An Open-Source Java
Recent news that IBM has thrown down the gauntlet in challenging Sun to join it in creating an open-source implementation of Java has stimulated one of the most significant debates in the IT industry.Recent news that IBM has thrown down the gauntlet in challenging Sun to join it in creating an open-source implementation of Java has stimulated one of the most significant debates in the IT industry. In an open letter to Sun, IBM called for the originator and owner of Java to take part in a project to author an open-source Java. The letter was written by IBM Vice President of Emerging Technologies Rod Smith to Suns chief engineer, Rob Gingell, and it was in response to an article written by eWEEKs Darryl K. Taft. Were glad to see that the long-festering question of Suns control of Java is being raised in the forum of public debate. The Java Community Process, although it affords many of the benefits of open source, has long been considered a half-measure by the development community. As Rick Ross, president of Javalobby, an organization of thousands of Java developers, has noted, it is not possible to forget that Sun ultimately controls the Java brand. This fact has proved to be a sticking point for open-source developers. If Sun is unwilling to commit completely to the open-source community, the community is unwilling to commit completely to Sun.
The result is a technology that, despite its considerable merits and success, has not achieved its full potential. Further, Suns approach to Java has not done much for Sun, the company, either, if the companys performance in recent quarters is any indication.