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EOS Interview — Open Source and Middleware

Interview with Pierre Fricke, director of product management at Jboss

JEREMY GEELAN: We're here with Pierre Fricke, director of product management at JBoss, at LinuxWorld in Boston. JBoss has made about 77 announcements and it's only day two, and there's some other stuff we must get onto. Thank you for joining us Pierre.

PIERRE FRICKE: Thank you, Jeremy. It's been exciting to be at LinuxWorld.

GEELAN: You guys, announcements every half minute.

FRICKE: There's a lot going on in open source in middleware, so let me take you through a couple of the announcements we've made. Last week we had a couple of interesting announcements. We announced JBoss Messaging - and it's 1.0. It's a first release of refactoring JBoss MQ to be a high-performance messaging core that can support high-end SOA and high-end ESB scenarios.

GEELAN: That's quite a shift, quite an innovation.

FRICKE: It's interesting because it's modular. There's a messaging core and then we have protocol façades. The first protocol façade is JMS, but we can support other messaging protocols so it makes it flexible. There are some people who don't want to use JMS and they may want to use something else. We will enable those kinds of protocols. We're excited about that because this is going to be the foundation for Enterprise Service Bus later in the year. We also announced the community release for JBoss Web server.

GEELAN: Now that was intriguing.

FRICKE: That announcement was very interesting. The JBoss Web server basically is designed to - think of it as Tomcat on steroids. It basically marries Tomcat with the Web server and basically brings these things together in a more integrated fashion, for high performance Web scenarios, and we've seen more than 10,000 concurrent clients going through the Web server into the Java environment. We have situations in JBoss where we need that and customers are looking for those kinds of higher-end scenarios.

GEELAN: Yes, absolutely.

FRICKE: JBoss Web is real exciting. The other thing about it is we're going to be able to run ASP.NET and PHP.

GEELAN: That's kind of the flavor of the show here, anyway, in our interop age. But you guys have always been ready for that. Of course, one begins to wonder about the J in JBoss but let's not even go there. You know, we're going to be in trouble. Did you see any of Bill Hilf's announcements? Have you been monitoring the brouhaha around Microsoft at this particular LinuxWorld?

FRICKE: No, actually, I have not focused too much on that.

GEELAN: Okay, that awaits you then.

FRICKE: I was going to catch up on that tomorrow.

GEELAN: We can no longer extinguish so we are embracing - let me just put it as simply as that. The jury is out on where the embrace will lead. A lot is going on in general, as you're saying, with open source. Even more so though, Pierre, a lot is going on with the technology space in general.

I wonder if I cannot observe our tried and true tradition, if I may, of using you as a kind of observer, an anthropologist of technology is how I've always thought of you with your analyst background and you're completely immersed in the real-world beast of e-commerce and the Net. Let me ask you this, obviously one wants a renaissance in technology. But because of the economic cycle, one perhaps wants a renaissance, he wants a user because of usability. There are all sorts of reasons for us wanting, not just to have a VC-pumped bubble two, but something really substantive. Let me put it to you that this particular LinuxWorld, and I think you've been to like all of them, or most of them...

FRICKE: Almost all of them.

GEELAN: This particular LinuxWorld is beginning to resemble, to me, our old friend Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point in that it seems to be very different from any other LinuxWorld. I'm not quite sure in which sense yet it's different and would love your help with that, but some of the theories I'm hearing are that perhaps it's quieting down in the sense of traffic and noise because the signal is stronger and we're going somewhere. A lot of people can't get here because they're just too darn busy. You don't have to make the case; that's one theory. Of course there are the doom mongers saying, No, no, it just shows that we're all lost, we're all lost. Linux has been busted. Open source, professional open source, is an oxymoron. I'm sure that you don't go into that camp. But I would like your take. This LinuxWorld or this period, this quarter, places in 2006, what's different about exactly now?

FRICKE: Well, I was joking with Larry Augustin yesterday. I said, you know, if we had this in Orlando in the winter, you would definitely double the traffic.

GEELAN: It was very wet this morning.

FRICKE: Putting that aside, I do think these things rise and then they have to mature and then they adopt a new thing, but I'm an old Uniform attender. Remember Uniform in the 1980s?

GEELAN: Okay, now we are going back.

FRICKE: Well, you said anthropologist so let's go do some digging.

GEELAN: Historian now, archeologist.

FRICKE: Let's go do some digging. Uniform used to be - in 1985, I remember that, that was the technological coming together of Unix. In fact, if you looked at LinuxWorld '00 and Uniform 1985 they were very similar.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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