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Linux Business

Is Branding the Future of Open Source? 162

Khalid writes "People are still looking for good open source business models. Here is a very interesting one I found in the JBoss site. You can become a certified JBoss Group Authorized Consultant in exchange of $5000. Which comprise training and tests, in return, you can use the JBoss brand, which is quite recognized now. While this may not apply to all open source projects, I think this is a best of both worlds deal. The source is open for everybody (JBoss is LGPL). JBoss get a very solid network of consultants which make the JBoss brand even more solid (human networks never die). Users can get support and service and the people at JBoss Group can get some money to pay the bill and keep improving JBoss to make it an even better product, a very virtuous cycle." $5000 is a lot of money, though, and that cost is per-year, not a lifetime membership.
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Is Branding the Future of Open Source?

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  • A bargain! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Quasar1999 ( 520073 ) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:12PM (#4164504) Journal
    Pay me $500 a year, and I'll vouch for ya! Sure, I'm a nobody now... but wait till everyone pays me $500... I'll have a great website, and ads during the superbowl... how can you lose?

    Paypal account to follow....
  • OK, I can understand using certification as a business model and to help develop a stable of knowledgable consultants for projects. But having a per year fee on top of the certification seems like you're paying for them to help market you. So why not call it what it is?

    Personally I think having to pay on top of the certification starts to be a bit much. If I pay the 5K and don't get any work out of it, what have they really done for me?
    • I think what they're offering is not just a certification but also that they'll steer work to you through their consulting group.
      • I think what they're offering is not just a certification but also that they'll steer work to you through their consulting group.

        In which case they're charging you to be a broker. If you think you'll get enough work, that might be an ok deal. But usually a broker takes a cut of the take, not an upfront payment in case they might find you work.

        Hey, if they can get the money, more power to them. But I have a hard time seeing how people who need this level of help are being served - and the folks who can afford to pay because of the writeoff generally aren't going to need this anyway.

        Just my .02 worth...
    • by Christopher Thomas ( 11717 ) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:28PM (#4164635)
      I can understand using certification as a business model and to help develop a stable of knowledgable consultants for projects. But having a per year fee on top of the certification seems like you're paying for them to help market you.

      That depends. You could make a good argument for mandatory recertification to make sure people haven't just forgotten everything they crammed for the exam, and to keep them up to date with improvements. Making certification expire yearly accomplishes this.

      Personally I think having to pay on top of the certification starts to be a bit much. If I pay the 5K and don't get any work out of it, what have they really done for me?

      They've given you permission to use their label when looking for work, which presumably greatly increases your chances of finding it. If you still can't find any, that doesn't invalidate what they gave you.

      I'm not arguing that JBoss certification is *worth* $5K - that's a value decision each buyer has to make for themselves. I'm just pointing out that there is a justification for what they're doing, even if you disagree with the price point.
      • Personally I think having to pay on top of the certification starts to be a bit much. If I pay the 5K and don't get any work out of it, what have they really done for me?

        They've given you permission to use their label when looking for work

        And it's not like you're required to pay every year come fire or flood. If it doesn't get work for you in the first year then you're free not to renew.

    • It's Amway, in the software world.
      • Re:Amway (Score:3, Informative)

        It's clear you don't understand either Amway or the software world.

        This is a single level plan, where the individuals are certified by the organization. They cannot go out and re-certify others, and they get no financial benefit from others' efforts.

        Amway is a multi-level marketing plan where you can make profits from selling products yourself, or by sponsoring others to do so. What corrupts Amway is not its plan, which is financially sound, but the tendency of the top distributor organizations to neglect personal sales and focus on sponsorship. Sponsors are not permitted to load up their downline with products: they have to buy them back if the distributor goes out of business. BUT, they DO load them up with scads of "training materials", which are not refundable.

        In contrast, the article is about a simple plan to create an alliance program. Buying into the program gives you the right to use the company's brand in your marketing. You don't like the results? Don't renew.
        • Re:Amway (Score:3, Funny)

          by mmol_6453 ( 231450 )
          My association between Amway and JBoss sprung from the fact that you still had to pay someone to certify you periodically. I didn't catch on that the certification was done by a central organization. Touché.

          Alas, I am guilty of commenting before reading. Heck, I've got so much to do, why shouldn't I be able to add reading the articles to the list? :)
    • "Why not call it what it is?"

      These are marketing people remember.
      They're rather aversed to using proper descriptions...

