Last week, Forbes.com ran a great article where they interview Mark Fleury about IBM’s recent Gluecode purchase. Mark is a bit miffed that IBM is trying to out-JBoss him. He thinks IBM is trying to put him out of business. In fact, the thought of IBM putting an open source company in harm’s way is pretty amusing, but we haven’t seen the last of this trend.
Read on for my $0.02 …Ok, here’s the backstory.
There are enough players in this conflagration to make a Tom Clancy novel,
but we can focus on a couple at a time and get a pretty good feel for the
situation. Let’s start with Fleury. Here’s a guy who started JBoss to
compete with the big boys by giving their software away and charging for
services. Fair enough. He’s had some success, including a
>$10m Intel-backed VC round.. Along the way, he’s vowed revenge on a group of developers who left to form their own company, and gotten himself and his company in a fair bit of a mess
by faking identities on some online forums.
I get the impression that this is a guy who pounds a couple too many Red
Bulls every day.
But let’s take another look. JBoss showed up as a software release in 1999,
and the JBoss organization became real in 2001. They grew via a
professional services model, and incorporated in 2004. Now you have a
company of some 150+ employees that’s bringing in real revenue and hiring
real employees. They no more resemble the code-for-free open-source
stereotype than IBM does. In fact, they have promoted the term “Professional Open Source” to reflect their for-profit stance.
Now, IBM wants in, so they pick up Gluecode. They go on to announce that
they’re going to undercut JBoss on services, and JBoss is a little nervous.
So, prediction time. Does IBM drive JBoss out of business? No. But I
think they may drive them into the arms of a white knight.
There are still a couple of gorillas in the mist.
Oracle is one possibility. They haven’t made any big moves since picking
up Peoplesoft, and they wouldn’t mind extending their position in J2EE by
getting on the hip open-source bandwagon.
A move that would make more sense would be for HP to acquire JBoss. This
would not only boost their professional services image, but would open the
door for some very interesting integrations. Consider JBoss extended to
run .Net software via Mono, and managed by HP management software (see
my earlier predition about .Net and J2EE integration in an app
You’d have a real heavyweight company getting behind J2EE and .
Net on the same application server via open source, with management that’s
ready for real enterprises. All running on HP equipment and serviced by HP
experts. This would squarely hit the need that IBM is targeting: customers
want to get everything from a single vendor, but know that they could
switch if they needed to without disrupting their entire infrastructure.
For a bonus, consider HP picking up EMC and getting VMWare along with it.
Virtualization is getting hot, and HP could manage it along with everything
In the mean time, it’s priceless to watch Fleury squirm.
JBoss secures $
accused of Astroturfing
JBoss moves up to business processes
Update: IBM’s Gluecode Deal Adds A New Wrinkle To Its Open-Source Strategy