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SpringSource makes OSGi components pledge

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SpringSource is taking steps towards becoming an online destination for those hunting open-source Java components guaranteed as OSGi-compliant.

The company is today expected to launch the dm Server and Enterprise Bundle Repository with 400 OSGi components for server-side and interface Java apps, hosted on Amazon's S3 cloud.

SpringSource, who recently launched its OSGi dm Server, is guaranteeing repository artifacts work in all OSGi environments. The company said it had validated components with a "strict governance model" to ensure they had the necessary OSGi metadata and to identify dependencies between packages.

Most of the 400 components come from Apache and Spring, steward of the open-source Spring framework for Java. Spring chief executive Rod Johnson told The Reg, though, that he hopes to certify other open-source projects and JAR files over time.

SpringSource said it wants to make OSGi - which is relatively new to the industry - easier to use. It’s fair to say, though, that it’s also trying to prime the market for uptake for dm Server, given SpringSource has placed a huge strategic bet on OSGi.

The Enterprise Bundle Repository is free even though it is billed as an "enterprise bundle," and SpringSource last month introduced an Enterprise Maintenance Program for paying subscribers.

Johnson promised he had no intention of charging for the access of open-source technologies through the repository.

Also, access to the repository is not restricted to Spring's dm Server or Spring-based tools. Johnson said other OSGi application servers and build tools such as Maven could also access artifacts stored in the repository.

Why so generous? "Our goal in doing this is to make OSGi easier to use in the enterprise," Johnson said. The idea is developers working with OSGi application servers and frameworks don’t have to find and evaluate their own components.

If there is a catch, it's that the repository is apparently provided "as is" - without any kind of support.

Repositories of re-usable components for Java - and .NET - are not a new idea. They've been offered before only to go unused as people preferred to build their own or refused to share. Johnson promised things would be different with the Enterprise Bundle Repository.

"The biggest single factor in whether or not a repository is a success is if it solves a real problem," Johnson said. "We believe this really does solve a clear and present problem in terms of a suitably packaged and tested environment. We believe OSGi is a key technology to the future of enterprise Java development." ®

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