      They are the same people who sell you a car but call it a lifestyle...
  • Just like you have to pay to be certified for certain OSes this could work well by infusing some cash and let those certified demand an extra $25 an hour, everyone benefits.
  • Consulting charges are not cheep, and the consultants that are good, will make their money off this. referals, additional work, etc.

    As far as cost in compairsion, I belive that it is reasonable. MS charges $1100/per year to be a Microsoft Partner. The requirements for this are two employee's must have at least one MCP each. While the price is steeper for this partnership to the OSS app, The software is OSS, and thus the money is spent on the software, not Bill, buying every ticket on every flight to HI, on the month of his Honeymoon.

    It also appears to be a good business model as well, and it could work!

    1. write software
    2. release software under LGPL
    3. ?
    4. Charge consultants $5000.00 to be partners, and build customer base, thus pushing product, building need for more consultants, thus more money!

    Lather, Rinse, Repeat!

  • Which comprise training and tests, in return, you can use the JBoss brand, which is quite recognized now.
    Maybe amongst developers. It just isn't on the radar screen with management. I don't see where the benefit is currently, enough to consider plunking down 5 grand to Mr. Fleury. When management starts specifying Jboss, then it's time.
  • 5k is a crapload of cash, 5k YEARLY is just insane. They need to have cheaper plans, like maybe $500/year, for those who want "minimal" certification.

    I hate to say it, but it's cheaper to go the MCSD route, AND you've got significantly better odds of finding a job.

  • by Sqwerty ( 602813 ) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:21PM (#4164578)
    human networks never die
    This should read: "Java programmers never die. They just don't C as well."
  • This is pretty standard. Wanna be an IBM business partner? Cough up some dough and get your certifications. Same with other companies.

    If you're good, you make enough during the year that you can easily pay the partner fee every year. If you're not good, (in a perfect world) you go away.

    I wonder how much JBoss will help in finding contracts for you. My experience with doing this sort of thing is that they tell you they'll do all these things for you, and once you've paid they disappear, leaving you to get the contracts yourself.

    I think most of the value is you being allowed to advertise that you are an XXXX authorized partner, even though having the cool logo in your brochure doesn't have anything to do with if you know what you're doing or not.
  • by Beetjebrak ( 545819 ) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:23PM (#4164596) Homepage
    That don't impress me much, as one of my favorite non-teen female singers tends to say. I can fork over $5000,- and follow a bit of training. However does that make me a good consultant for JBoss or anything else? I don't think so. Quality as a consultant in this field depends on more than just certificates and you simply can not do your job well based on just a JBoss certificate. You must know the implications of the underlying OS, hardware, network system etc. before you can make any sort of informed decision at all about anything to do with IT, including JBoss. Certification/branding, which are synonyms in my book, can only work properly if the training procedure is audited and the trainees get proper examinations where it is possible to fail. I've seen all too many courses where you just go there, sit in a classroom at a screen for two days, fill in a bogus test and receive your certificate no matter how horribly you did on your test.. You paid for it, so you're getting your cert. Practices like these make me very wary of 'branded' developers or consultants. Luckily I'm not in any position to hire personnel, I'd hate that.. but I know I would put them through a pretty strenuous pre setup hands-on test instead of an interview.
  • The web site isn't very specific about what you get for $5k/yr.

    You get to use the name & claim that a larger organization is backing you, with no details as to what sort of backup you get. You get marketing, but nothing specific other than use of the name and logo They'll take care of billing -- thankyou, but I'm quite glad to take on the arduous task of depositing the check. You get a referrals from a region, but how large is the region, how many referrals, and is the region exclusively yours?

    I'd want to have some guarentees brfore plunking down my wad of cash. Preferably a pay-as-you go approach. Send me a paying customer and I'll fork over a portion of the proceeds from that customer. If the lead is mine but helped by the brand name or a lead from a referal then I'll fork over a smaller percentage. if I independently get a customer then it's all mine! Billing is great, but an organization that will take care of collections is really useful -- make sure that I actually get paid for the work I do!

    This may be a good deal, but it'll take a lot more details before I could make an informed decision.

  • $5000 is nearly nothing to a corp! And if this will go to support an open source project by infusing money into the primary developer, then this is a wonderful idea!

    • For $5000.00, I can become a massage therapist and handle women on cruise ships and use their "happy ending tips" to donate to open source. Besides our economy is not doing so well. Another thing what does JBoss teach you about Other alternatives the client may want you to develop for them. What does Cisco teach about Juniper? What does MS teach about RHLinux? Nothing, because it goes against their business model of self promotion. Now self promotion to the consultant is the demonstration of the ability to use the Right Tool for the Right Job and it may mean that in some cases Jboss would not be the right tool. $20000.00 and up for a Phd. in Computer Science is THE CERTIFICATION. Otherwise, I'll be seening to the lovely ladies on the love boat with my $5000.00 - $10000.00 massage therapy license.
  • by 0xA ( 71424 ) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:27PM (#4164621)
    Most software companies have a whole collection of partnerships and certification programs. Some of them are godd and some not so good.

