GlassFish is the name of an open source development project for the next generation Sun Microsystems Java EE server. Sun is productizing this as the Sun Java System Application Server 9.x . GlassFish is based on application server source code donated by Sun and Oracle Corporation’s TopLink persistence system. It uses Apache Tomcat as the servlet container for serving web content. GlassFish is licensed under the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL), an open source license. On November 13, 2006, Sun announced it would also be licensed under the GPL.

The project was launched on June 6, 2005. On May 4, 2006, Project GlassFish released the first FCS version that supports Java EE 5 specification. The GlassFish community is building free, open source, production-quality, enterprise software. The main deliverables are an Application Server, the Java EE 5 Reference Implementation, and the Java Persistence API Reference Implementation, TopLink Essentials. The community also delivers Maven Repository, tools and much more.

Q: What is Project GlassFish?

GlassFish is the name for the open source development project for building a Java EE 5 application server. It is based on the source code for Sun Java System Application Server PE 9 donated by Sun Microsystems and TopLink persistence code donated by Oracle. This project provides a structured process for developing a high quality application server that makes new features available faster than ever before. It is the response to Java developers who want access to the source code and the ability to contribute to the development of Sun’s next generation application server which is based on GlassFish. This project is designed to encourage communication between Sun and Oracle engineers and the community and will enable all developers to participate in the application server development process.

Q: What is available on the website?

Nightly builds and the source code for the application server are available on As with other community development sites, you will also find email lists, discussion forums, news, feedback, licensing information, and extensive help resources.

Q: How large is the GlassFish community?

The GlassFish development community is just getting started so it is small but rapidly growing. There are over 100 contributors already signed up. The number of Sun and Oracle engineers working on this product is comparable in size to other application server developer communities today. With the release of project GlassFish to the community, we expect to greatly increase the number of developers working on the code.

Q: Where to I go to access the GlassFish project?

Q: Can I as a developer make any changes I want to the code?

Yes, developers have free access to the source code under the terms of the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) v1.0 and are free to change it as they see fit. To be able to claim Java Compatibility, developers of commercial distributions will need to sign the Java Developer License (JDL) and verify the code passes the compatibility test suite (CTS) before they can redistribute it. Anyone can sign a contribution agreement and work on the code to contribute changes, bug fixes, and features.

Q: How often can I get an update of GlassFish?

Updated builds for GlassFish will be posted every night to These code pushes have gone through very basic testing to ensure they will build and execute but have not been tested as thoroughly as our production releases. Additionally, you have read access to the same CVS tree that the developers do – so you always see the latest versions of the code there. Occasionally, typically weekly or so, we will push a “promoted” build which has been more thoroughly tested and will contain many more documented features than the regular nightly builds.  A supported Beta and FCS version of the Sun Java System Application Server 9.0 which is built on GlassFish.

Q: What version of Java EE does this apply to?

GlassFish will implement the latest version of the Java EE platform, Java EE 5, and the two should become final at around the same time.  At that time Sun will also release a final, supported and compatible Sun Java System Application Server PE 9.0 based on GlassFish.

Q: What is being released and when?

In June of 2005, Sun published project GlassFish by making the web site available to the public. Developers can access source code, nightly builds, discussion groups, and mailing lists. This is the first time developers were able to see and participate in the Application Server development process. Over the next 6 months, Sun will gradually roll out more information and more details about the code. Initially, access will be provided to the web-tier followed by other modules as GlassFish is developed.

Q: How does this impact Java EE licensees?

Project GlassFish opens up Java EE to a larger audience that will ultimately be the customers of the Java EE licensees. GlassFish does not change any of the license terms for licensees. Under their license terms, licensees can still sell or distribute code and use the Java Compatibility brand for products which have passed the TCK. Under the license terms of the CDDL, which is granted to developers, they can use, edit, and alter the code, and distribute it or use it in production. However they do not have a license to use the CTS nor can they use the Java Compatibility brand.

Q: What are the licensing terms?

The OSI-approved CDDL license is being used for project GlassFish which allows developers to view, use, edit, and alter the code, and distribute it or use it in production. Portions of this code are not yet available in source form. Because of this, a few portions are currently also under a Binary Distribution License. As time goes on, we’ll make more of the code available, with the eventual goal of making all the code available, and removing the Binary Distribution license. This isn’t some sort of evil plot – it’s hard work moving stuff out into an Open environment, we expect to have a roadmap for our timing for this published by the end of the Summer.

People who want to redistribute a build of our application server do not have a license to use the CTS nor can they use the Java Compatibility brand. They may choose to sign a JDL commercial license and pass the CTS which would then allow them to distribute the code and use the Java Compatibility brand.

Q: I am a current SCSL licensee, and want to use the CDDL. Can I do this?

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Yes. Current SCSL licensees can choose to use the CDDL, but they must click through the new license, and use the CDDL notification in their work.

Q: Where can I get more information about the CDDL license?

You can find details about the CDDL here.