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How does JBoss make money?

 
Greenhorn
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?
 
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thru commercial support
 
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JBoss (or actually Red Hat) makes money by offering support.

The free downloads you get from the website are the community versions which come with no support whatsoever. Well, you can ask questions here or on the JBoss forums and hope for an answer - easier questions are more likely to generate a response, but it you ask a very technical or in depth or length question, it is just as apt to get ignored. Or you might be given a hint to obtain a support contract. If you are comfortable in doing your own debugging or patching and not afraid to get your hands dirty in the code, this is often a good way to go.

When you pay for support, you get a support account and can use that log into the support portal where you can download the supported versions of various JBoss middleware offerings. The support portal also provide an area to submit support requests. Those are answered promptly. Everyone I know who has Red Hat support for JBoss products is very happy with it - often you get the guys that wrote the code working to help you with your problem. If money is involved (example: every minute your web site is down you lose a potential $1000 dollars in revenue), having a support contract is well worth the money.
 
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JBoss sells subscriptions. That's the official answer. Of course, they are still working to educate the industry what that means exactly. Peter does a nice job of explaining the difference between the community and commercial bits. However, I want to provide some extra information to may make you feel a more comfortable with the whole situation.

Open source software means many things to many people. To JBoss, it's about empowering the users of the software to become part of the process and contribute their ideas, bug reports, patches, and guidance and to have the freedom to use the software for free. The community version is as strong as the community that is actively involved in developing it. Some projects have community members that are so passionate that you get answers and bug fixes very fast. Other projects may have a slower turnaround. Because it's community supported, you are at the whim of the community and their personal time. That goes for all open source projects.

If you need reliable dates, dedicated resources, and dependable progress, then what you are looking for a subscription. JBoss doesn't view people using the community version as freeloaders and the commercial customers as more respectable. The commercial customers are the business customers and the community members are contributors.
 
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