Open Source Java Implementation Nears Completion

The Apache Software Foundation is looking to finish an
The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) has announced that its Apache Geronimo Java effort has been upgraded to an official project, with the goal of producing an open-source-certified implementation of the Java 2 Platform in the fall. "Apache Geronimo satisfied our requirements to become a project," said Geir Magnusson Jr., project chair, in an interview Wednesday. "It is out of the incubator stage and is now top level and on a peer with other projects." The objective is to produce a Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition (J2EE) specification licensed by Apache and offered to the public free of charge.

The AFS currently has more than 20 efforts of project quality. The best known of these is its HTTP Server, which has been the leading Web-server platform for eight years. The formal announcement of project status for Apache Geronimo was made by Greg Stein, ASF board chairman, and Dain Sundstrom, a Geronimo cofounder.

Magnusson said about "20 committers"--programmers committed to working on the project--are currently dedicated to Geronimo. He added that scores of additional volunteers are working on different supportive roles. Committers play a key part in the development of Apache projects because, for instance, they can make modifications to the software specification and can implement patches.

Magnusson pointed out that the ASF has "hundreds and hundreds of people from all over the world" who contribute to the development of its projects. Many of them work on their own, beyond formal ASF committee membership.

In announcing the upgrade of Apache Geronimo, the ASF noted that its success to date has been possible because of its extensive collaboration with other open-source middleware communities, including OpenEJB and ActiveMQ from Codehaus; JOTM and ASM from ObjectWeb; CGLIB and MX4J from SourceForge; and Jetty from Mortbay. Also contributing heavily to Geronimo are ASF communities Apache Tomcat and Apache Axis, the foundation said.

Magnusson said that, when released, Apache Geronimo would "run anywhere where Java runs. If you can run Java version 1.4, you will be able to run Geronimo." The open-source implementation will be provided free of charge. Users will have the ability to modify Apache Geronimo if they wish.

The Apache Geronimo project is following the ASF's standard approach to develop open-source software: Work begins under the oversight of the Apache Incubator, which ensures that a healthy community is built up around a new effort before it becomes an official project. "The process also provides oversight and inspection of the code base to ensure that it conforms to the Foundation's high standards for licensing and integrity," the ASF stated. Sundstrom noted that the Geronimo team worked with its partner communities to build the server quickly. The project community teams usually proliferate "by tens of participants at a time," Sundstrom added.

The ASF's experience with its Apache HTTP Server is illustrative of how the ASF develops its products, project by project. The ASF initially released the Web server to provide a standards-compliant commercial-grade reference platform. Gradually, Apache HTTP Server was improved by different volunteers. In a recent Netcraft survey of Web usage, the server was the top product in its class, with 69 percent market share and 15.7 million active servers utilizing it.

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