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WWDC Day Three: The Skin May be Shiny, but the Fruit is Starting to Turn

For all of Apple’s exclaimations of adopting open source standards and ideologies on Monday, the behavior and policy around the WebObjects product has me a bit disturbed, and my willingness to fully embrace Apple as a company has been severely curtailed. Especially considering the time and energy and forethought the company had behind the transition from Motorola to Intel, and the support promised to their customers, any customer of WebObjects 5.2.x or before is left out in the cold if they develop or deploy on any platform other than OS X. I understand a company’s need to refocus policy, to cut costs, to reconfigure their business plan — but effectively they have cut adrift any user of WebObjects who needs to deploy into a spac that isn’t Apple. Their official response is — buy and XServe. That’s just not acceptable. There is a path for compiling a WebObjects application and deploying on a different application server, such as Tomcat or JBoss, but in order to do such a deployment, you need to compile a deployment key into the application. In order to obtain that key, you HAVE to buy an XServe, because they aren’t selling them otherwise. So, if you have spent the last two years developing a product on the WebObjects platform and your requirements are that you are deployable into Windows, Solaris and Linux operating systems, your options are to stay with a dead platform with 5.2.4, buy an XServe for the license just so you can run on a windows box, or break the law and use a pirated key.
We’re in negotiation with Apple reps right now to try to figure out a solution, but on first blush this is grossly irresponsible and even if we personally obtain a special-case solution, it still leaves lots of corporate customers out to dry. I think the potential for ill-will in the marketplace is great, and Apple needs to make good on this to all its loyal WebObjects users. To fail to do so would be to show that they are just as manipulative and self-oriented as Redmond.
I am starting to miss my land of Open Source advocates. I thought I found a new home here, guys. Please pull it together and show me that you’re everything you promised to be. Do I need to install linux on my laptop?

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