Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oracle Unveils GlassFish Roadmap

Several folks from Oracle had an informal webinar last Thursday to share plans for GlassFish with the community.  While there had been a number of statements from Oracle around the plans for GlassFish and how it would be advanced, an actual roadmap and more specifics had not been shared yet so the community justifiably still had a little angst about what they could expect.

All in all, the roadmap that was shared was consistent with previous statements and more or less what I expected.  There will be minor releases of v3 (errr, just 3.x now, the "v" terminology seems to be gone) that add in some administration, clustering, and high availability features that exist in v2 (err 2.x) and ultimately a GlassFish 4 that would be in sync with the finalization and release of Java EE 7.  Interspersed in the 3.1 and 3.2 releases may also be some additional value add features like Oracle Coherence support and some integration with Oracle Identity Management, all rational things to be adding to try to pull more sales for Fusion middleware.

What wasn't in the roadmap, again as expected, were any features that would increase competition with WebLogic.  Someone asked if Fusion Middleware or Fusion Apps were going to be certified to run on GlassFish and the answer was no.  And the clustering features above are really required to just get back to parity with GlassFish 2.  And the support they are looking to add for Coherence and OIM is really to ensure they can sell Fusion Middleware to GlassFish customers.

Another important change is around naming, distribution, licensing and there is both good and bad news.

First, on naming, the community bits will now be GlassFish Server Open Source Edition and the commercial bits will be Oracle GlassFish Server.  The difference will be that the commercial bits add in value-add features and come with a different license.  The community bits will continue to use the open-source licenses they do today.

The good news is that the commercial bits, including the value add features Sun had for paying customers and presumably the value add features mentioned above in the roadmap, will be available for free download!  This is great as it should generate better awareness of the performance monitor/advisor and enterprise manager.

The bad news is that the commercial bits, as noted above, have a different license for the free download, likely the same or similar to the existing Oracle Technology Network developer license which limits use of the bits to "only for the purpose of developing, testing,  prototyping and demonstrating your application, and not for any other purpose."  This means that unlike the license Sun used for the commercial bits downloaded from, you are not allowed to use the commercial bits in production.

Now, this is likely not that big an issue as the majority of GlassFish users probably downloaded their bits from the community site and weren't getting the commercial bits.  Just keep in mind that with GlassFish Server 3.0.1 downloaded from OTN that while you will now get the add-ons included, you won't be entitled to use it in production.

Interested in other views?  See DZone's summary or vote on the poll on what you think of the roadmap (and see what others think too).  It is interesting that as I write this, the top 2 things folks liked are that GlassFish remains open and the clustering features coming to get parity with v2.  The bottom 2 things are an Oracle supported distro and the interop with other Fusion Middleware.  Interesting.


  1. Eduardo Pelegri-LlopartMarch 31, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    The roadmap also mentions that v3.2 will start adding support for virtualization environments. And that v4 will share services and infrastructure with WLS.

    re: "(v3.1) to just get back to parity with GlassFish 2" - Since we believe GF 2 is best-in-class among the OSS AppServers, that is not bad.

    GF 3 adds many other features (modularity, JavaEE6, OSGi) and its performance is even better than GF 2. I see nobody scheduled to get out w/ a competitive, supported, product in 2010, so think that's a pretty good story.

    But I'm (quite) biased... - eduard/o

  2. @eduardo Thanks for the comment. It is always welcome even if it is biased :O

    You are absolutely correct that v3 (you use "v" terminology still so I will too!) delivered a bunch of features namely those from Java EE 6 that are very valuable above and beyond v2. I assume that was a given. And getting the clustering parity with v2 definitely isn't a bad thing and it's great that it will be in the community version as I understand it.