Linux vendor Red Hat is set to outline its strategy for the JBoss open source middleware business it acquired in June last year and is widely expected to announce plans to create a Fedora-style community development version of the JBoss middleware suite.
It is believed the company will look to replicate the Fedora/Enterprise Linux model, which sees the Red Hat offering a community developed, unsupported Fedora operating system code base to developers, and using that as the basis for the supported, subscription-only Enterprise Linux offering.
As reported in November last year, Red Hat has been considering applying the model to JBoss for some time as a means of converting millions of free downloads into paying customers.
One of the things that we’re trying to address is the development model, to come up with something similar to the RHEL/Fedora model, Red Hat’s EVP and CFO, Charlie Peters, told the UBS Global Communications and Technology Conference at the time.
JBoss is an open source middleware product that has almost 11 million free downloads that have been taken across the globe, and yet today they still have a very small paid customer base, he added.
Our opportunity here is to use the knowledge of what we’ve done on the Linux side to create the same kind of environment on the middleware side and convince customers of the value of moving from free to paid.
The move will involve something of a cultural shift for the JBoss business, which has been largely unaltered following the acquisition by Red Hat, although it has been hemorrhaging executives if industry whispers are to be believed.
JBoss’s founder and former CEO, Marc Fleury, left the company in to pursue other interests February shortly before Red Hat hired the founder of Codehaus open source project repository, Bob McWhirter, to lead its JBoss community efforts.
Fleury had previously complained publicly about a lack of R&D investment from Red Hat, something that will be belatedly answered this year as the company plans to double its R&D investment in JBoss.