GlassFish vs. WebLogic - 10 visions for the future

Markus Eisele
The Sun/Oracle merger raised some questions about the future of different components. One of interest to me is the GlassFish Application Server. Beside the Oracle WebLogic it is the next Java EE Application Server in Oracle's portfolio.
Not really much concrete has been said about the future coexistence of both. But some postings, slides and webcasts are around. Time to summarize them and draw some conclustions. To be honest: Non of the thoughts here are confirmed by anybody. Especially not by Oracle! I don't know if the described things will happen and I don't have any detailed insights in both products timelines or roadmaps. Happy to discuss everything and read about your thoughts.

1) "GlassFish continues as the Java EE reference implementation and as an open source project"
This is a statement, that is totally clear. Nothing will change. It will continue as an Open Source project and you will have a new RI for any of the comming Java EE versions.

2) GlassFish software licensing
Most of the components of the GlassFish plattform are available under a Dual License consisting of the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) v1.0 and GNU Public License (GPL) v2. Details for GFv2 kann be found on the GF Wiki. This will stay the same for most of the modules. Except for those, making the way into WebLogic Server. I expect this to be at least the following three: Metro, Jersey, Grizzly

3) Equinox will NOT be the OSGI platform for the Weblogic DM Server
As presented on last years OOW (WebLogic Server Architecture, OSGi and Java Enterprise Edition, Adam Leftik and Jeff Trent), the Equinix Platform has some drawbacks (Lacks a Generic Application Framework, Application Isolation, RFC-133 Context Class Loader). Therefore I expect the Weblogic DM server to use something else. I don't know if this will have any effect on GF. It is possible that the OSGI platform of GF will change, too.

4) There will be NO GlassFish v3 with clustering capabilities
The slide #15 of the Oracle + Sun: Application Server webcast states, that GF will be for productive and agile development. WLS is the availabillity and scalability solution. Therefore the v2 was the last GF with clustering facilities.

5) Metro, Jersey and Grizzly will make it to the WebLogic 11g
As mentioned by Thomas Kurian in the strategy webcast. These are great assets from the GF family and I believe that those three projects will make it to WLS.

6) There will be tool support for migrating GF Apps to WLS
The complete development to production staging process will be adressed by upcomming Oracle solutions. JDeveloper and/or OEPE will have plugins/support for automatic migration of GF apps to WLS. The WLS split deployment directory structure will also be enhanced with staging features. There will probably also be new maven plugins supporting dev and productive builds with GF and WLS.

7) Embedded GlassFish will be bundled with the OEPE
Beeing the development platform of the future, it is obvious that OEPE will bundle an embedded GF in the future.

8) JDeveloper will get support for GF
Beeing the development platform of Oracle could lead to having build in support for GF development in JDeveloper.

9) NetBeans will become the Java ME IDE
Having more and more GF support in JDeveloper and OEPE leads to a further specialization of NetBeans. It will become the Java ME IDE of the Future.

10) There will be a complete ADF implementation for GF
ADF will become available on GF, too.

Post a Comment


  1. Markus, you have a good way to incite bloggers and tweets :-)

    As you note your predictions should be considered speculation not reality as some folks seem to be indicating elsewhere. We (Oracle and Sun) are working with the closely with the GlassFish team on a roadmap to address many of the issues you are predicting on and plan to come out with an updated roadmap at the conclusion of those talks.

    There are some things I can comment directly on now and hopefully these are helpful:

    #2: On OSS licensing: There are no plans to change the open source GlassFish licensing for any of the GlassFish modules that I am aware of as I work directly with the team right now in the integration process. The impact of WebLogic on this will be zero. A simple example: As you may know Oracle already uses JAX-WS from Metro in WebLogic Server proper today and this has not impacted nor will it impact in any shape or form the CDDL/GNU licensing of Metro. We simply conform to the CDDL licensing requirements as do many other application server infrastructures that use Metro. As I note on my TSS post ( we will maintain both the open source licensing model and a commercial licensing model for GlassFish as Sun did.

