Thursday, February 18, 2010

Oracle and Sun's Open Source Projects

When I wrote my Analysis of Oracle's Strategy for Sun's Middleware, I made mention of Oracle's somewhat vague statements about the future of several open-source communities and projects.  GlassFish is a special case and I covered it as such, but a couple key projects that did not have clear plans articulated were OpenESB and OpenSSO.

For OpenESB at least, and perhaps this is an indication of what will happen with OpenSSO, we do have more clarity from an e-mail sent on the users alias a couple days ago.  Thanks to Frank for sending it, and he highlights a few key things about OpenESB and GlassFish ESB:
  • Oracle does not intend to let the project disappear and will keep it on
  • Oracle has scaled down the investments in OpenESB from what they were at Sun.
  • There is a hope the community will step up to fill the void left by the reduced investment.
  • Existing GlassFish ESB customers will be supported and can buy more licenses, but there is no intent to sell licenses to new customers.
There is also an updated governance document that continues to require a Sun Contributor Agreement (SCA) to be signed to contribute and outlines Oracle's special role in the project as steward and reserves the right to:
  • Accept/reject committers
  • Veto the roadmap
  • Veto changes to the OpenESB website
  • Accept / reject changes to this governance document
So in effect, they will continue to provide the infrastructure for the project but also maintain strict control of the project.  The question then is how these rights will be exercised.  My guess is that as long as what is proposed/contributed is an evolution of what exists they will remain fairly hands off.  However, should anything that is there become competitive to or a threat to an Oracle product, I'd expect the rights above to be exercised to some degree to address that.

It is also very important to note that by continuing to require the SCA to contribute, Oracle maintains copyright to all the code and thus the right to use anything developed and contributed in Oracle commercial product under a non-open-source license.  I don't think folks should be scared away by this alone, but it is something to remember and not be surprised by should features or code from OpenESB show up in Fusion Middleware.

This is good news for several of the companies that have formed around the development of components and implementation using OpenESB like Logicoy, ForgeRock, Pymma, Imola, Adjoovo, and more, as it means they don't have to create their own fork(s) and can continue to collaborate together in the community.

It is now up to the community to step up and contribute and see how this plays out for real, but the opportunity for them to do so is great news.  Will this same model be applied to OpenSSO?  We'll have to wait and see.


  1. Oracle has adopted STS and fedlet components into OAM. And OpenSSO is on a "Continue and Converge" roadmap.

  2. @Anonymous Yeah, I'd seen the adoption of STS and the Fedlet into OAM, but I hadn't seen anything more specific about what happens to the OpenSSO project and community.

  3. Are low ethical standards a requirement to be listed here ? Definitly the two companies listed first get their fame from snitching customers from others.. whatever their excuse may be. Just so you'd be aware..

  4. @Anonymous I am not affiliated with the companies listed and can't speak for their business practices or ethics, but was just listing companies involved with the OpenESB community. If you have constructive feedback for the community and want to be heard, it would be best not to throw charges around anonymously.

  5. Hi Kevin,
    good to see you're continuing your blogs here. Do you have any idea on JavaMQ as a preliminary version of 4.5 has been released? The combination of OpenESB on top of GF + JMQ makes the whole a very attractive combination.

  6. @Paul I haven't seen many specifics on Java MQ beyond the mention in the web-cast that it would remain as the JMS offering that is part of GlassFish. I would guess that there will be subsequent releases but that they won't have features added that would increase overlap/competition with the WebLogic JMS offering.

  7. Hi Kevin,
    Thanks, but i recently did some work with WL JMS and JavaMQ is by far a better choice and more versatile. At least in my opinion which is based on having digged through all the documentation and twiddled around with the nuts and bolts.
    WL JMS loadbalancing features for destinations are interesting though, and of course administration is more advanced, but that is about it.
    Especially the current support for embeddedness and the new bridge functionality as described by Trond ( are really interesting. Add the FIFO modes and there is one nice MQ offering. Of course to converge with WLMQ and OraAQ eventually.. Just like GF and WL will eventually merge as well.
    But yeah, that is all long-term strategic speculation, although likely, but as far as JavaMQ goes, i haven't seen anything beyond the webcast either, although it was announced. I guess it is still in flux.
    In that respect, i will have to revisit the webcasts (pfff) but iirr there was a remark indicating the things from Project KeyChain / OpenPTK were actually picked up and moved into the Oracle IDM offering.
    And Sailfin, what is going to happen there? SUN has quite a few interesting things tucked away, it is interesting to see how Oracle will move around now after the initial handover.