    At first glance the JBoss one looks good, you're not just handing over the 5k and getting a logo sheet to add to your business cards. You are buying training and certification as well. My first reaction to this idea is a good one, it is a revenue stream for the JBoss guys and helps them build a developer community of good people. Not really just a brand.

    The only thing I hope Jboss does is keep the bar for admitance to the program resonably high. There is no point in having a certification if your average 7 year old can pass the exams after a week of study. *cough*MCSE*cough*
  • How much is $5000 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NerdSlayer ( 300907 ) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:28PM (#4164630) Homepage
    $5k is a lot of money for a single person, but it's fairly reasonable for just about any company. Don't forget, some companies pay $80k for a single Oracle license. The requisite Oracle DBA is about 80k a year extra on top of that.
    • If your average entry-level IT Consultant is making $60k-$75k (probably about right nationwide), then without ANY extra costs, thats equivalient to 1 month of salary. Figuring that benefits, management time, etc., probably increases to $120k. So its like 2 weeks of their time...

      In other words, your two week vacation and JBoss Certification cost the company the same...

      How much of your time is spent playing Quake at the office? 80 hrs in a year? Same cost...

    • 80K... wow, the organization I contract for's enterprise license was $40 mil....
  • by ComaVN ( 325750 ) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:29PM (#4164640)
    This might mean open source projects shouldn't be given ripoff names like Mozilla, ScummVM, Gaim, Licq, etc. Rebuilding functionality of closed source applications is fine, but you might just be a bit more creative and give it a REAL name.
  • by frommageWiz ( 604932 ) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:31PM (#4164654)
    Earn $$$ and be your own boss! Thousands of people have made the switch and are now living in financial independence!

    Send $50 for informational materials TODAY!
    (slide decimal point to right as respectability of target business increases)
  • Lest see the costs of an MSCE..$15,0000

    the costs of Java Certificationfrom Sun %10,000

    I don't think the costs is too high..
    • I guess I got my MCSE before the price went through the roof (Call it 1997). But then again, I did not take the classes, but just the tests. Nowhere near $15,000 though. What bugs me though, is that I've not used the damn thing since I left the company that paid me to get it...

    • the costs of Java Certificationfrom Sun %10,000

      What the fsck are you talking about? I've got Sun's Java (Programmer) Certification - guess the cost...

      Test (must take) - $150 CANADIAN DOLLARS

      1 Class (optional) - $2500 CDN

      So there. If you already know the basics, you could just take the test for a mere $150. Better yet - it's for LIFE, not just a year (you get certified for 'The Java 2 Platform').
  • Vendors do this all the time. Siebel is notorious for it. They always talk about how they have 750 partners world-wide. In reality, any business that wants to pony up the dough can be a partner. If you have big gobs of cash you can be an impressive "Global Strategic Partner". If you times are tough, you can opt for the more affordable "Base Partnership".

    This is a wonderful system that allows Siebel marketing drones to bullshit their investors about all of their "partnerships". And it also allows consultant marketing drones to bullshit their clients about their "strategic siebel alliance".

    There is no real value in these pseudo-partnerships and sooner or later people will figure that out.

    By the way, I use JBoss and it's an excellent app server. If you do J2EE, you definitely should check it out.
  • I don't really believe open source changes SW business completely - if you talk about open source and not just the GPL license - as many tend to do. You still can make money using most of the same methods as nowadays, such choose the correct OSI license.

    Ofcourse there are cases in which you cannot build a good business based on open source, for good reasons. But that's a completely different topic.

  • Five large is a lot of cheese. Being a self-starting, motivated developer, there's nothing stopping me from browsing JBoss' code and learning all about it myself. Because it's an open-source system with no restrictions on use (other than the usual LGPL hoopla), I can suggest it as a technology and implement my solution using it as I wish.

    I see this is another grab in the vein of the MSCE, Java Certfied, ITI college grad vein of resume padding for the benefit of the company, not the individual who pays it.

    • Re:I think not (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tweek ( 18111 ) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:40PM (#4164718) Homepage Journal
      Sounds like you might be bitter that you would get passed up for a JBoss implementation over someone who has the JBoss certification.

