Why would Sun make a JEE server that invents an alternative to JEE

Subscribing to a host of Eclipse-related blogs on my Google Reader account I come across a number of interesting post. And I just read one by Neil Bartlett about the recent Glassfish V3 Prelude release by Sun.

There is not a lot to say about the post as he is mostly correct that the inclusion of OSGi mostly a plumbing thing in the JEE App Servers of the day. But at least it seems to be a much better technology that basing everything on JMX, since it was never really meant to be used to handling loading of all kinds of things in a complex server.

The reason I am responding to the post at all is that I find it somewhat strange that anyone would even consider the idea that Sun would invent a competing development- and deployment-model to JEE, even if perhaps not surprising from a person is very focused on OSGi. The whole idea about Glassfish (and Jboss and WebSphere) is that they implement the JEE spec as set by a JSR.

And as far as I know there is no standard even defined for deploying enterprisy applications in OSGi. So if we are going to make a new way to deploy stuff in OSGi, perhaps someone should come up with a model that can actually replace JEE instead of just saying it is “broken” and then have everyone rolling their own way of doing things. If we are all doing things in different ways we don’t need an App Server to begin with, we will just load the modules in OSGi we need and figure out how to put them together ourselves, without putting it all in Glassfish…. or Jboss or WebSphere.

What I find odd about the usage of OSGi in Glassfish is that Sun is still working on a component model of their own, to be included in a future Java release while OSGi isn’t. But it seems that the developers inside of Sun isn’t going to eat that dog food and are just going with what everyone else are using in the first place.

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  • It’s a reasonable question, and perhaps it is too much to expect for Sun to be leading the way in building an enterprise OSGi application server.

    But other vendors certainly are working on this, and there is an Expert Group within the OSGi Alliance tasked with defining the standards required. Sun can choose to influence that process by taking some leadership in it, or they can be dragged along kicking and screaming. It’s really up to them.

    The component model you refer to in your final paragraph is presumably JSR 277. Glassfish cannot eat that dog food because it does not exist and probably never will.