Red Hat\u2019s planned acquisition of JBoss has raised questions about the future of the Jonas application server, the best-known project to emerge from Europe\u2019s ObjectWeb open-source software consortium.Red Hat joined ObjectWeb three years ago and helped the nonprofit group to get Jonas certified compliant with Sun Microsystems\u2019 Java Enterprise Edition 1.4 specification. It now distributes a version of Jonas as the Red Hat Application Server, part of its effort to move beyond Linux operating systems sales.In a conference call to discuss the JBoss deal, Matthew Szulik, Red Hat\u2019s chairman and chief executive officer, said his company has made "a significant investment in Jonas, and we expect that to continue."Analysts were less optimistic. If Red Hat manages to acquire JBoss, which is the most widely used open-source application server, it\u2019s unlikely that it will devote significant resources to Jonas as well, or that it will want to support two application servers for customers, said Laurent Lachal of the U.K. analyst company Ovum."This is bad news for Jonas," he said.Red Hat has been disappointed that Jonas has not been more widely adopted, according to Lachal. Besides JBoss, its main open-source competitor is the Apache Group\u2019s Geronimo application server, which is backed by IBM.Red Hat will support customers who adopted its Jonas distribution for a while, "but as soon as it can, it will migrate them to JBoss," Lachal predicted.Michael Goulde, a senior analyst with Forrester, agreed."Longer term, it doesn\u2019t make sense for Red Hat to support something that competes with JBoss," he wrote in an e-mail response to questions.Still, the deal could have some benefits for ObjectWeb, which has grown to include more than 50 software projects since it was founded in 2002 by France Telecom SA, Bull SA and the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control. Red Hat and JBoss may still turn to ObjectWeb for other middleware components to build out their software stacks, Goulde said. "I\u2019m sure that Red Hat and JBoss will continue working with ObjectWeb, as the ObjectWeb platform will be important in several parts of the world," he said.ObjectWeb was optimistic about the deal."We think it\u2019s excellent news," said Francois Letellier, a member of the group\u2019s executive committee. Since Red Hat is an ObjectWeb member, and its chief technology officer, Paul Cormier, sits on ObjectWeb\u2019s board, the deal could open a "privileged communications channel" between ObjectWeb and JBoss, he said."One possibility is that we\u2019ll work on convergence, either on the code base or on compatibility between the different platforms," Letellier said.Still, he acknowledged that Red Hat\u2019s membership doesn\u2019t oblige it to donate any JBoss code to ObjectWeb.The consortium says some large companies are using Jonas in production, although the ones it has named publicly, like France Telecom, are ObjectWeb founders."Red Hat is one distribution channel for Jonas, but it\u2019s not the only one," Letellier said. "It\u2019s been around for some time before Red Hat and it has a life aside from that, so it will continue regardless of what happens."Lachal also doesn\u2019t expect Jonas to disappear, but without Red Hat\u2019s full support, it\u2019s unlikely to achieve widespread adoption, he said."It\u2019s not a question of technology\u2014it\u2019s a question of who does a better job of marketing their product and getting people to use it," he said.-James Niccolai, IDG News ServiceFor related news coverage, read Red Hat, JBoss Tie-Up About SOA, Stacks, Reach and Red Hat to Buy JBoss for at Least $350M.Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.