      This isn't a bad thing, mind you.

      With opensource (and closed source too), companies need some sort of assurance. A certification from a particular project could be the assurance they need.

      Anyone can say they know JBoss but with the certification you know they at least know enough to pass the certification.

      Think about how many people you know who claim they have a skill on thier cv/resume when the truth is that someone at the previous company used it and they MIGHT have seen it on the desktop when they walked by.

      • There's no question that these technologies are big, complex masses of code. It's also unlikely that I'll be able to become certified in all of them (WebLogic, WebSphere, etc) because it's prohibitively expensive. I'm going to have to pick one and specialize in it.

        If my end-goal is to be able to sell myself as a consultant who "knows something" about one of these technologies, I'm going to have to pick the one that I feel most comfortable with and which I feel will end up paying for itself in the long run. I don't feel that I'd be gaining enough from JBoss for $5000 per year to justify that expense.

        Alternatively, I could label myself an expert, declare that I have a good background in all of the technologies and farm myself out as an "architect" and recommend technologies that I like.

        You're right: these tactics do make me a little bitter. They force developers to lay their chips on a given technology if they want to compete in that arena. Developers are rarely the ones making software decisions in a corporate environment. I think the JBoss people should look elsewhere for a business model instead of shafting the people who push for their technology. They already have a strong word-of-mouth "human network" working for them. Why not make certifications open and ask corporations to buy licenses for corporate use? Corporations have very little trouble spending thousands of dollars for licenses and in most cases actually see it as a sign of validity for a given product.
  • et al? I'd like to use a freeware j2ee like jboss but if it doesn't perform then that could actually cost me more. Should I go with resin? Are they both scalable, can anyone compare jboss and other non-freeware j2ee's?
  • by MAXOMENOS ( 9802 ) <maxomai@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:37PM (#4164705) Homepage
    How do you convince people to buy carbonated sugar water, manufactured at 1.5 cents a can, for sixty cents? Marketing! By the same token, Red Hat has become synonimous with Linux in the non-Linux world. People are willing to pay $80 for software that they can download for the cost of bandwidth, or get from CheapBytes for ten bucks. IT professionals are willing to pay big bucks for Red Hat certifications.
    • I don't think you could make and ship *empty* aluminum cans for 1.5 cents per.

      It's no secret that the stuff inside is cheap, that's why a 2 liter bottle costs $1, the same as a 1 liter bottle, and the same as for straight water.

      • Along the same point, and illustrating another important principle of the parent post, is distribution. Sure, it may only cost pennies to make carbonated sugar water... but it wouldn't cost me pennies if I want carbonated sugar water (now!) nor would it be generally feasible (here!). Marketing is only part of the Way.
      • Maybe not aluminum, but PET is just as common these days and global virgin PET resin is currently so cheap that it makes recycling plastic an economic burden that will never be justifiable in strictly market terms unless market conditions shift dramatically in reverse which is unlikely because the price reductions are due to advances in chemical engineering practice that are themselves profit bases.
        The oversupply of virgin PET resin is already huge and will only grow as PET resin is seen as a sidestream profit from other chemical processing industries. A brand new crystal clear sterile one liter PET bottle costs a fraction of a cent even when you add the cost of the automated forming machines that are available from dozens of asian manufacturers in models cheaper than a new car and capable of producing thousands of bottles per day.
        So while I'm not sure what the figures are like on aluminum, your premise is incorrect. It is not only possible for anyone with a small amount of investment money to produce soft drink containers for less than 1.5cents, it's the root of a serious challenge for recycling programs trying to attain profitability. The markte value of recycled PET is not worth the effort and energy it takes to collect it and probably will not become so in the future because raw PET resin in a clean, sterile and easy to handle form is so inexpensive.
    • How do you convince people to buy carbonated sugar water, manufactured at 1.5 cents a can, for sixty cents?

      Sure but that sixty cents is an investment in my self-worth! You see, all I have to do is put the money in the vending machine like my favorite sports hero told me to and I can sleep easily at night knowing that even though I'm a big fatass who isn't coordinated enough to waddle from the computer to the refrigerator without tripping on my D&D figure collection, I share something in common with my hero!


  • Rock on... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EvilTwinSkippy ( 112490 ) <[yoda] [at] [etoyoc.com]> on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:38PM (#4164706) Homepage Journal
    Branding is SO the way to go for open source. Half the reason the powers that be let me run RedHat is because I can get support for it. (Or rather, they can get support for it if I ever leave, get laid off, or get creamed by a bus.)

