Two days ago I read Paul’s Infoworld coverage of JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform 4.3.

The Platform includes open source projects such as JBoss ESB, JBoss JBPM and JBoss Rules.  I knew something (good) was up when I saw a link to a “Free 30-Day Evaluation Subscription (unsupported)” on the JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform website.  So I emailed the following to JBoss’ Sacha Labourey:

Is the platform more than just downloading the piece parts (in open source format)? Or is there some pre-integration / performance improvements etc in the soa platform? I hope it’s the latter, since it would drive customers to purchase vs. just using the oss piece parts.  Frequent readers will know that I’m a proponent of selling products, not support.

Sacha replied (with slight edits):

At the core, it could be argued that a platform is just a set of project aggregated together. But that would be a very naive view on the quality engineering and release engineering processes we are going through. We take extensive care to make sure these components are compatible together, that they can leverage the same backend integration (databases, JVM, etc.). Obviously, we go through platform-specific testing which cover more than just one feature (or project) but which cover the full spectrum of features (ESB, Drools integration, jBPM integration, Smooks transformation, etc.) We want to make sure that we will be able to support those bits for the next 5 years at the minimum, while providing backward compatible cumulative patches.

Also, this release of the SOA Platform will be the first one integrating with our JBoss ON management product – that’s also something we don’t do for individual components. Also, remember that the SOA Platform can either run standalone or on top of the EAP (Enterprise Application Platform). For the latter, we also need to make sure that the components we pick up for the SOA Platform do not conflict with the ones from the EAP.

Bottom line: it is the latter :)

This is very cool.  JBoss isn’t selling support.  They’re selling valuable products (whether they would state it as black and white as I do ;-).  Selling valuable products, which can’t be acquired without paying for them, is the best way for OSS vendors to grow revenue with category B users.  Actually, in my view, it’s the best way to grow, period.