As I was reading through Shaun's blog discussing OSS penetrating deeper into the enterprise at higher points in the stack, it hit me that traditional license middleware revenue will follow the same curve as mainframes and UNIX operating systems did when those were confronted with paradigm shifts. These products did not die, but they ceased being high growth businesses and became cash cows.
Add to that the nonsensical statements emanating out of some of our competitors like - "We don't ever run into JBoss in our customers"; or "JBoss is not really open source". These are the same types of statements made about UNIX and PCs by mainframe-generation IBM executives in the 1980s and by UNIX industry executives made about Linux in the late 1990s. In each case, a few years later...you know the story. Well, technology changes, but people don't change much!
So extrapolating out, we get to 2011 or 2012 as the year when we'll see license revenue for middleware (App Servers, Portals, Integration/ESB, Messaging, BPM, etc... collectively) go flat to negative year-over-year. The open source based subscription model will triumph as it provides greater value to customers!
P.S. JBoss is deployed in at least 37% of enterprises world wide. And last I checked, the license for most JBoss projects is LGPL which is an OSI blessed license meaning software licensed under the LGPL is "real" open source. A couple of the JBoss projects, such as Drools, are licensed under the ASF open source license. We welcome and encourage your participation in the JBoss.org community!