GlassFish is Up; Everybody Else, Down?

I often get asked about what level of adoption GlassFish has, which turns out to be a harder question than it looks and involves some level of tea leaf reading. Below I list some indicators of adoption; none of them is perfect, but they are all pointing the right direction for GlassFish: up!

GTrends for GlassFish

Downloads - There were at least 3.3M downloads of GlassFish this last year (June-to-June) and the previous year it was over 3M. Traditionally the main vehicle has been the Java EE SDK but now there is also the Java Application Platform SDK and other bundles (SDK Downloads). Direct downloads of GlassFish v2 at Java.Net (GF Downloads) are fewer but growing fast (note to self: create public dashboard).

I don't have full information on the competidors, but Apache Tomcat has more downloads (TC Stats@ASF) and, from what I can see, JBoss has fewer (JBoss Downloads@SF).

Geo Maps - Downloads don't necessarily mean active users so we started tracking also activity via Geo Maps (want to be the first user in Greenland?). Since the mechanism has several limitations we are in the process of switching to one based on the UpdateCenter, but data is not yet available. In all cases we are careful not to collect private data and we share what we collect.

Surveys - Surveys have several problems; the biggest ones being the sample set and size and the time lag. I track a bit Evans Data; the latest data I'm aware off is pretty old and shows #2 in Linux and #4 Overall. Also see BZ Research from Dec '05 where we were #5, (via RMH and via RedMonk). Hopefully we will see new surveys soon.

Another indicator of adoption are Analyst Reports - These have been looking stronger over the last year or so, and even more since we released GFv2 FCS. Check (in reverse chronological order): [Current Analysis], [Gartner], [Forrester] and [Entiva].

Deployment Stories - In a sense, the Growth of the USERS@GF mailing list is a weak representation of adoption/deployments, but we also want more concrete examples and these have been harder to capture than I was expecting. We have a fairly reasonable list at the Stories blog but the large adopters have been hard to pin down for publication (the larger the company, the more people have to approve a public statement). But last week alone I collected 5 leads (and I've heard similar from John, Alexis and others), so I think we will see more additions to that list very soon.

Sales, Contracts - Yeah, these would be good indicators but they are also proprietary and/or have customer-confidential data, so, sorry, not for now :-(.

Web Searches - So, now we get to the web. There are two obvious metrics. One is number of hits on a search engine like Google; the other is number of queries.

Web Page Hits are biased by false positives and by changes in the search algorithms, but one can look at head-to-head searches using things like Google Fights. I did one in March'07 with Friday Fun w/ Google Fights; I'll do an update in a future blog but, because of the limitations, I'm not sure how much of a trend one can capture with this indicator.

The other option is to track Keyword Web Searches. This is very easy to do with tools like Google Trends and I had done an earlier version as Fun with Google Trends. This time I'm capturing a few more trends into the graphs posted on the right of this entry but the overall direction has not changed: pretty much everybody's indicator is down, except for GlassFish.

From top to bottom:

• WebLogic - Live, Snapshot
• WebSphere - Live, Snapshot
• JBoss - Live, Snapshot
• Apache Geronimo - Live, Snapshot
• GlassFish - Live, Snapshot
• All Together (GTrends only allows 5) - Live, Snapshot
• GlassFish and Apache Tomcat - Live, Snapshot

Each graph has some biases but the trend is pretty consistent. Also note that there are no units on the vertical axis, so you need to look at the aggregate graph for relative comparisons. Finally, I know that adding "Apache" to Geronimo and Tomcat will undercount but it seems necessary to highlight the trend; just ignore the absolute information and focus on the trend for those.

Another nice tidbit from the trend data: look at the Last 30 days, per geo (Live, Snapshot). Right now, it is very nice to see Japan on top; I'd like to think it is related to Restarting the Japanese Translation for The Aquarium

Added: I had forgotten the individual graph for JBoss; I added it and resorted the images to adjust for its inclusion.




Apache Geronimo


GlassFish, JBoss, WebLogic, WebSphere, Apache Geronimo

GlassFish and Apache Tomcat


Historical download info for JBoss.ORG is available at:

Note this is running at less than 200K/month, all download artifacts combined. It also seems to have peaked...

- eduard/o

Posted by Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart on September 27, 2007 at 09:01 AM PDT #

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