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Early Sun middleware fans seek Oracle refuge

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Settlers on a long-forgotten Sun-Microsystems middleware island are expected to turn to open-source in greater numbers rather than stick with new master Oracle.

News of Oracle's potential acquisition has acted as a catalyst for early users of the Sun ONE application server to finally review their increasingly dated web and back-office systems and to move rather than risk a licensing hike.

Red-Hat services firm Freedom OSS, which has already been migrating Sun ONE customers to JBoss, told The Reg it expects a four-fold increase in business as a result of such reviews. The company currently moves between 10 and 15 organizations a year off Sun ONE to JBoss.

Freedom OSS chief executive Max Yankelevich said: "Oracle has served as a wake up call - these systems have not been getting a lot of attention... top management have been looking at systems and saying: 'Why are we running Sun One?'"

He noted customers don't want to experience the kind of 47-per-cent increase in licensing that hit BEA Systems' WebLogic users under Oracle, and they are taking the opportunity to standardize systems.

"The [Oracle] strategy has been, with middleware customers, to really jack up their license fees and go after the revenue base aggressively as they did with BEA. Customers are concerned their costs are going up and quality of service is going down," he said.

Red Hat has the benefit that customers are only paying for on-going maintenance, support, and development of JBoss rather than forking out a license fee.

A large number of Fortune 2000 companies jumped on Sun ONE early on, because there was a feeling that - with Sun being the creator of Java - they'd get some proper attention.

It was not to be. Sun ONE was the brand created in 2002 from the wreckage of Sun's half-heated Netscape Communications iPlanet alliance to battle Microsoft's software online. Sun ONE was soon replaced by the Sun-Java-Systems brand, and that was overtaken by Sun's late-in-the-day strategy of open-sourcing its software to try and win developer mind share and make money from support. The Sun ONE Java 2 Enterprise Edition application server became GlassFish.

But GlassFish came too late, as developers had already moved to JBoss or Gluecode.

Rather than move themselves, the Sun ONE adopters simply paid Sun to continue support for Sun ONE. ®

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