    I can use MySQL because its getting to be a recognized name, and because I can always fall back to the sleepycat license for projects that require the dark side of the force.

    Most of your turf wars (Debian v RedHat v Suse, MySQL v PostGres, etc) are all about branding. There are very few functional differences that any corporate user would notice.

    My US0.02

  • um, hello... if you are incorporated or a 1099 or W2 consultany, you are allowed to deduct a significant portion of training and educational fees when you complete your taxes. $5K for even a small company is not a big deal, especially if that company is seriously invested in open source J2EE integration...
  • Looking around the website a bit you will see that they throw multiples of 5000 USD around a lot. For example a support contract costs 5000 USD, which gets you twenty hours at 250 USD of support. WOW! THAT IS REALLY EXPENSIVE!

    My wife works at a big Investment bank where daily Front Arena consultants (expensive cost) about 1000 USD a day. And they thought that was expensive.

    Well just get a JBoss consultant. Ok I think they are professional and have their act together. But the costs are still in dot.com days... Times HAVE changed...
  • by chinton ( 151403 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {todhsals-100notnihc}> on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:51PM (#4164796) Journal
    I can see it now -- I spend a bunch of time and money learning the ins and outs of audio encoding, compression and all that good stuff... Then I get my branding: Certified LAME Engineer

    • I can see it now -- I spend a bunch of time and money learning the ins and outs of audio encoding, compression and all that good stuff... Then I get my branding: Certified LAME Engineer

      It's certainly better than being a Certified GIMP Artist.
  • The key is turning technology into products.
    A product is kept alive by its users.
    How much effort did JBoss invest before getting here?
    It takes time and money to create a product.
    And often, luck.
    But when it works, branding turns it from technology into a box.
    And people will buy boxes. They love boxes.
    See my Nikes!
    JBoss is a great example. Kudos, kudos!
  • Is this not similar to what Linuxgruven did a few years ago? They would "hire" you, then you would pay them to train you to be a Linux consultant. After that you got a great job making lots of money. Everything worked as planned except the part about the great job and lots of money. I believe the founder ended up being arrested for fraud.
  • I think that branding is the future of effective open source utilization. There are plenty of great tools out there; the big impediment to productivity increases is that everyone wants to do there own thing with those tools. If a community got together and agreed on how to use those tools at a higher level, then applications could be produced at less cost. If that same community agreed to enforce performance standards and market collectively, they could add residual value to their independent businesses. Furthermore, they could act as distribution channels for each other's vertical applications, since they would be familiar with the base code and conventions.

    I have written this concept up at http://automationgroups.com. Automation Groups International would be a non-profit whose mission would be to help ease the effects of the digital divide on developing economies by providing marketing and other services for its for-profit member Automation Groups. Open source tools are nice, but they don't do enough to help those that are just getting started.

    I envision an environment built around ArgoUML (using the XMI output to generate code), Cocoon and XMLForms (because everything will be XML-centric) and Castor (SQL has been around too long to keep writing it).

    Such an effort would require a lot of cooperation and humility (things would have to be done my way :0) - just kidding), but the work of a few people could make a difference in a lot of people's lives.

  • $5000 is not *horribly* unreasonable as an initial investment in a technology, but I would want a substantially lower annual cost for maintenance of the certification.
  • It is not a bad thing for a couple of reasons:

    If you do it, you've got proof you are the man for the job.

    Corporations just love those kind of papers, since it shows (among others) your commitment to the product.

    It gives jBoss a kind of standing since it has a qualification program.

    I probably forget some advantages.
    Really bad is it only lasts for a year. It is like other programs I've seen. You get your certificate, you get a lot of experience and then they take away your certificate, although you are still the best man for the job. They should certify you for a certain version and give the possibility to upgrade your certificate.

  • Question: What happens when other groups decide to start doing this?

    Right now it is just JBoss. But what happens when Apache starts this, then RedHat, then Jakarta, then various other groups. If I have to pay $5k just to be certified and approved for JBoss then these other groups start charging similar fees, it wont be very long before half your yearly salary is eaten up in cert fees and stuff....just so you can say you are certified.

    The price of this seems rather escalated. I can understand taking a Cisco cert...you pay $2k...take the test...and thats it...you are certified until they come out with a superior cert. Same with oracle. But what if JBoss doesnt come out with a new version with substantially new features in a year and you still have to pay $5k. This makes no sense to me.

    Sure, it may make them look more professional in they eyes of say....some managment people somewhere, but with the fees they are charging, it makes them look less credible to me.

