Red Hat is renaming and rebuilding its open source JBoss application server. The new name is WildFly and with it will come a faster and more transparent development process.
Ever since Red Hat acquired JBoss in April of 2006 for $350 million, there has been both an open source JBoss Application Server (AS) and a commercial JBoss Application Platform.
After seven years of being in the market with those two technologies, Red Hat became concerned that there was some confusion about the two products and their relationship with each other.
"The issue was that the JBoss AS naming was close to the JBoss Enterprise Application Platform so it was easy for people to get confused," Jason Andersen, director, product line management at Red Hat, told ServerWatch. "By renaming JBoss AS to WildFly we are making the separation more clear to everyone."
The relationship between WildFly and JBoss Enterprise Application Platform is analogous to the relationship between Fedora Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Red Hat terminated its Red Hat Linux product line in 2003, evolving to the Fedora Core Linux community. Fedora serves as an upstream project for Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
"So WildFly will be our upstream project and it will continue to be the leading edge of what ends up in the JBoss Enterprise Application Platform," Andersen said.
As to why Red Hat is making the move now with JBoss, it also has to do with the fact that over the years JBoss has become many things.
"There was of course the application server, there are a number of JBoss commercial products, there was the community site, etc. So when you asked someone, 'What is JBoss?' the answer was varied," Andersen explained. "What we wanted to do was cement the idea that JBoss is a portfolio of middleware products and not just the application server."
WildFly isn't just about a new name either. Andersen noted that the methods by which Red Hat plans to deliver WildFly releases will be more rapid.
"We wanted to get the community, and therefore new innovation, moving quicker," Andersen said. "Over the past couple years that was not always possible with our model."
While the JBoss Application Server name is going away the community JBoss.org site is not. Today there are over 100 projects on JBoss.org.
"Of course the biggest and most well known was the JBoss AS project, but JBoss.org is the connecting point for lots of great upstream efforts such as Hibernate, Drools and Infinispan," Andersen said. "So the community site will continue forward."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.