build on it to also give away the results in open source.


Re: Why GPLV3 ?
Posted by: Rod Johnson on April 30, 2008 in response to Message #251558

Creating an application platform that makes the benefits of OSGi available to end users was a huge investment for us. There's a lot of technical innovation under the hood which won't be immediately apparent but which enables us to make a generational leap. If we're giving that technology away in open source, we wanted others who build on it to also give away the results in open source.

GPL guarantees end users that the software contributes to maximizing the amount of open source available, without imposing any onerous obligations on them. GPL would prevent a commercial vendor building a closed product around the SpringSource Application Platform without giving back to the community. I think that's perfectly reasonable.

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Rod and Adrian are cut and pasting canned PR responses that are bullshit. At least Rod acknowledges that it is targeted at ISVs. You are right this is funny.

Marcf said...

Yeah, the license makes it better you know? Where have I heard this before? Oh wait a minute, CDN, remember them? They split from JBoss and went from LGPL to ASL. Spring seems to be doing the reverse: from ASL/BSD to GPL.

BTW if you want an OSGi kernel check out JBoss MC under LGPL.

sarbogast said...

Marc, it's so sad to see you so soured that you don't even realize the irrelevance of some of your words.

Of course it offers so much more than JBoss' OSGi kernel, it provides tools and facilities to expose the power of OSGi to us application developers! What does it bring more than Tomcat and Spring? Extensibility! Modularity! Real service oriented architecture! Everything that we've been fighting with for years with EJBs and WAR development.

Now about the license problem, honnestly I don't care, as long as there is an Open Source version, they can just monetize the way they want.

Hopefully, it will be the end of big monolithic application servers like JBoss and others. That's what I see there.