Hi, I am a phd student of Peking University. My interest is to
investigate hybrid projects (open source and backed by companies), e.g,
how it affects volunteers compared to the beginning open and free world.
I studied jboss through its log files in SVN, issue reports in Issue
Tracker, emailing-lists and information all over Internet, found some
interesting results, also have a couple of questions, hope any of you
wouldn't mind reading and answering.
JBoss seems to go through four periods since is was born in 1999.
period1: 2000.04-2001.03, pure open source project
period2: 2001.06-2004.02, hybrid project under JBoss Group LLC., aimed to Offering professional services
period3: 2004.06-2006.02, hybrid project under JBoss Inc., claimed to build "Professional Open Source"
period4: 2006.10-2010.08(to the date of my investigation), hybrid project under Redhat, to build "Professional Open Source"
If I'm wrong, please correct me.
1) It seems that JBoss gets less external developers after Redhat's
acquiring -- I identified external developers through their
emails (according to the domain of the contact email addresses in JIRA, mail-list archives: with domains “@jboss.org”, “@jboss.com”, or
“@redhat.com” to be internal for JBossAS; otherwise, to be extenal).
Is that because a new protocol requires a long process to get commit
privilege? Or, people just simply didn't like any commercial companies
getting involved therefore ran away? E.g, "There had been rumors
swirling about various people leaving JBoss after its acquisition by Red
Hat, including Marc Fleury." (See
I also observed that Geronimo showed the similar phenomena IBM stepped
in. I suppose commercial involvement might hurt people in open source to
some extent, I wonder what it is.
2) However, I found JBoss developers stay longer after JBoss LLC./Inc.
was founded and especially after Redhat acquired it.
It looks like JBoss Inc. and Redhat hired a lot people working on it.
I guess people would be happy if they are paid to do something they are
happy to do. This is the bright side of hybrids, isn't it?
Are there any specific strategies Redhat would do to keep experienced
people who have been contributing a long time in the project?
3) People always say one big advantage of oss is to have a big amount of
users reporting issues therefore help improve quality. However, I found
less issues are reported by users after Redhat acquired JBoss. Is
that because many users tend to post questions and issues on on JBoss
Community Forum where the response is faster? Or is that because
Redhat restrict the usage of JIRA so as to ensure the issue quality,
such as it requires users to first ask in forum then in JIRA?
I also found developers are the majority of issue reporters, not only in
jboss, but also in geronimo nowdays. I was wondering, is that because
jira is more for developers now (users r in forum)? Or, developers are
required to report before jumping into fixing/changing code?
I believe what JBoss is doing has great implications for software
engineering, e.g, how to build a better community, what are the best
practices to attract participators. I would greatly appreciate any
comments you might have.