Sunday, February 28, 2010

How about OpenJET?

I've had numerous occasions to "pop the hood" on JET to add functions or debug problems, and one of the things I appreciate is how it is implemented in well structured scripts. JET doesn't use complex frameworks or app servers just for the sake of adding "web 2.0" to a marketing slide. It's as simple as it needs to be. Bravo!

One thing I've noticed is that there's a HUGE amount of opportunity for enhancing JET, both in terms of optimizing existing code (increase use of functions, internal documentation, etc) but also in terms of enhancing functionality with new modules or new features in existing modules. Unfortunately, Sun (ahem, Oracle) is not really exploiting these opportunities in a timely manner. JET updates don't happen very frequently. I would expect that's due to economic strains impacting resources, and I don't expect the IT economy to suddenly produce a legion of JET developers.

Why not create an open community for the development of JET? There's all kinds of energy at OpenSolaris for next generation provisioning / packaging. If there were an OpenSolaris project for today's JET product I think we'd see it really take off. Many of us need to perform these enhancements either way, but we'd all benefit if we could leverage each others work and continue the evolution of a fantastic framework.

I'm hoping that resistance to opening JET isn't due to Sun Professional Services. JET is great, but it isn't rocket science. SunPS can always retain copyright or restrict distribution of their proprietary modules (as they always have). But the base framework screams to be open sourced, or turned into a community.

If Sun won't open the code it's tempting to try a black-box rewrite (I have no desire to break Sun's licensing - I respect their rights to code they developed!). It would certainly be a fun science project. Unfortunately, it would also be a waste of time given that an existing code base would make such a perfectly suited foundation.

So, how about it, Sun? OpenJET?

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