Part I of IV: The Arjuna Deal


As you may have seen in the press, on Monday Dec 5th, JBoss announced the acquisition of the Arjuna Transactional engine from Arjuna and HP. We also announced the recruitment of their cofounder and CTO Mark Little.


The press was pretty good on this, about 40 articles and counting. Two of our favorites were
The phone interview with Jeremy Geelan of Sys-Con
The Register’s Gavin Clarke.”Tuxedo this, sucker”


The deal is fairly straightforward: we are acquiring three technologies from HP and Arjuna

  • The JTA engine for standalone embedding in JBoss AS
  • The JTS engine for distributed transaction
  • The WS-TX engine for distributed transactions over WebServices.


We will be open sourcing ALL this technology in the Q1 2006 timeframe. All of it is already integrated since Arjuna was a long-standing partner of JBoss. Our commitment is to Professional Open Source as a business model and open sourcing technology. We are proving that we can accelerate the timeline for product completion by open sourcing previously proprietary technology. This is a first for us.


In keeping with our professional open source methodology, Mark Little will be joining us in the capacity of Director of Standards, leveraging his background in various standard bodies. He will also lead our ESB effort. Mark is well known as one of the foremost experts on distributed transactions. As you know we care about super-stars. JBoss today concentrates many of the lead developers in our industry (and I don't count ;) We are all very proud to welcome Mark to our ranks.


The significance of this move should not be lost: we are bringing technology to the mass market that was previously a high-end, proprietary niche. By the same token we are also bringing FOSS benefits to the high-end market by reducing the cost basis and simplifying the model. This move of open sourcing previously successful and well-established proprietary technology is a benefit to both worlds.


I particularly liked the Gavin Clarke sub-title of "Tuxedo this, sucker" as JBoss Transactions will clearly be a formidable competitor to BEA Tuxedo. This represents a several hundred million dollar business in both licenses and maintenance. Despite the fact that the financial markets haven't yet picked up on the news, we are clearly going after the new market for transactions. While Tuxedo is part C, part C++, part Java, Arjuna stood out as a pure Java play from the get-go with fifteen years of TX experience behind it. Historically, distributed transactions hadn’t progressed far in FOSS because they serve a need in a high-end niche. We just closed that window. Here is the solution and it is one of the best. It removes the last significant barrier to entry competition like BEA were using against us. Time to revisit those JBoss FUD marketing slides boys. You got some catching up to do.


IBM has always been afraid of this move. I remember hearing through analysts that the scenario that personally scared them was "When JBoss would get distributed transactions". Nobody expected us to get this fast. Well, that future is now. It is a new world out there.


The real significance of this announcement is that FOSS is maturing fast, the business of FOSS is maturing fast and we are proving that we can get to market through financial ways that were previously thought out of our reach, we did this without raising debt or equity. Today, we are proving a new way of delivering FOSS technology, not just the traditional in-house approach like we did with clustering, or the proven, federation approach like we did with Hibernate; today JBoss has the financial wherewithal and market credibility to acquire proprietary technology and open source it overnight.


Tuxedo this, boys.