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Goossens was keen to emphasize that, despite the obvious cost advantages, "the No. 1 reason for the take up of JBoss is quality, because quality gets the job done faster," and JBoss code was better than the code of its rivals "because the open source software factory is a better factory. It's all about transparency, peer-to-peer review and eyeballs. We have thousands of people looking at the code all the time, and the code that comes out of that is better code."
"That is true of open source, and not just JBoss," he said. "But at JBoss, we employ the lead developers in all our projects, and we drive the community, and the code that comes out of that is better code." It also follows that feedback is much quicker. Customers who find a bug or desire an additional feature have a direct line back to the developers through the JBoss User Groups.
"The second biggest reason for enterprise adoption of JBoss," according to Goossens, "is that we are much closer to standards and openness than our competitors, and the third reason is that JBoss is a better value proposition. It is cheaper and has better code."
Although downloads of JEMS have exceeded 5 million most serious users choose to take out support contracts with JBoss, using the subscription model pioneered by Red Hat, which ensures support through every stage of the application life cycle. This model has been the inspiration for a flood of venture capital supported companies such as SugarCRM, (which has its own open source community at sugarforge), Compiere ERP and Alfresco CMS, which is a JBoss technology partner. These companies are venturing beyond the operating system model of Red Hat and the middleware space inhabited by JBoss, and into the enterprise application area, where open source applications were previously unknown. Open source companies gain less revenue than their rivals, but also have less turnover, and are attractive to business because they lower the overall cost of IT expenditure.
Red Hat's recent acquisition of JBoss has had an immediate pay-off for JBoss. "Red Hat had a bigger market share than us," Goossens said, "and we had problems, especially in Europe, getting the bigger companies to take us seriously as a small player. We weren't taken that seriously in procurements with long cycles. We couldn't get the visibility and the attention we wanted, but that changed over night. And suddenly we were taken much more seriously at the strategic level.
"Before the acquisition something like 40% of JBoss deployments were on Windows," he noted, "but that has begun to change as we are taken much more seriously, and the typical environments now are Linux and Unix." Notably, JBoss World was as much a showpiece for Red Hat as it was for JBoss.
JBoss opened the conference with the announcement of the beta release of its forthcoming Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (EE) 5.0 compliant application server, and the release of the JBoss ESB (Enterprise Service Bus), which adds an essential building block for SOA integration to JEMS. But the most important announcement was made on the second day "while the ink was still wet", by Marc Fleury, the senior vice president and general manager of the JBoss division of Red Hat, and Jean-Pierre Barberis, general manager of Bull Services and Solutions.