Antonio Goncalves is a senior software architect living in Paris. Initially focused on Java development since the late 1990s, his career has taken him to different countries and companies where he works now as a Java EE consultant in software architecture. As a former BEA consultant he has a great expertise in application servers such as Weblogic, JBoss and, of course, GlassFish. He is particularly fond of Open Source and is a member of the OOSGTP (Open Source Get Together Paris). He is also the co-creator of the Paris Java User Group and talks on Les Cast Codeurs podcast. Antonio wrote a first book in French on Java EE 5 back in 2007. Since then he has join the JCP and is an Expert Member of various JSRs (Java EE 6, JPA 2.0 and EJB 3.1). He then published a second book for Apress: Beginning Java EE 6 Platform with GlassFish 3. For the last years Antonio has been talking at international conferences mainly about Java EE, including JavaOne, The Server Side Symposium, Devoxx, Jazoon… He has also written numerous technical papers and articles for IT Web sites (DevX, JaxEnter) or IT magazines (Programmez, Linux Magazine). Antonio is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 32 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

"Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz" (or RIP GlassFish)

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Disclaimer : I am a former BEA employee, former Weblogic consultant, author of three books based on GlassFish and use JBoss extensively. Today I’m self-employed and therefore do not belong to any company.

On the 4th of November 2013, Oracle announced the roadmap of GlassFish. It talks about version “4.1 scheduled for 2014“, alignment with Java EE 8 and so on… but the most important news are :

  • “Oracle will no longer release future major releases of Oracle GlassFish Server with commercial support
  • Commercial Java EE 7 support will be provided from WebLogic Server
  • Oracle GlassFish Server will not be releasing a 4.x commercial version
  • Oracle recommends that existing commercial Oracle GlassFish Server customers begin planning to move to Oracle WebLogic Server”

Like most of you, when Oracle bought Sun I thought GlassFish was going to die in favor of Weblogic. Years had past, both application servers were sharing more and more dependencies, and I was thinking that both would merge : GlassFish would remain, with dual licensing, sharing the goodies of Weblogic and the community of GlassFish. I was wrong.

This news brings several thoughts to me :

  • No commercial support means that GlassFish will become the good old J2EESDK, which is a Java EE reference implementation used only for playing
  • GlassFish is the RI and will always be the first app server to implement Java EE“, yes, and so what ?Organizations do not jump on a new app server just because a new EE release has been published, adoption takes time. Organizations want a good app server, not one that is just on time (being a RI is ok, having commercial support does the difference)
  • GlassFish will stay open source. Yes, but with no commercial support it will not be used in organizations
  • WildFly and JBoss have the same code base, GlassFish and Weblogic don’t (and that makes a huge difference between RedHat and Oracle app servers)
  • Customers move away from Websphere to go to GlassFish, JBoss or TomEE, not to Weblogic
  • The GlassFish community is vibrant, it is not with Weblogic (there is even a GlassFish User Group, can’t see any Weblogic user group around)
  • In this era of Cloud, organizations need lightweight and simple app servers to deploy massively
  • Google Trends tells me that Weblogic is going down compare to GlassFish, could that be true ?

If you compare IT with the car industry, Oracle’s vision is to sell luxury Mercedez Benz, not little-joe Ford : anexpensive Cloud running an expensive Application Server, storing data in an expensive Database… while everyone else is doing the opposite.

Oracle never pushed GlassFish. I dealt with many Oracle sales guys who knew nothing about GlassFish, they were always trying to sell Weblogic licenses. Look at companies like Red Hat, they know how to make business around Open Source. A shame Oracle didn’t learn how to do it (it takes time but it’s doable).

All in all, this is a very bad news for GlassFish, bad news for Java EE and bad news for the community. The only thing that makes me feel happier, is that my friends from JBoss and TomEE will have even more attraction. Saying that, competition is good and brings innovation and robustness to the application server’s world. JBoss and TomEE have an Open Source DNA and Oracle doesn’t.

Oracle, I might be wrong, but I think you are betting on the wrong horse. In the meantime, RIP GlassFish.

Special thanks to Janis Joplin

Published at DZone with permission of Antonio Goncalves, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Vaibhav Kulkarni replied on Fri, 2013/11/08 - 7:21am

Oracle are you listening? 

Steven Goldsmith replied on Fri, 2013/11/08 - 10:58am

"GlassFish will stay open source. Yes, but with no commercial support it will not be used in organizations" Then why do companies deploy Tomcat or a host of other Open Source projects that do not have official commercial support? There's third party support for a lot of Open Source projects, but typically you can get support from the users and developers through a variety of means.

I've deployed a GlassFish Cluster in production with zero commercial support. Commercial support is a corporate safety net that provides a false sense of security and someone to blame when things go wrong.

Jacek Furmankiewicz replied on Fri, 2013/11/08 - 1:01pm

 I personally think this is great news and here's why:

Steven Goldsmith replied on Fri, 2013/11/08 - 1:46pm in response to: Jacek Furmankiewicz

This makes no sense. I was hot deploying classes to exploded WAR files back in 2004 without restarts. A JEE container is much more than deploying REST services or JSON. If you want to work with just the Servlet/JSP container side of the fence there's plenty of embedded containers to work with.

Jacek Furmankiewicz replied on Fri, 2013/11/08 - 2:05pm in response to: Steven Goldsmith

 You have to try it. It just makes Java server side development so much easier. Your whole app is just 2 files, a large JAR and a single YAML file with all your config. Compared to the complexity of getting Tomcat/Glassfish/Weblogic/etc installed and configured in's night and day.

Steven Goldsmith replied on Fri, 2013/11/08 - 3:13pm in response to: Jacek Furmankiewicz

For a limited use case I can see your point, but for highly scalable, fault tolerant clusters of services GlassFish is pretty sweet. I deploy an app once and GlassFish deploys to all the instances in the cluster.

Jacek Furmankiewicz replied on Fri, 2013/11/08 - 4:30pm in response to: Steven Goldsmith

 That is actually a good selling point, no doubt about it. But...with GF gone, I assure you will have to pay through the roof for the clustering solution in Oracle's commercial tools (we all know how insane their pricing is for anything with the word "enterprise" attached to it). You may be better off just looking at industry standard solutions like HAProxy (for load balancing and high availability), Chef / RPM (for pushing app across multiple servers) and even Docker ( is a great promise.

Jacek Furmankiewicz replied on Fri, 2013/11/08 - 4:32pm in response to: Steven Goldsmith

 I also saw the first Dropwizard cartridge for the OpenShift SaaS platform, which has been on my TODO list to check out for a while now:

Steven Goldsmith replied on Fri, 2013/11/08 - 5:58pm in response to: Jacek Furmankiewicz

GlassFish isn't gone if you believe what Oracle is saying. There's just not going to be commercial support. We do use HAproxy for some operations already. GlassFish already is built to deal with LB, fault tolerance, distributed transactions, simple deployments to clusters, etc. This is a lot easier to deal with than a patchwork of various projects that are not intended to work together out of the box.

Steven Goldsmith replied on Mon, 2013/11/11 - 4:02pm

Looks like GlassFish is indeed not dead:

Oracle evangelist: “GlassFish Open Source Edition is not dead”

Yannick Majoros replied on Wed, 2014/09/24 - 2:47pm

One year later, Glassfish 4.1. Alive and kicking.

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