Covalent CEO Mark Brewer called to talk about it.
He says enterprises who want an open source application server can now choose between a BSD-flavor license in Apache or a GPL license in JBoss. He admits that the JBoss product has more features right now but calls Geronimo more streamlined.
News stories on the decision are more likely to emphasize Covalent's hesitance, and its endorsement of IBM, which has 10 of the server's 25 committers thanks to its acquisition of Gluecode. (Chariot Solutions is also involved in supporting Geronimo.)
"We wanted to see what happened when IBM owned the project," Brewer admits. "The good news is they did exactly the right thing. They got through the certification stage. J2EE certification was obtained in January, Then they made it a project from Apache. And our customers have been asking for it." Covalent already has a Geronimo committer on-staff, but is hiring more staff and has a joint-venture with Virtuas to increase Geronimo support further.
Brewer says Geronimo fits neatly into the Covalent product line, alongside its support for Apache itself and Apache Tomcat. Pricing will be similar, and very much in line with IBM's own. That's about $1,000 for basic support per production server, $4,000 if you want enhanced support with help for your own developers.
"The first people who migrate will be those who haven’t gone to an open source container or ISVs who’ve been waiting for a container that doesn’t fall under a GPL license," Brewer adds.
The competition now begins and, as always, it will be fun to watch. There should be a lot of winners here -- Covalent, Virtuas, IBM, JBoss and the enterprise community all benefit. I just regret I didn't ask Brewer if this was his best day ever.