    #3. On OSGi: Adam's and Jeff's session at OOW outlined areas where we as Oracle see engineering investment is needed to make OSGi even more viable for enterprise application server usage. To reflect this belief, Oracle has a lot of initiatives around OSGi within the OSGi Alliance and most recently has been involved in a flurry in the Eclipse community work including being an instigator/contributor behind the proposed Project Gemini focused around enterprise level OSGi services ( and seeing the emergence of the complementary/proposed VMWare/SpringSource Project Virgo ( focused around an enterprise OSGi runtime on top of Equinox.

    #4 On clustering: Clearly GlassFish 2.1 has clustering today and 3.0 currently does not. Customers depend on the GlassFish 2.1 implementation and as I have said on TSS we are committed to continue supporting it per our lifetime support policies.

    We are very much working with the team to assess how clustering will fit on the 3.x roadmap given it was already on the original 3.x roadmap - the ideal will be at least parity with 2.1 - so judge on the result when we deliver versus ahead of the plan.

    Clearly with 3.0, as it is now, is effectively single instance (by design in order to deliver a timely JEE 6 implementation). Interestingly lots of customers today already do some level of HA with load balancing already in front of GlassFish 3.0 using such approaches as Apache+mod_proxy because they like the quality, capabilities and runtime of the v3 release compared to other open source offerings.

    #6-#10: On tooling/framework we will be working with those teams to give direction here but I think the broadcasts on give a pretty good sense of what the story is here in the tools area - there is commitment to JDeveloper, Eclipse and Netbeans spelled out very clearly:

    When you see us publish updated information we will be addressing most if not all of your issues.


  2. As Mike states, we are working closely together to deliver the roadmap. As a member of the GlassFish team, I can say that Oracle sees a lot of value in GlassFish the product and the GlassFish community. Feedback is welcome.

    John Clingan
    GlassFish Product Manager

  3. Hi John,

    could you please comment on the cluster feature speculation on GF v3?


  4. nevermind, you already did

  5. Let me post an offical "Thank-you" to Mike and John for providing the answers! I am soo looking forward to see the roadmap!

  6. I posted a similar thought on GF3 clustering at
    and have a reference of your post at my blog [ GF3 Clustering may not be supported

    Will love to hear more about any new developments in future. My blog readers are also eagerly waiting on the GF3 roadmap.

  7. I can't understand why Oracle would expend ANY more engineering effort to add even the smallest feature to GlassFish. It clearly states in everything I've read that GlassFish will be the RI for JEE and for use in _development_ environments.

    Even in its "Application Server Strategy" white paper, on page 13, where it struggles to present GlassFish alongside WebLogic as "equal", it underlines "development" and concludes with "Easy transition to production".

    It doesn't make sense for Oracle to develop / maintain / support two JEE platforms aiming at production, especially after having paid such a load of money to acquire Sun (it obviously needs some profits ASAP). It also doesn't make sense for Oracle to continue developing a free, open-source project that would compete with its flagship WebLogic!.

    On the other hand, which customer in their right mind (who thinks well how to spend hard-earned available budget) would spend a cent on the commercial GlassFish, a product aimed at development, as stated by Oracle itself, and not prefer the open-source edition, or spend something more to get the "premium" WebLogic? My guess is, GlassFish will remain the JEE RI, period.

    I'd also like to project this discussion to the VMs now owned by Oracle, Hotspot and JRockit. Why oh why would Oracle develop / maintain / support two VMs? I wonder if they will repeat the "Hotspot as RI for 'development' and JRockit as 'premium' for production" song.. My guess is, JRockit will go bye-bye, only to get some maintenance and support for existing customers.

    These are the 2 cents from someone following Java and Sun since 1998.. feeling a bit sorry TBH...


  8. I think there is more than just having one version of everything. As a software company, we can choose using Glassfish as part of software to be used by some small/middle size companies, but eventually for critical or special applications, we can use Weblogic for customers who can pay for it. The decision is not based necessarily in terms of technical benefits, but in terms of a name and support. Different products allows Oracle to access a bigger market share, and Open Source development eventually means commercial products. A lot of open source companies have commercial version of their products, that is the trick. The same thing happens with JVM and other products like MySQL.

  9. On NetBeans becoming a Java ME only IDE, that doesn't seem to have fully convinced Oracle ;-)

    Also with a few new Eclipse projects like Sequoyah or the Pulsar distro, there's a bit more going on at Eclipse, too. Not to mention ME still faces troubles SE never had, even in all the years of Apache-Sun/Oracle dispute.

Post a Comment