"Standards voyeurs"? That's what Roger Nolan, Sun Microsystems senior director of product marketing, called IBM and BEA for asking to see the JSR-208 specification before anyone else, as reported in Java Development Journal. Apparently, the way Nolan interpets it, IBM and BEA are just holding off support until they see if it catches on. JSR-208, under development for the past 18 months, creates a standardized integration platform for Java and business applications. Sun released an early draft of JSR-208, which also has the support of JBoss and Apache Software Foundation.
Speaking of JBoss and Apache, it appears these organizations could potentially take the wind out of IBM's, BEA's and Sun's sails with regard to the J2EE framework. Why? In a telebriefing this week, Richard Monson-Haefel of Burton Group says J2EE, the set of standards now underpinning IBM's Websphere and BEA's WebLogic application servers, is rapidly becoming commoditized. J2EE provides the "plumbing" that handles protocols and specifications so developers don't have to worry about re-inventing the wheel every time they write a new application. In an interview with Internet News leadng up to the briefing, Monson-Haefel warns that open-source companies like JBoss, Apache Geronimo and Object Web's JOnAS "are commoditizing the standard." If you can get a good J2EE platform at low or no cost, why pay premo-dollars for a glitzed-up version from IBM or BEA? And, of course, .NET looms as a competitive threat as well.
In the telebriefing, detailed by Micheal Mimoso in TechTarget, Monson-Haefel predicts an eventual retreat by commercial vendors from J2EE. "In the end, the analyst believes vendors will no longer invest resources in advancing J2EE. Instead they will put their R&D dollars in technology further up the stack, like integration brokers and enterprise service buses, leaving J2EE maintenance and innovation to the open source community."
Hence, more convergence between the Web services/SOA and open-source worlds. Perhaps by the time SOA gets here, the entire stack will be a commoditized open-source layer, with the only vendor money being made from consulting and services.