The Upside of Open
-Sourcing Java"> "So, I am not worried about the impact of open-sourcing Java. I think that there is more upside and opportunities than there is downside, but I also understand that we have to respect the wishes of the Java community and not make a decision just because one or two or three individuals want to go and grandstand," Schwartz said. Often misunderstood in the Java world is that there were two very separate activities that took place: one of them was that code was created, like Glass Fish, while the other, which was also extremely important, was the JCP (Java Community Process), the standards setting body, refined the specifications so that everyone could implement against it.Read more here about how some former Sun executives have called for Java to be open-sourced. Asked if he agreed with the notion that Sun should rely on trademark law to prevent compatibility and other issues and then let Java flourish in the open-source environment, Schwartz said that he mostly agreed, but added that the tipping effect was a fact of life in the software world. Sun has been very interested in driving Java as a dynamic platform that embraces innovation and does not shy away from it, he said, which is why it has incorporated effective support for PHP and Ruby and Perl and Python and is why it would continue to drive NetBeans as a developer platform that extended into non-traditional environments. Asked why he thought Sun had been so harshly criticized by Wall Street for not monetizing Java, which then prompted open-source supporters to claim that opening Java would enable Sun to monetize the technology further, Schwartz said that Sun needs to be careful to foster the community that drives new market opportunities for Java. "I want to make sure that Java continues to be a fountain for the community and not a water balloon that just breaks on the ground," he said. Asking Sun how it made money on Java is like asking Google how it made money on search. Consumers paid nothing for it, but that enabled a market for them to create and foster. "That is exactly how we look at Java: it simply standardizes the interactions between disparate systems to enable everyone to participate," Schwartz said. Sun had a responsibility to appeal to as broad and diverse a set of constituencies as possible and could closely follow the model Sun had used with Solaris and creating OpenSolaris, he said, adding that there were differences though. One was that Solaris had, unlike Java, never been the subject of a lawsuit, while the desktop market was far less competitive than the server space as one company (Microsoft) held some 90 percent share of that market, Schwartz said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
"No one has ever done that effectively in the open-source world yet, and we need to make sure that when and if we decide to open-source Java we are deeply respectful of the compatibility that has created the community that we see at the JavaOne show," Schwartz said.