It is very definitely used. Deployment in geronimo consists of translating whatever deployment plans (javaee spec dds, annotations, geronimo service plans, etc) into geronimo service component (gbean) descriptors (GBeanData) and serializing them into the config.ser file. When you start a plugin (module) the config.ser is deserialized and the components configured and started.
Ok, then how is it possible that I sent a config.ser from a very different isntallation, and it worked well? Will config.ser change if the EAR structure is different or could I just have it create once and then leave it as it is for ever?
Tomcat doesn't fit all that well into this idea and the main tomcat application gbean includes the web.xml as a data element.
That will explain the web.xml like entries in the config.ser.
FWIW I'd suggest you look into the custom server assembly features using maven and the car-maven-plugin available in the latest was ce (and geronimo 2.1 and later). I'm not familiar with exactly what comes with was ce but using geronimo I'd assemble a custom server directly, something like what is outlined here:
We can't use that since we are working on WASCE 2.0, when I heard of that functionality of 2.1 I wanted to move to that version, but we are too close to deliver data for such a change, anyways many thanks for your suggestion
Thanks again for all your help!