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BERLIN—Some might call it the French Connection, and others might call it the falling of a wall, but the agreement between JBoss and the ObjectWeb consortium to collaborate on open-source technology is a breakthrough in the middleware world.

At JBoss World Berlin here, Paris-based Bull and JBoss, a division of Red Hat, on Nov. 21 announced a worldwide technology and business partnership to accelerate the development and deployment of interoperable open-source middleware solutions for enterprise SOA (service-oriented architecture).

Jean-Pierre Barberis, general manager of Bull Services and Solutions, made the announcement during the morning keynote at the conference. The new partnership builds on Bull’s existing alliance with Red Hat and is JBoss’ first strategic partnership in Europe to include open-source research and development collaboration.

Marc Fleury, the founder of JBoss and senior vice president and general manager of the JBoss division of Red Hat, said the move is significant because it brings together two middleware camps that before were essentially “fighting” to now work on pushing out the same technology stack.

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Fleury is referring to the ObjectWeb consortium, of which Bull is a founding member. ObjectWeb is the creator of the JOnAS (Java Open Application Server) application server, which has been perceived as a competitor to JBoss. However, as part of this agreement, Red Hat will strengthen its involvement with ObjectWeb, including working closely with Bull on the future development and extension of ObjectWeb, both Fleury and Barberis said.

Bull and JBoss will work together in three primary areas: research and development collaboration; system integration, where Bull will add the JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite to its portfolio of open-source solutions known as “Open Energy”; and subscriptions, where Bull will resell JBoss subscriptions and provide first- and second-level support with Red Hat providing third-level technical support.

“How appropriate for Berlin, the breaking down of walls,” Fleury said to Barberis on the show stage. “We will warmly welcome your developers to our ranks.”

Fleury, who is French, dubbed the union “the French Connection,” as JBoss has French origins although the company is based in Atlanta. He said he and Barberis came to an agreement to work together over dinner in Paris, where much wine was consumed and a deal was hammered out.

Barberis said ObjectWeb has a road map in place with plans for JOnAS versions 4 and 5, so there is no plan to move toward a merger with JBoss, “but we will have better interactivity and better collaboration on the stack,” he said.

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