    But thats just my opinion.
  • by stubear ( 130454 )
    ...does this sound like a pyramid scheme to anyone else?
  • Branding doesn't even work on companies that make money, advertise and have an image. But certification might work, with certain provisos.

    Consider: the biggest asset to Open Source is that anybody can fix a bug. The biggest liability is that nobody is under any influence to fix it...especially if it's something minor affecting only one customer.

    If OSS certification means you know enough about the codebase to be able to go in, find the problem, repair it, and get props for the company by uploading the fix, it'll be more than worth it. Consultants could charge more because there would be a valid benchmark to their resume's assertion that they "know the code inside and out." Companies would have the peace of mind much needed in OSS. And everybody keeps their freedom.

    An OSS Certification program -- with $5000 for a skill audit by core developers -- could be a very valuable thing. The JBoss brand, however, is kind of worthless. Just ask all those people who stare at the cute little Postgres Elephant logo on my server and then ask for MySQL anyway. Gay dolphin...
  • This isn't so much a branding situation as it is a licensing situation. It's like buying the right from Star Wars or Martha Stewart to use their name or characters on your products. JBoss has already done the work to create and propagate the brand, and presumably will continue to do so. The fee just allows the consultant to license the use of the brand. The training is then justified as a way to protect the brand image.

    This may also be an effort to get some support personnel out there without JBoss actually having to risk resources and capital. Overall, it smells like a way to generate income by licensing.

  • $5k is cheap (Score:3, Insightful)

    by photon317 ( 208409 ) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @02:19PM (#4165040)

    Even if your "company" is just one individual who knows a lot about JBoss, $5k/year is cheap. If your full-time job is being a JBoss developer/consultant, you will be charging clients per hour out the wazoo like all consultants, and raking in enough to make this amount trivial.

    I think these JBoss guys have really hit the nail on the head when it comes to making an open source business model work financially. Personally, I dislike java as anything but a client-side language for a thin GUI, so JBoss is not my cup of tea - but the model is impressive and I'm proud of them.
  • Looks like the $5k allows you to also claim some sort of relationship with the JBoss developers:

    What this buys you is detailed in the contracts but in a nutshell you get to use our logo and the "Authorized Consultant" brand in your sales materials and collaterals. Critical to your sale you can clearly state that you are part of a larger company, that of JBoss Group and even though you retain your own identity, we federate the marketing and billing/management of contracts. You minimize the risk for your clients by presenting the JBoss Group standing behind you.

    Since contract management is "federated" with JBoss Group (and other certified consultants), are they liable if one certified consultant screws up a project? After all, shouldn't the "federated contract management" have prevented the project from going astray?

  • Sounds like Amway.
  • by GOD_ALMIGHTY ( 17678 ) <curt.johnsonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday August 29, 2002 @02:32PM (#4165133) Homepage
    So little research, so much posting, it's a shame.
    This is one of the best things to hit Open Source in a long time. First of all JBoss is an excellent project. These guys are making the proprietary J2EE world nervous. Why am I going to pay for Weblogic, WebSphere or iPlanet when JBoss does the same job?

    Secondly, the JBoss development team is dedicated to Open Source Java solutions. Just read the mailing lists, check out Marc Fleury's response to McNealy's criticisms of Open Source J2EE at JBoss.org or check out the interview at theserverside.com.

    Marc heads the JBoss Group, the purpose is to allow Open Source developers to do what they love for themselves and make a decent living. They have been doing training at standard corporate rates (~3000USD for a week of training) and consulting for companies that have decided to use JBoss in house. They also sell documentation (a la FSF, but not under and Open Document license). They created the JBoss Group to allow more people to get involved making money doing what they love, Open Source J2EE development.

    Due to the success of JBoss, there are a lot of requests coming in from around the world for JBoss support, development and consulting. This is professional work at professional prices. 5000USD is nothing in the professional world. This is more akin to Microsoft Certified Solution Provider programs for independent consultants. The JBoss Group funnels contract work (support, development, training, etc) to it's members while handling the incoming requests (sales qualification, billing, etc). I don't know what kind of payoff this has for the members in terms of revenue, since that information is not publicly available.

    I've looked into this program and am excited about it. I've personally been working on a JBoss development contract since the end of January this year, porting a J2EE app from a proprietary J2EE app server to JBoss. I have no affiliation with the JBoss Group, or the project, other than being on the mailing list and hanging out a lot in #jboss on irc.openprojects.net.

