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Apache hands Geronimo compliance weapons

Geronimo will offer a flexible technology base for regulatory compliance applications, says a technologist working on the Apache open-source Java application server. 

The application server has been available in early Milestone releases, with Apache looking at 2005 for the general-release finished version, according to Bruce Snyder, a founding member and developer of Geronimo. General availability will occur once the software receives J2EE 1.4 certification. The Milestone 3 release became available last week.

Asked what would make Geronimo more compelling than open-source JBoss or BEA's commercial WebLogic Server, Snyder said that Geronimo's lightweight kernel made it more easily configurable for specialised applications, such as plug-ins to ensure that users are complying with regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley accounting rules in the US. Geronimo's kernel focuses on areas such as component configuration and dependency management.

"The kernel makes us more amenable to do anything you want," said Snyder, speaking at the ApacheCon conference in Las Vegas yesterday. Geronimo technology is already in use in commercial projects, even though it is only in a pre-release state.

Apache is also accentuating the BSD-style licensing of Geronimo, which Snyder described as less restrictive than GPL or LGPL licensing, which require the release of code changes back to the community at large. "For a lot of commercial companies that put patented content into source code, somehow they can't release that back out to the open-source world, so there's a clear distinction" between GPL-based and Apache open-source licensing, Snyder said.

"The licence seems to be the primary driver for developing the product," said David Noble, principal consultant at Qwan Technologies. Noble said GPL-style licensing was good for government usage while the Apache BSD format was more attuned to businesses.

Geronimo will support EJB, messaging and security. Clustering will be added at some point, although it is not a major focus at this point since it is not required for J2EE 1.4 certification.

At the Las Vegas conference, Apache also revealed that the planned 3.1 release of its open-source spam filter, SpamAssassin, would focus on speed and accuracy. Expected in three to four months, version 3.1 is expected to feature faster filtering and quicker updates to rules, which look for spam-related patterns in messaging.

Theo Van Dinter, who serves on the Apache management committee for SpamAssassin, said rules had to be updated quickly so Apache could stay ahead of spammers. "It's an arms race, really," he said.

Also planned for release 3.1 is an "early exit" feature that allows the spam engine not to process an e-mail any further once it identifies it as spam.

Paul Krill writes for InfoWorld


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