"Why did Sun have to come up with yet another AppServer ?" he asked at the Project GlassFish booth
(pic) at the Sun Tech Days
in Chennai. The query had the tone of a person who has been in the Appserver world and was a bit concerned about the two Appservers we supposedly had.
"No. The Application Server is the same as the one we have , we have open sourced the development under the name Project GlassFish
." I replied. He seemed satisfied with the reply and went on to ask questions about the SJSAS 8.2 and 9.0. He would have a liked a CD with GlassFish ( SJSAS 9.0 ) on it , since bandwidth is a problem in India and downloads are not exactly "free". We had a SJSAS 8.2 CD with Netbeans. That was enough to get him happy enthusiastic and go away promising me that he was going to evaluate both of them.
Sun Tech Days in Chennai was a far different experience than FOSS.IN. For starters we had folks who knew Java ( or wanted to know more about Java ), folks who knew Sun and were there because they were interested in know more about Sun. That makes it much easier to talk about what you have to offer , than when you have to start by saying "We have an Application Server too ! ".
The crowd was huge and I would not get into guesstimating the numbers. There were folks who kept track and I am sure they would tell the world about it. What mattered to me was all of them were interested in Java , Java EE and GlassFish. I would say about 50% of them came from the consulting companies and SIs like Wipro, TCS and Cognizant Technology Solutions , and of course Accenture . The other 50% of them were students from colleges around Chennai and Tamil Nadu, and , I can tell you that there are a lot of engineering colleges in and around Chennai which provide the workforce for the companies mentioned above. The other folks from Sun included the Java DB
folks, Sun Java Studio and the Open Solaris groups.
Day 1 was a busy day which included a keynote by Laurie Tolson and Karen Tegan and also with a talk about GlassFish by JeetKaul. With the crowd building up from 9:00 AM onwards it was becoming a task for the three of us Murthy , Gajanan and myself to engage each and everyone who stopped by in a meaningful conversations.
The plan was get a few people to sign up to java.net and get them to the GlassFish site. If were to use George W's phrase I would be saying " We mis-underestimated the response". The Netbeans CD with SJSAS 8.2 was the bait and almost everyone wanted to sign up. At some point of time we started asking folks whether they knew what they were signing up for .Barring a few , almost everyone knew . Let say out of 10 people 5 were students and wanted either Netbeans or the AppServer or both. Some were quite kicked up about being able to contribute to a Open Source project. Of the other five , most of them were developers and wanted to either play around with the Application Server or Net Beans and were quite happy to sign up on java.net as long as there was no commitment involved. The take aways were the few people who got our e-mail ids and promised to get back to us saying they have a few projects in mind and they would get started on this soon. I would wait and watch ! We ended up giving away 600 CDs of NetBeans 5.0 and SJSAS 8.2
Did we hear of competition ? Oh yes ! WebSphere for most of the time, WebLogic a few times a bit of Tomcat and even less JBoss. I guess 7out of 10 developers who said that they use Appserver use WebSphere . Why ? Because the customers want it that way.
Jeet's talk (pic) on Day 1 was a hit and there was a correlation in the surge in the crowd later in the day after the talk. His T-Shirt throws were seemingly popular. Wonder why not many people came and asked for T Shirts at the booth ? Maybe because yours truly politely said "you get a T shirt when you engage in a meaningful conversation with us".
We gave away 100 T shirts in one and half days !
Day2 was similar to Day1 and the folks who stopped by were more focused in their talks. We had a good number of discussions on Hibernate vs EJB3 implementation that we have. There was a question on why we did not go with Hibernate instead ? A good response to that question is .
I would happy even if 10 people we have met register at java.net and 1 person starts contributing to the Project GlassFish in the next 1 month !