    Quite frankly I don't know what else to say to the snide comments other than STFU, and get a clue. Especially timothy's snide 'become-a-certified-massage-therapist dept.' tag or the clueless comment at the end. Open Source Java projecs are a shining example of what Open Source can provide. Just look at ArgoUML, XDoclet, UML2EJB, Struts, Ant, Maven, Log4j, Xerces, Xalan, Middlegen and a ton of others. You'll see how this is providing developers with the tools they need to develop enterprise class applications quickly with good design and solid frameworks.

    I haven't seen Open Source tools sneaking into more corporate networks and development houses since Samba became popular. Everybody is integrating Open Source java tools, and those vendors that don't are being shunned by the Java development community at large. Check the forums on non-Open Source dev sites or vendor sites for proof.

    The JBoss Team and Marc Fleury should be held in the same regard as the Apache Group, Larry Wall and most of the other famous names from the larger projects. I'm saying this out of respect from my experiences professionaly and personally with this project. Of course it seems that Slashdot and many in the Open Source world treat the Open Source Java community as some red-headed step-child. Well, we're putting up, so get your facts straight and take a look. You might like what you see.

    Sorry for the spelling errors... I'm in a hurry.
  • by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @02:44PM (#4165230)
    human networks never die

    They can become partitioned by node failures, however.
  • There's an article on the JBoss site that Sun is unhappy with "JBoss upsetting their revenue model". That's a wierd complaint. But it has some substance; how does Sun plan to make money off all this stuff. Originally, the plan was to sell Sun servers, but that's not working too well right now.

    I've never used JBoss, but it's good to have basic services like a web server as 100% open source, if only so they don't go away. Sun is notorious for abandonware. I have two different Sun Java development environments which I bought as boxed products and then were abandoned by Sun. And Sun-written Java libraries are notorious for getting to about 80% done and then being abandoned. (Java3D comes to mind.) I'd be very nervous about basing a major project on software for which Sun was the only source.

  • I was planning on becoming a JBoss Group Authorized Consultant. I use JBoss/Tomcat on my 700 mhz laptop with either Oracle or mySQL when I go on-site to do any J2EE development. It is a really great piece of LGPL software. I really would hate to see them go south, although they have quite a following now. That price however...Thats pretty steep. I got Oracle certified twice for not quite that much.

    I use a lot of Open Source software in my work. I want clients to know about their alternatives. I always give a tithe to project after the fact. It's only fair, especially when a client's project completely revolves around the Open Source project.

    I don't get that much business out of JBoss to spend that kind of money though. At least not without some serious support and value added extras that they haven't mentioned yet.

    The flip side of the coin is that application servers are big business. BEA Weblogic, Oracle iAS, Sun ONE....how much do they cost? I think this is a great opportunity for businesses to train their own staff and then implement JBoss. If they can implement it themselves and support it in-house, I think the 5K is trivial. Plus they can sell those services to their clients. Couldn't do that with BEA, Oracle or Sun.

  • ... strike me as an obscene amount of money to pay considering that you don't really get anything in return. Do the majority of clients *actually* pay attention to these "for-sale" certification attached to someone's resume?

    When recruiting I've always been wary of those with a dozen or so "certified XXX" labels attached to their resume - I found they mostly tried to hide a mediocre technical background. A degree speaks volumes more ...

    Good technical people that have worked with JBoss can consult on JBoss, good technical people that have done server-side Java can consult on server-side Java, those that lack skill or background or have bought their certifications can't.

  • As one poster commented, "pay me $5000 per year and I will vouch for ya". 5k $ is a lot of money for an individual or small business. All that money so that someone (JBOSS) can put up a website and print up some dead tree product that basically asserts that they are an authority. Hum... I think I will advertise elsewhere.

    Support your local user group. Do things for the community and put it on the lug website. This establishes that you are civic minded and advertises your skills. It can be something as simple as giving a presentation. Which if you are a consultant, you should be jumping at every chance to get out there and talk about what you do in any venue you can find. Clients will not cause your phone to ring if they do not know it's there.

    For example, if you are going to be anywhere near Bozeman, Montana the last Thursday of the month contact me about talking to a room full of people. Additionally, you and your company name will end up in the monthly newsletter which is published via mailing list and on the web.

    Human networking at the grassroots level.

    ken_i_m BozemanLUG dot org
    "Doing my part to spread the Free and Open Software memes"
  • I wouldn't want to try doing this, firstly because branding is inhumane, and secondly, 'cos Tux'd probably give you a slap with a wet fish.. :-P

  • I would assume a PC printer can make you certfied as well. It will not even charge you $5000!
  • by md17 ( 68506 ) <{gro.drawsemaj} {ta} {semaj}> on Thursday August 29, 2002 @05:09PM (#4166352) Homepage
    I have been reading all sorts of comments from people complaining about the $5000 / year.

