20 June 2014

A Strong GlassFish

Last November after the announcement by Oracle that no future release beyond the 3.x version of GlassFish would have support from Oracle there were a lot of doom and gloom articles about GlassFish. I tried to put my view that this probably wasn't the end of GlassFish but time would tell.

Why we need a Strong GlassFish

As the founder of a company that is vendor independent. I think it is imperative for the Java EE community that there is a strong vibrant GlassFish server. Having GlassFish out there as a viable production open source Java EE server drives competition. Competition drives innovation in competing products. Competition drives quality in competing products. Competition drives adoption through visibility and choice. If GlassFish fades then I'm afraid that the whole of Java EE fades. There will be no competitive incentive to drive innovation in WildFly, although I'm sure the RedHat engineers wouldn't consciously drive down innovation and quality but competition naturally keeps them lean, mean and fast. If GlassFish in the future fails to deliver a good out of the box experience for Java EE 8 and beyond due to poor quality or poor performance then future Java EE adoption as a whole is threatened. This threatens Oracle WebLogic, RedHat JBoss EAP, IBM WebSphere sales as where are the developers to choose the big beasts for production?


Optimism for the Future

Over 6 months have passed and I've been trying to take stock of where we are. I've recently hosted a community Community Q&A session with Reza Rahman and the London GlassFish User Group and  organised a BOF at Devoxx UK with David Delabassee to get the community involved in what is happening with GlassFish. We've watched the code archives and started our own builds

After these events, I'm heartened and optimistic that GlassFish is here to stay. After an initial downturn in activity it seems Oracle are starting to get their act in gear and understand why GlassFish can not fade or become a toy. They have now announced a bug fix release of GlassFish to include JDK 8 certifications and updates to many of the core Java EE component libraries e.g. Tyrus and EclipseLink. Some key points to come out of my discussions with people at Oracle which leave me optimistic are;
  • Many of the core Java EE libraries will eventually be the core Java EE implementations in WebLogic so will require development and bug fixing.
  • There is no intention to turn GlassFish into something like the old J2EE SDK
  • Security fixes to GlassFish are still a priority
  • GlassFish 5 development to align with Java EE 8 is planned.


Feed the Fish!

As David Blevins from Tomitribe rightly blogged  open source software is not free and needs community support. It is with this in mind that C2B2, even though we are vendor independent, will be hiring and dedicating some engineers to work on the core GlassFish code base for our support customers. We will also work to mobilise community involvement in GlassFish through Java EE and GlassFish user groups and we are kicking off a BOF at Java One


  1. Theres really no incentive to use glassfish or any product that can't even deliver the first minor patch release within a year. The project is a zombie at best...

  2. Thanks for the troll. We'll see what happens in the future to see if the zombie reawakens. JBoss AS 7.1.1 survived as big a gap without a patch. You can always contribute if you use GlassFish.