Open-source app server Jonas has finally got its J2EE certification, and hopes that Sun compliance will see it attract more corporate and government users

The ObjectWeb consortium's baby, standing for "Java Open Application Server", was certified to work with the Java 2 Enterprise Edition 1.4 specification earlier today. The certified version will be available as a free download in about two weeks, said Christophe Ney, ObjectWeb's executive director.

Founded by France Telecom, Groupe Bull and the France's National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA), ObjectWeb is a non-profit organisation that develops a variety of open source infrastructure software. Jonas, its best known project, is used by Red Hat as the basis for its Red Hat Application Server, released last year. It said in May it hoped to get the certification by the second-half of 2004, but this has been set back a few months.

The certification assures inter-operability between Java products from different vendors. A developer should find it relatively easy to port an application written for BEA Systems'WebLogic Server, for example, to another J2EE application server, so long as the developer adhered closely to the J2EE specification.

Some IT executives look for J2EE certification when making buying decisions, and so the hope is that ObjectWeb will find more government and corporate users. ObjectWeb's main open source rival JBoss has been J2EE certified for some time, as have market leaders BEA, IBM and Oracle. The certification also means that ObjectWeb can use Sun's steaming coffee-cup Java logo, a trademark available only to certified licensees.

"We have proved that a community-based effort can be as good in quality as any industry effort. It was important for us to show that ObjectWeb can play the game very professionally," ObjectWeb’s chairman Jean-Pierre Laisne said.

Unlike the other certified Java vendors, ObjectWeb does not sell professional services. Users can buy services from a provider such as Groupe Bull or submit support queries via e-mail to the community of Jonas developers. Jonas currently has 28 registered "committers", or people who develop and contribute code to the project regularly, Ney said.

Jonas' certification does not mean that Red Hat can also use the Java-compatible logo however. If it wants to market its software as J2EE-certified then it too must license and pass Sun's Java compatibility test suites.