Zack Urlocker's article - Heineken: Disrupting a Commodity Business - combines two of my favorite subjects; disruptive business models and beer. Zack describes that "instead of trying to innovate based on a new flavor or new style of brewing, Heineken focused on creating a packaging system that provides a better customer experience", a la the Heineken DraughtKeg.
The focus was on "improving the experience, accessibility or convenience of a product", and "Development of the DraughtKeg took Heineken nearly 10 years and it cost them more than $15 million dollars to build a new production line."
There's some similarity between what Heineken has done and what we at JBoss have done with our new JBoss Developer Studio. We're not focused on changing the key "flavors" (open source project technologies). Instead, we are focused on integrating our technologies in a way that improves customer experience. This kind of effort requires investments above and beyond the creation of the key ingredients.
JBoss Developer Studio has been created for our customers interested in having an out-of-box developer desktop that works seamlessly with our JBoss Enterprise Application Platform. JBDS includes fully integrated and tested Eclipse plug-ins, JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, and an entitlement to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. RHEL is optional, of course, since JBDS also runs on Windows, but it's great for anyone interested in leveraging RHEL 5 for virtualizing their developer machines (ex. emulate n-tier architecture on a single developer's box)...which is pretty cool.
JBDS is available as a $99 software-only subscription, and the support is decoupled from it so we can keep that price low and affordable. Our Red Hat Developer Professional goes for $3500 and that provides developer support and access to ALL of our certified distributions including JBDS, JBoss EAP, JBoss Portal, JBoss jBPM, JBoss Rules, our upcoming SOA Platform, as well as Red Hat Enterprise Linux. So...a ton of bits...and developer support in the use of any/all of the bits.
JBDS may not appeal to all developers...just like the Heineken DraughtKeg may not appeal to all beer drinkers out there. So, folks who prefer to consume our community technology in an a la carte manner by combining Eclipse, our JBoss Tools projects, JBoss AS, JBoss Seam, etc. with community support, they can continue to do so.
Bottom-line: Customer/user choice is key. At JBoss, we are focused on creating great technologies at JBoss.org and integrating our technologies in a manner that provides real customer value with JBoss Enterprise Middleware.
Now off I go for another pint of Heineken from the DraughtKeg in my fridge. Mmmmmm.....beer!