Sun Pours Out Java Cup
The company unleashes all versions of the software code to the open-source community.To those long-suffering open-source developers who have been waiting for years to venture unencumbered into Java code and tweak it to their hearts content, Sun Microsystems has three things to say: G, P and L. Sun on Nov. 13 released at www.sun.com/java all versions of Java-Standard, Enterprise and Micro Edition-under GNU GPL (General Public License) Version 2.0. Sun will maintain its commercial license and its CDDL (Common Development and Distribution License) in a multiple-license menu for certain customers that have already built systems based on previous contracts.
"This undoubtedly is the largest single open-source contribution in the history of IT," Rich Green, executive vice president of software for Sun, said in an interview here. "Its the mental final step for Sun and Java."
"Plus the full support of the branded products by the company. Open-source software does not provide for protection from litigation; thats the nature of open source," he said. James Gosling, on medical leave from his research position at Sun and generally considered the "father" of Java, has long supported keeping Java on a leash. But Gosling said in a blog recently that he was "really happy were finally getting it done. The only thing I'm unhappy about is how many complexities there are to take care of." Green, who returned to Sun in May after two years at virtualization provider Cassatt, said that one of the main reasons he came back to the company was the opportunity to help bring Java to the open-source community. Prior to his time at Cassatt, Green had worked for Sun for 14 years. Stephen O'Grady, an analyst with RedMonk, in Denver, said he wasn't surprised that Sun was finally opening up Java. Choosing the GPL made sense, given its popularity in a number of open-source communities. "It will definitely help within the development community," O'Grady said. "From an enterprise customer perspective, [there is] probably very little [change]. There are some businesses that have run into bugs with Java that an open-source version could address, but, overall, enterprises aren't likely to be terribly excited by the news." "This is a great move for the Internet ecosystem, adding open-source Java to the mix," said Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu Linux distribution, which is based in Douglas on the United Kingdom's Isle of Man. "Not having open Java is why the community had to devise things like Ruby on Rails and PHP. Now the restrictions are gone, and a lot more experimentation can begin." Matt Jacobsen, a Java developer with New Atlanta Communications, in Atlanta, said he didn't see Sun suddenly being considered the world's foremost open-source software company because of the move.