Is Spring still lightweight?

The Spring Framework emerged as the lightweight alternative to EJB for Java developers. It was simple, sensible, and had low overhead for designing, developing, and running applications. Over time it has grown from the platform of choice of subversive, technically-driven teams who want to get things done effectively, into the platform of choice for Enterprise Java development teams.

This is great, the best technology has won. But now Spring has become a serious company, and acquired by a bigger company which itself is majority owned by a massive company. And on the way, it's become something which smells to me like an Enterprise Solution.

I'm not talking about the corporate structure - I've got no problem with that in itself. And I'm not talking about the core framework itself, or even the family of extra components that have been acquired. I'm trying to get my head around the development suites, the application servers, the other application servers, (and now I see they even have a web server?).

Now, I have great respect for the guys who developed a lightweight Java platform that the pointy haired boss will sign off on using for corporate projects. If they are similarly packaging quality, useful open source software like Eclipse, Tomcat, and OSGi server, and so on, so that it makes life easier for designing, developing, and running well-engineered applications based on the principles of simplicity, then rock on, let me at it.

But I can't make heads or tails of the Spring Source suite of solution offerings. I have a look at the pricing, and I can't see the practical difference between these and offerings from IBM and the rest. What I do see is going down this road makes my cloud strategy awkward. I can't dynamically add and remove server images in response to useage requirements if I have to count the CPU's and pay a thousands of bucks every time I do so (waiting for the purchase to be approved by corporate each time). So it's not very lightweight from that perspective.

And I can't even work out what each Spring Source product does and whether it makes sense for me to even consider spending the cash, I quickly get bogged down by solution-speak every time I try to get a quick understanding. Then I saw a notice about Discovery Days, and hey! a day-long seminar which goes over the various Spring Source solution offerings and explains what the hell they are, sounds perfect. Oh, wait, it costs £400. They want me to pay to go to their sales presentation.