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BEA Analyst Summit 2006: Blended – Combining the Best of Open Source and BEA Software

[See intro notes to my first post for what’s going on here.]

[The alternate title for this panel should have been “bashing on the GPL, JBoss, and MySQL. Our Open Source is Better than Yours!” See my previous comments about how I like to spend my Sunday mornings.]

Franz Aman (moderator, BEA VP of Worldwide Customer Engagement), Tim Wagner (Eclipse Board), Patrick Linskey (“Active Member JDO 2.0 and EJB 3.0”), Eddie O’Neil (Beehive, PMC), Rod Johnson (Spring, Interface 21).

Franz: why is blended better?

Rod: the word is more important than the concept. “We want to help people execute what they’re doing more successfully, not force them to do it one way.” There’s 2 types of software, not open and closed source: good and bad.

Eddie: supporting what people are doing already.

Patrick: blending goes in two directions, blending in and out (like Beehive and Kodo).

Rod: been working with BEA for the past two days. Franz: so you’re not trying to rid the world of costly software. Rod: …it doesn’t always follow that OSS is cheaper than closed source.

Franz: when I think blended, I think maximum productivity for the developer.

Franz asks… and Tim says: we won the first annual Eclipse award for IDE tools. Franz: so what happened to Rational. Tim: they dropped out pretty early.


Franz: We’re putting something into OSS, but there’s already something there: Hibernate. So what’s going on?

Patrick: OpenJPA being extracted from Kodo. …OSS as a platform for collaboration. Chose ASL for license.

Franze: …Hibernate is pretty widely distributed…

Patrick: [in summary:] we’re dong it differently, and we think that’s better. Also from an organizational (we’re not JBoss) and licenses aspect (not LGPL).

Rod: Java Persistence API is out there, the JSR’ed standard. So, it’s good to have a choice of solutions. I’ve heard Gavin King say that O/R mapping is a problem that’s been solved, so from that angle, you’re not going to get innovation.

[Us dorks will never play well together. So goes a meritocracy based culture. Only one person can be the winner, based on what they do, not what the culture as a whole does.]


Franz: What’s up with Spring adoption, and why is Spring with WLS?

Rob: Interface 21 deals with a lot of large customers. Spring is widely adopted in, e.g., banking. We have 5 out of the world’s top 10 banks as clients [to what degree?]. We sell to big enterprise, who use BEA, so we want to work with BEA. There’s several value add that we’ve done: Interface 21/BEA partnership announced last year; Spring transaction integration with WLS, complete positive for users/devs JTAWeblogicTransactionManager.

Franz: blended sounds cool. Tim, Patrick, and Eddie are wearing the same shirts [blue with vertical white stripes, not exactly the same of course, but close.]

Licensing & Indemnification

Eddie: use to make money, not use to make money. ASL is friend. Then you have (L)GPL…[JBoss attack time!]. GPL makes using it more difficult because you can’t change the software over time. [Listen to this recording for more detail.]

You can be sure that stuff coming out of Apache doesn’t have IP issues. Lead has to clear IP issues.

Rod: indemnification isn’t asked for a lot from our customers.

Patrick: people may not ask a lot, but when someone does, they really want it. Also, people don’t always know what they’re asking for: it’s just a bullet point for them. Probably sourced from the legal department and not understood by purchasing department.

Eddie: there’s a lot of license discussion at Apache, e.g., in the incubator.

Rod: we think about looking at insurance and such, ’cause we couldn’t afford a huge lawsuit…but, indemnification doesn’t come up very much.

Tim: I spend a lot of my time working with Eclipse on IP issues. In open source, you can go see the process in flight, unlike in legal settings. Transparent and open.


Franz: if Interface 21 went of business, BEA would still support it [for some reason, the partnership I guess].

Rob: …we’re a healthy company…but as technologist, we like something like the ASL because it means the software can live beyond the company. Not so clear with “any sort of viral license.” We’re more than happy to compete by hiring the leaders of the Spring community and high quality stuff.

Franz: so you wouldn’t send a cease and desist letter to a company making money off your stuff.

Rod: no, we wouldn’t be like that “certain company.”

Audience Q&A

Q: Calling back to Gavin King quote…it must be easier to say things like that if you’re part of one of those “closed communities” [like JBoss].

Patrick: we innovate faster, better, etc. The influencers of open source projects are more than just the committers.

Rob: a more open system gets you a lot…but there’s a pullback on saying JBoss is a bad model.

Patrick: you don’t want your software vendor to be a club, where the only the cool kids can commit.

Rob: the point is, the more embracing you are, the more oppurtunities you get. [See Metcalfe’s law.]

Q: what products does BEA provide indemnification for?

Franz: we can send you the small print.

Same Q: there’s a lot of software there. Have you really covered everything?

Patrick: a lot of the OSS we use is from Apache. Apache goes through a rigorous process.

Time: Eclipse has a person, Sharon, who does all the indemnification. We spent 3 hours this past Sunday [Tragic! OSS requires weekend working! Terrible! Back to our regularly scheduled program…]. Starting to/thinking of using Blackduck.

[Right, so it sounds like BEA doesn’t have teams of lawyers and researches doing “five 9’s” indemnification coverage.]

Q: Blackduck is great, but it has a limited code base. Have you looked at Palamedia?

Tim: I wasn’t involved in that.

Patrick: I know that the people who know this stuff at BEA have looked at both of those.

Franz: there are some people doing indemnification.

Same Q: my real question is Geronimo. What are you planning to do with/about that.

Tim: I’m not a server guy, so I don’t know for sure. No surprise or secret that the [basics] of app servers have commoditized. So, the blended strategy is to look at “where can we recover value” from OSS, and then have value adds, e.g., JRocket. Frankly, our customers aren’t paying us for the low-level stuff.

Patrick: we do have Geronimo committers. I’ve talked with several who are excited about using OpenJPA…I’d like to see OpenJPA used by them, of course.

Management consoles for Geronimo, other value adds.

Disclaimer: BEA is a client, and paid for me to come to this conference.

Categories: Companies, Conferences, Enterprise Software, Open Source.