Announcing Open Source Web Server

I'm happy to announce that our Web Server product (about which I've been writing here for a few years now) is now open sourced and available as part of the OpenSolaris Web Stack community!

Well, technically it is not exactly the Web Server product, since the open sourced code does not include some of the value-add components such as the administration framework. But it is the real deal, the massively scalable web server core which is used in the JES Web Server 7.0 product is now all open source!

This marks another milestone in the very long history of this web server. Back in the 90's this was the Netscape Enterprise Server, which later morphed into the iPlanet Web Server during the Sun|Netscape Alliance. After some years it was renamed the SunONE Web Server and most recently renamed again to the JES Web Server (Sun just like to keep you confused, thus the constant renaming of the product!)

The code is placed under BSD license, this should allow for good cross pollination with other web tier projects.


Source code is available via:

% hg clone ssh://

Build instructions are here:

(The code itself is highly portable as you can see based on the supported platforms of the commercial product. Building on other platforms is a bit more involved due to dependencies so the build instructions only cover the more flexible platforms.)

(edit: adding link to top level info page)

More info here:


Let's see how the source looks like.

The old iPlanet server gave off every external indication that the source would be pretty horrible, but let's see how it really is.

Posted by Mikael Gueck on January 13, 2009 at 03:37 PM PST #

The product was overhauled thoroughly (probably recoded) going to v7.0; don't expect to find a lot of the legacy-Netscape codebase in there. AFAIK this was the last of the old iPlanet suite to be rebuilt/relabeled; most of the other elements (LDAP, email, etc) were displaced some time ago.

[Former Netscape major-account SE who fled the sinking ship summer of '98...]

Posted by Robert Halloran on January 16, 2009 at 05:14 AM PST #

Could you please provide a tarball for those of us who do not use Mercurial. Thanks!

P.S. I had to turn on Javascript to post this comment. Boo!

Posted by Chris Hills on January 16, 2009 at 07:50 AM PST #

This is great to get a hold of, I've already learned a few good tricks reading through the code. Is there anyone over there considering releasing old code, namely the ASP parser you guys discontinued last year? I always thought that would be a good project for the open source community to work on for legacy migration stuff.

Posted by Terrence Curran on January 16, 2009 at 08:43 AM PST #

I will pass on the request for a tarball, I don't see why we couldn't make that available.

To the previous comment, WS7.0 was not a rewrite (except for the admin infrastructure which is not part of the open sourced code anyway) so there is still some code dating back to the Netscape days.

Posted by Jyri on January 16, 2009 at 08:47 AM PST #

Hello Terrence - Open Sourcing ASP Server is something that is under consideration. Please contact me directly (jmccabe SwirlyA if you'd like to help make the case for it.

Posted by Joe McCabe on January 16, 2009 at 05:24 PM PST #

Great news. But I can't find a reason, why JSP/JSF support has been removed, since the server is very fast with that technology. Why is that? Will there be a seperate Webserver product from Sun in the future or will everything move into Glassfish? Can you talk a bit about the future of the OWS and its relation to Glassfish? Thanks

Posted by Dennis on January 16, 2009 at 06:32 PM PST #

We'll pass along the question about the JSP/JSF container along with other Java components of Web Server such as Administration framework not currently included here.

As for your question about Web Server product and Glassfish:
Sun's infrastructure software product line continues to include choice web server and application server offerings. It's about offering real choice. Glassfish Enterprise Server offers full Java EE based application services. It's true there are overlapping technologies in Sun Web Server but it's fundamentally a web server with support for heterogeneous (native and Java based) dynamic web application technologies along with the security and scalability you would expect while deploying in web tier and DMZs. Sometimes you might need one and many times you probably need both. infrastructure, for example, uses both Web Server and Application Server. Sun Blogs [1], is wholly deployed on Web Server and uses a combination of native URL rewriting and Roller Java web application.

By the way, we have similar offerings in Sun Web Stack product [2] which includes Apache web server and Tomcat application server offerings! Again, it's about having a choice of tools you as deployer like to have at your disposal.

Hope this helps! Thanks for your interest in Sun Web Server and Sun's open source efforts.


Posted by cvr on January 17, 2009 at 03:42 AM PST #

Is there support for the Cool Stack product at this point? I thought that was only offered for evaluation and developer use.

Posted by Robert Halloran on January 18, 2009 at 02:45 AM PST #

Hello Robert,
Thanks for your interest in Cool Stack. Yes, Sun Web Stack, formerly Cool Stack, will have production support very soon. Please look for announcement on the forum [1] and the product pages [2]. Thanks again.



Posted by cvr on January 18, 2009 at 11:02 AM PST #

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