By now you’ve likely read my views on OSS 1 & 2.

Here’s something you may find interesting. Red Hat released JBoss Developer Studio in early December 2007.

InfoWorld reported:

“While JBoss Developer Studio is available for a $99 subscription, support for the platform costs extra. Support agreements start at $3,500 a year. But users get access to all Red Hat and JBoss software through these agreements, Che (Red Hat product marketing manager) said.”

Huh?! So, if support for JBoss Developer Studio is extra, what exactly is in the $99 SUBSCRIPTION? For that answer, let’s head to a blog by JBoss developer Max Andersen:

A reader (Andres Testi) asks Max:

“Where is the free edition?”

Max replies:

“There is no free edition, but there is the JBoss Tools which are the JBoss.rg developed plugins and I’ll be back later this week with details about JBoss Tools 2 GA.”

Another reader (Eriks) asks:

“What are differences between free and 99$ version?”

Max replies:

“The free version does not provide:
* An installer
* Eclipse and Web Tools preconfigured
* JBoss EAP preconfigured
* JBoss AS and JBoss Seam preconfigured
* 3rd party plugins bundled and configured
* Access to RHEL and Red Hat Network
* Access to the supported software”

Lastly, a reader (Sakuraba) asks:

“If all of that stuff is not-preconfigured in the free version, is the free version usable at all?

What features wont work out of the box because of the free version not being configured correctly?

(I appreciate you effort and the fact thatRed Hat wants to earn money with this hard work, but I am interested nevertheless.)”

Max replies:

“Sakuraba – I don’t know how to explain it otherwise than what I did above. There are no functional limitations in the open source version; its just a matter about what is prebundled and preconfigured which you can do yourself for free or get from JBDS which additionally provides you access to the software that JBoss/Red Hat supports commercially.”

Okay, so we finally have an answer to what the $99 SUBSCRIPTION provides.

Since support isn’t included in the $99, you simply get a working product and you get updates to this working product as piece parts are updated. Sound like anything you’ve heard of before? If you said “a regular software product with the support removed” you’re bang on. The fact that Red Hat calls this a subscription is a shame. They are selling a product… bits and bytes. Calling this a subscription continues the “OSS obvious truth” that selling proprietary/gated access OSS products is for less pure OSS vendors.

BTW, if you try to purchase JBoss Developer Studio, you may notice the “(development use only)” text under the product name. Interesting that Red Hat, the beacon for openness and user freedom would (gasp!) limit user freedom by limiting the production use of the offering. I am not calling this out to throw eggs at Red Hat. I am calling this out for the OSS purists who hold Red Hat on a pedestal. If I were a Red Hat shareholder I would be perfectly okay with this move.

Anywho, maybe Red Hat is trying something with JBoss Developer Studio that they’ll implement in other products? When news gets out about Red Hat selling gated/proprietary OSS/OSS-based products, it may become more acceptable to do so. I believe this will be good for the OSS vendor ecosystem.

I guess time will tell.