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March 29, 2005

Popularity, not politics, drives Quest to open source

Long-term Microsoft partner Quest Software might have increased its support for open source software via elevated support for JBoss but it is not about to get embroiled in a political debate about the merits of open source.

By CBR Staff Writer

The Irvine, California-based application, database and Windows management vendor is halfway through its year as Microsoft’s Global ISV Partner of the Year but earlier this month announced that it had increased its support for the open source JBoss Application Server.

The move was a response to the increased popularity of JBoss AS, rather than advocacy of the open source model, according to Quest director of business development, Hugh McEvoy. JBoss has become popular because it is open source. We support it because it is popular, he said.

Quest’s increased support for JBoss included the availability of new monitoring and diagnostics tools to support JBoss AS in production environments, and elevated the open source application server to the same level as IBM’s WebSphere, and BEA Systems’s WebLogic.

JBoss AS is already the most popular Java development environment, according to figures from BZ Research, and is beginning to make an impact on alternatives in production environments, according to Quest. While some of this popularity comes down to price and a political choice between open source and proprietary models, the biggest issue for users is choice, said McEvoy.

People are using JBoss independently of their stance on Linux or open source, he said, pointing to a contradiction in the way proprietary vendors approach the market. Java application server vendors want to differentiate themselves, but by implementing the standard there is less differentiation.

According to McEvoy, Java application server users are now more wary of tying themselves into proprietary extensions long-term, leading them to JBoss’s open source alternative. You can now have a rich application based just around the standard stuff, he said.

Despite Quest’s commitment to Microsoft technologies with the Windows management side of its business, McEvoy maintained the company is open to managing alternatives including not only Java application server environments, but also applications from Oracle, SAP and Siebel, as well as databases from Oracle, Sybase and IBM, and open source database vendor MySQL AB.

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