Not having to pay for a J2EE development environment thanks to JBoss is proving to be a boon for many local enterprises, including Queensland Transport.
According to one source familiar with application development infrastructure at Queensland Transport, which oversees the all state's road and motoring matters, JBoss has saved the organization around $100,000. The department has installed the software on about 40 developers' PCs.
With Oracle's recent acquisition of DB vendor Sleepycat Software, rumours within the industry are rife that JBoss Inc is also a target.
"Queensland Transport uses it because it's easy, free and it works," the source said. "If Oracle killed JBoss, you may have to buy a licence, but there would be nothing to stop people from forking JBoss."
Queensland Transport uses Borland's proprietary J2EE application server in production, but is enjoying the flexibility of being able to develop and test with JBoss so the applications are "tested on two different apps".
The source said Queensland Transport uses Oracle's database as its chief database, and the developer applications that come with it.
Regarding Oracle bringing more support options to the open source JBoss, the source said this "would be beneficial".
"Oracle can put a lot more into JBoss to make it viable," the source said. "The downside is because Oracle is so big, you will have to deal with it. It's the leading open source application server by far and a lot of investment was done by JBoss."
According to the source, the savings JBoss brings can be equivalent to an extra developer for the organization.
Forrester Research senior analyst Sam Higgins said due to the "fierce independence" of the open source community, it would not be surprising to see open source software 'forked' into an independent project in the event of an acquisition by a large vendor.
Forking aside, Higgins expressed uncertainty over "what JBoss would give Oracle".
"It has established itself as a reasonably strong application server environment," he said. "One consideration is that it does give it an easy way to offer a better price point. If you don't have the cost overhead of R&D, and you don't manage a large partner network, it will be price-pointed better."
Higgins believes if Oracle was going to take on the OS community in that way with a "if we can't beat them we will destroy them" attitude, there are many people that could create a safe harbour "even before the dust settles".
On the positive side, Higgins said the advantages of Oracle 'owned' open source projects is end users do have the option of obtaining support directly from a large vendor.