JBoss to wear the Red Hat

GCN Insider: Trends & Technologies that affect the way government does IT

Marc Fleury

During a panel at the recent LinuxWorld conference in Boston, the always fiery JBoss Inc. CEO Marc Fleury razzed SugarCRM CEO John Roberts about why the Cupertino, Calif.-based CRM provider entered into a collaboration agreement with Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft also cut a deal with JBoss, a move Fleury characterized earlier as the software giant's way of sticking it to JBoss competitor IBM Corp. Roberts replied that, in his company's case, Microsoft simply wanted to provide more choices for its users. 'Oh come on, give us the competitive angle,' Fleury challenged Roberts.

Less than a week later, Fleury himself landed in the hot seat. Red Hat Inc. of Raleigh, N.C., announced it would acquire the Atlanta-based open-source middleware provider for approximately $350 million. How would the acquisition benefit users? It was Fleury's time to act subdued.

'A lot of our partners want to see large, independent open-source pure play,' he said during a conference call announcing the acquisition. Also, JBoss users would benefit from Red Hat's more extensive support network, he said.

All very well, but we asked Michael Goulde, senior analyst covering open source for Forrester Research, for the competitive angle.

For JBoss, Red Hat brings the resources to battle its fierce big-name middleware competitors, notably Oracle Corp. and BEA Systems Inc.

For Red Hat, acquiring JBoss is a move to stay ahead of the competition. 'At the end of the day, all Linux distributions are based on the same kernel. I think Red Hat recognized it needed to move up the stack,' he said.

In fact, the sale certainly puts Red Hat competitor Novell Inc. in an awkward position. The Provo, Utah, company has already incorporated JBoss into its own Linux distribution. D'Oh! Perhaps it could strike its own partnership with IBM or BEA.

About the Authors

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.


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