Monday, January 16, 2006

So what's up with Geronimo?

What is Geronimo?

Another open source application server? Haven’t we already had enough of open source application sources - JBoss, JonAs, going back all the way to Tomcat? (Agreed Tomcat has always been more of a web container than a J2EE container).

But seriously, Geronimo, is the new application server built by Apache (widely considered as the best and most superior open source groups out there) and they built the Apache web server that is still running the majority of internet. So coming from Apache, a J2EE container is a big deal.

According to the official Geronimo website:

The Geronimo project is an open source application server developed by the Apache Software Foundation and distributed under the Apache license.

Geronimo is currently compatible with the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) 1.4 specification. When compared to other application servers such as JBoss, WebLogic and Websphere, Geronimo's most distinctive features are its:

  • BSD-style license, which allows it to be modified for and embedded within commercial, closed source software (unlike the popular GPL and LGPL licenses)
  • Modular GBean-based architecture, which allows users to remove unneeded services and build very lightweight configurations of the server
  • Non-Profit ASF leadership, which provides legal protection, ensures stability across the loss of individual contributors and insulates the project from commercial conflicts of interest
  • Diverse support community, in which companies compete freely and openly to provide services, with none enjoying any particular trademark advantage

What makes Geronimo so special as compared to other Application Servers (other than the Apache name?)

  • Here is what I think the main points about Geronimo are:
  • Complete J2EE 1.4 Application Server
  • Built on best of breed components (Tomcat/Jetty, OpenEJB, HOWL, etc.)
  • Modular architecture (server core plus services grouped into “configurations”)
  • Open community & open license
  • Fast JMS server included
  • An excellent Web-based management console included

Having said that, I must say, in my trials I noticed that Geronimo is not yet industry, productions standards but that may be just a temporary phenomenon. The application server has a lot of promise and even though BEA, IBM and other commercial vendors are a bit worried, Geronimo could turn out to be the greatest threat to another application server – JBoss.

After all, who would buy a “commercial” open source application server like JBoss when a completely free and superior version like Apache Geronimo is available?

It only remains to be seen.

Talkbacks and comments always welcome!

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