    J2EE consultants can charge about $150 - $400 / hour. If you could get 5% more per hour by having your JBoss certification, then the 5k is not much.

    Let's do some math:

    (Normal J2EE Consultant)
    20 hours / week
    x $200 / hour
    x 50 weeks
    $200,000 / year (Wouldn't that be nice)

    (JBoss Certifified Consultant)
    20 hours / week
    x $210 / hour
    x 50 weeks
    $210,000 / year (That would be even nicer)

    So there... You just made (net) an extra $5000 for getting your JBoss certification. Realistically, I think that JBoss certified consultants could get more than an extra 5% but I was trying to be conservative.

    So have fun, and if you want to make more money then go get your JBoss certification. Simple as that.
  • I recently configured a JBoss server and I was unpleasantly suprised by the selfish attitude of the JBoss development community.

    I've been using products from the Apache group for many years now, and I have never encountered a problem that wasn't addressed (one way or another) in mailing lists, newsgroups, etc.

    When I encountered a problem with JBoss, I immediately went through the same channels but found nothing. I then noticed that they have a forum on their website and quickly found postings from other people with the same problem. The answer from the JBoss "experts": Buy the book! (take a look for yourself here [jboss.org] and here [jboss.org] or simply search for "buy the book" in their forums!).

    Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against selling documentation as a business model, nor am I against the certification scheme. But what kind of an answer is that??

    They may have a cool product, but with that attitude, I don't think it will be long before some people throw together a JBoss Documentation Project and bypass them alltogether. It is open source after all :)

    • I agree,

      the JBoss community is absolutely awful. And I was there when it went bad.

      Back in the days of the EJBoss/JBoss mailing list (JBoss 2ish) we had an influx of complete morons that suddenly turned our friendly and helpful list into a dumping ground for any old crap from bread-dead fuck-wits. I stopped making any contribution at that point (my name is listed amongst the JBoss contributors btw) and simply bailed on JBoss.

      I returned with 3.0 only to find the morons are still running about, soiled nappies dragging from their arses.

  • Thought you'd be interested in this from a thread on the JBoss.org forums:

    http://www.jboss.org/forums/thread.jsp?forum=91& thread=18726

    To quote the relevant bits:

    toddhunter asks:

    "Does anyone know what happened to the JBoss Jobs Forum...I was keen to post my details there? "

    To which Marc Fleury (JBoss boss) replies:

    "little mother fuckers like you were using it to get a free ride. You want advertising and publicity and marketing of your skills? well pay up the developers that enable you to do it in the first place. Want space? pay for it, you little weasel.

    I made a mistake by putting it up I was quick to correct it."

    Charming guy huh. Really makes you want to throw your $5k at him.

    No wonder the JBoss community stinks (just have a look at the JBoss forums and see the number of unanswered pleas for help - or, worse, those were some smartarse flames the asker.

    JBoss is a great app server, shame the people supporting it are such fucking morons.

  • I have taken the time to read through the nearly 100 posts on this site about the Authorized Consultant program. Some are incredibly insightful and people get the model. The JBoss brand today is becoming a powerful one and JBoss Group is spending this money we make to make the brand even more powerful. Our authorized consultants that have had the foresight to become associated with JBoss early on, are starting to see the reward for their willingness to make an investment in their business. 5K when you do the math is not a lot of money to a real business, especially when 3K goes directly to the cost of training. The training we provide is performed directly from the people who are responsible for writing JBoss. Those who made the comparisons to other vendors certification programs, I would be shocked if one of the lead developers from Oracle was giving you your training to lead to certification. Would William Gates, the CTO of Microsoft, ever provide training? Both Marc Fleury, President of JBoss Group and Scott Stark CTO of JBoss Group provide training to people seeking certification. We welcome people with the vision to get involved with JBoss. Think of things in this respect, if you can help a company save $$$$$$ by not buying WebLogic, Websphere, SunOne, .NET, Oracle AS, etc and push them towards JBoss, don't you think they will have more money to pay for consultants? Don't you think they will seek the JBoss experts in the industry to help them migrate off of the competing commercial products? Don't you think this will eventually help Open Source in general? If Open Source in going to continue its' push into the enterprise, business models like this are needed. We want Open Source to take over the infrastructure space. Everyone in the Linux community deserves a lot of credit for pushing things this far. Large corporations will not move towards Open Source for mission critical systems without the support orgainzation in place. We want to share the support structure with the Open Source community.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.