JBoss goes Closed Source!

>> Thursday, August 27, 2009

For the past 3 years PushToTest published TestMaker, a popular utility and framework for automating Web tests, under a free open-source license. TestMaker now comes with an End User License Agreement (EULA) that costs either $12,000 per person, or $23,000 per year per person with upgrades included. Or $42,000 with no upgrades. The longer you wait the more expensive the license actually costs.

The adoption of open source J2EE application servers is growing by leaps and bounds. Many enterprises have adopted JBoss for many of their mission-critical applications. Do you happen to know what the JBoss Group is thinking?

Ask yourself, is it possible for any open source vendor to take advantage of the hard work of the community and then make it closed source? Before, you commit to using JBoss within the Enterprise, you need to consider the following:
Do not adopt an open source product unless there are alternative offerings from the community that adhere to the same standards
Do not take advantage of any proprietary features. Vendor Lockin can still occur with free software
Make sure that if they change clauses that it explicitly states that they have sole responsibility of paying prior contributors current market rate for all past contributions in order to remove liability and/or copyright infringement
Consider putting clauses into support contracts that prevent them from changing licensing terms without prior approval and full refund of any monies previously paid

If the vendor is funded by venture capital, ask for a statement directly from venture capitalists stating that they do not believe they own the intellectual property contained within the product

For the record, I am of the firm belief that JBoss Group has extreme integrity above and beyond what is found in other open source ventures and would never think of such an act. You should take the above steps with all open source vendors to protect your enterprise!

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