Could the Open Source movement become the catalyst for new, more ‘friendly’ monopolies? I just don’t see it myself. If there ever was such a thing, I’d have to say that it would be little more than something that looked and maybe even operated like Open Source. To say that Open Source could ever reach this sort of level seems to be silly to me.
Last month I wrote an article on Apache Geronimo for JavaWorld called “A First Look at Apache Geronimo.” In the summary, I stated that “Geronimo aims to be the first J2EE-certified open source J2EE server.” As can be imagined, that statement generated a flurry of emails and responses, most of which claimed that in fact, JBoss was the first open source J2EE certified server.
In my reply to some of the reader feedback I received, I clarified that I did not consider JBoss open source in the same way Apache Geronimo is open source. That statement led to more controversy and so I decided to respond fully in a separate article. This paper is my response.
While it may seem a minor issue, the JBoss-Geronimo issue is symptomatic not only of problems with open source, and its definition, but with how we handle computer technology in general. As I will show in this paper, JBoss is by no means in the spirit of open source and should not be considered an open source product. But more, the fact that a company like JBoss can consider itself an open source company is a disturbing sign that the true meaning and intention of the open source movement has fallen victim to the very issues that engendered its inception.