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Red Hat, Novell Kick Off Open-Source App Server Battle

The two leading commercial Linux vendors--Red Hat and Novell--have fired the first shots in the next open-source market battleground: application servers.

At this week's LinuxWorld Expo, Red Hat formally released its Application Server based on ObjectWeb's Jonas open-source project. Novell unveiled an expanded partnership with JBoss and plans to phase out its own Extend application server.

And during a Tuesday press conference at LinuxWorld, Novell announced a bundle of the JBoss Application Server with its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9, introduced at the show. Novell also said it plans to include JBoss Application Server 4.X in place of its own application server with the next upgrade of Extend in 2005.

Novell will continue to offer support for its Extend application server as well as IBM WebSphere, BEA WebLogic and Jakarta Tomcat but will now use JBoss rather than its own application server in the Extend suite. Novell Worldwide Services will offer full migration services for customers that want to migrate from Extend or other proprietary application servers to JBoss, company executives said.

Chris Stone, Novell's vice chairman, Office of the CEO, took a swipe at Red Hat by pointing out that JBoss--not Jonas--has more popular support. "JBoss has 50 percent market share. It's clear that's what customers want," Stone said, adding that Novell's support of JBoss is far more than an endorsement. "The relationship is fairly deep. It's a bundling and support relationship."

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