home_callout_jbossosgi.gifI wanted to download the latest version of JBoss AS to deploy it to a new server, and while I was wandering round their site to see what is going on, I found an interview of Ales Justing by Mark Newton about the work they’re doing with OSGi.

Apparently they are not waiting for it to happen. They’re really taking part in it, which is refreshing because ever since Redhat acquired them, I’ve always been afraid of the possibility that they could rest on their achievements and have trouble keeping up with innovation. Obviously I was wrong and since they even have some people inside the Enterprise Expert Group, we can expect some pretty good integration of OSGi into future releases of JBoss.

They are even going as far as reengineering a key part of their architecture, which is the microcontainer, to integrate OSGi. That’s really an excellent thing because I’ve always found that JMX is really a pain to manage. According to the interview, they are totally changing their core classloader:

We could probably use the classloading features of existing OSGi frameworks but it would again mean bending around things to make them work. As we wanted to have a bullet proof implementation, where all the nasty details were hidden away under private/protected modifiers, it was important that we could tightly control access through policies and delegation. From this perspective it made more sense to implement our own classloading layer.

Concerning integration with Spring, apparently they are still taking their distances. I guess it has something to do with the fact they Spring/Hibernate competes with EJBs and has thus encouraged many developers to choose a simple Tomcat server instead of a full-blown JBoss for their deployment. But as long as I can freely deploy my Spring/Hibernate on JBoss and still benefit from features like SOAP, JNDI, JMS and so on, that’s fine with me.

So that’s one other major actor of the enterprise application server market who is moving towards OSGi. Did I already say that it’s going to be big? And OSGi DevCon is certainly going to be very important this year.


alesj · February 12, 2008 at 8:04 am

“Concerning integration with Spring, apparently they are still taking their distances.”

Did you look at this two things we’re providing:

Sébastien · February 12, 2008 at 8:36 am

Not really, and I gotta say that even now that I know these Subversion repositories, it doesn’t tell me much about it.

But my remark was merely a deduction based on your interview:

Spring just provides a simpler way to use the existing complex features of OSGi. Our effort is significantly different as we are implementing all of those complex features from scratch and also providing similar support for components.

I get your point, I imagine that implementing such a complex specification is not trivial. But as an application developer, I’m more sensible to the efforts from Spring to simplify OSGi development. And that’s this “pfff… they’re doing the simple stuff, we’re doing the hard one” that made me think that JBoss is taking its distances with Spring. Now I might be wrong ;o)

alesj · February 12, 2008 at 4:48 pm

That was never meant as a plain ‘pffff’.
It’s just to explain how this thing (our work against their effort) actually stands, since there was some tension on the TSS, regarding exaggeration from their side.
But yes, I understand your point of view as a user. That’s why we touch two user aspects – app developers and runtime developers – in the interview.

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