BEA tries to stay three years ahead

"We’ve won an Eclipse award for our Commerical Eclipse based developer tool, and one of our architects is now on the Eclipse board. Part of that is the work we did on Java."

BEA Systems' strategy regarding open source is to innovate three years ahead while raising standards through the community.

That's how it was explained to me by Guy Churchward, General Manager of the Java Runtime Products Group at BEA. We spoke as the company was announcing 9.2 versions of its WebLogic Server,  Workshop for WebLogic and WebLogic Portal. (For fun, here's the Churchward family crest.)

"We’ve won an Eclipse award for our Commerical Eclipse based developer tool, and one of our architects is now on the Eclipse board. Part of that is the work we did on Java."

The strategy "must be working because our license revenue is up year on year, and Gartner quotes as number one in the Application Server market," he said.

The idea of innovating ahead of your open source contributions is controversial, but it can work if your innovations are really leading-edge. BEA  has about 16,000 customers worldwide and is huge in financial services, telecomm, and distribution, industries that demand 100% up-time.

That's where a lot of BEA's innovation is headed, Churchward said. "The world never sleeps in our market," he said.

So how would you evaluate BEA, not just as a vendor but as an open source participant?

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