My recent entry at GlasFish For Business on Oracle GlassFish Server 3.0.1 was interpreted by some as indicating that Oracle had changed significantly the distribution model of GlassFish from what Sun did. I believe I clarified the situation but this seems a good time to update the old No Bait-and-Switch post from 2007.

Oracle provides two main distributions of GlassFish: the GlassFish Server Open Source Edition and the Oracle GlassFish Server, both delivered using IPS packages. The GlassFish Server Open Source Edition is available under an Open Source license. The Oracle GlassFish Server builds on that distribution adding Oracle branding elements and AddOns - currently only the Oracle GlassFish Server Control - and is available with the standard Oracle evaluation and production licenses.

The Open Source distribution is supported by the Community. Oracle only provides commercial support for the Oracle distribution but switching from one to the other only requires a couple of commands to add the extra IPS modules.

A key difference between the two distributions are the licenses. As the name indicates, the GlassFish Server Open Source Edition is available with CDDL and GPLv2 licenses, while the Oracle GlassFish Server is available under an OTN evaluation license, or a for-fee, production license. The arrangement between the distributions means users can start with one and switch very easily to the other when they are ready to buy support, or when they want to try or use the features in the AddOns.

IPS is the basic packaging mechanism in GlassFish 3. All distributions (ZIP or native, for the web profile or for the full platform) include the appropriate IPS packages and can later be managed as such. IPS is also used to distribute commercial patches. In the most common case, users and customers will just use the IPS repositories hosted by Oracle, but, customers can also download a full repository from SunSolve (like this one) and use it in an offline mode.

Hope this helps. As you can see, although the technology, the names, and the bundles have changed since 2007, the Basic Model has not.

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