Tuesday 21 July 2009

JBoss following SpringSource's leadership, by emphasizing separation between free and commercial offerings?

I've recently started working at a new job, which has involved installing and getting up to speed with some JBoss software.

Based on my previous experience, I thought that it would simply be a matter of heading to the JBoss website and downloading a zip containing the binaries. Alas that was not to be, as the jboss.com website only appears to offer 30 day evaluation downloads and emphasizes the commercially supported versions.

I thought this might not be a new thing, as it had been almost a year since I last dabbled in JBoss application servers and portal servers. When I checked what tweets had been sent on Twitter today I found that John Smart (author of Java Power Tools) had noticed a similar situation.

So, I had another look and found a single page mentioning the availability of community versions of the software and linking to www.jboss.org - even then the most obvious download links on the community site appear to direct users to the evaluation downloads. jboss.org/projects and www.jboss.org/projects/matrix seem to be the main pages to find your way to the non-evaluation implementations.

This reminded me of Rod Johnson's blog post entitled, "Red Hat Reacts to SpringSource's Leadership", as it seemed that JBoss / RedHat were now making it more difficult to get at their "open source middleware" much like how SpringSource still require registration before allowing people to attempt to download their free Spring Tool Suite.

If you navigate through the jboss.com site you could even be forgiven for thinking that Hibernate might only be available as part of a commercial product download. It's fair enough for them to be economical with the truth when they're trying to marker their commercial products.

From my limited experience, it would appear that these significant providers of enterprise Java software have somehow gotten the idea that by making the process of acquiring the community / free version of their software, they will somehow encourage people to look into their commercial offerings. I, for one, am not convinced that the approach will have a positive effect on sales or subscriptions.

If and when Oracle buys Sun Microsystems, they could make some tweaks to the MySQL download process - which currently only has optional registration - to try to introduce a negative initial user experience.

1 comment:

  1. The intention wasn't to make JBoss community downloads more difficult and judging by our download metrics adding the "not supported" warning hasn't slowed adoption or people's ability to get the free community downloads.

    What we did attempt to do was make it really clear that we have both supported distributions and non-supported distributions. This was a change in the JBoss support model (3 or 4 years ago) but many people (paying customers included) were still not clear about this split.

    Rich Sharples
    Red Hat