By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-08-15 Print this article Print

Mark Reinhold, the chief engineer for Java SE at Sun, told eWEEK that the governance model for the open-source Java is also under discussion and that no decisions have been made in this regard. Unlike Solaris, where discussions on the governance model are ongoing, more than a year after its release, Sun is unlikely to release an open-source Java without a governance model in place.
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That is because of the large Java community that already exists, as well as to address the concerns of many in the community about the stability and compatibility of the platform going forward, he said. "We know that forks will happen and many of us are fine with that, while others are getting used to the idea," Reinhold said. Ever since it announced its plans to open-source Java on May 16, Sun has said it will work with—and look to—the community to determine how best to do that. In an interview with eWEEK after that announcement, Rich Green, executive vice president for software at Sun, said that he was hearing from developers that they did not want Sun to rush the process and not maintain compatibility. "So we will watch that closely. The plan moving forward is the attraction and use and scale of the NetBeans community, as we know that if developers are using NetBeans to write applications, [the applications] will be compatible, so that is a big deal," Green said at that time. Simon Phipps, Suns chief open-source officer, has also said that while there is no inherent discontinuity with making Java open source and keeping the technology compatible, the community will have to remain vigilant in this regard. "I do not think anyone wants to break Java compatibility, but any of the large licensees with the market power to distribute their own version technically could do so, intentionally or unintentionally," he said. Read more here about why open-sourcing Java will create an incompatibility risk. The open-sourcing of Java has been well-received by some developers. "I think this is a great, albeit long overdue, move on Suns part. I am impressed that they are taking feedback and making changes. The easy thing to have done would have been to do nothing," Peter Yared, the co-founder of San Francisco-based ActiveGrid and a former Sun executive, told eWEEK. In his address to the media on Aug. 14, Suns Green said its storage software group had been recently moved into the Solaris organization "and the hint here is that Solaris will increasingly be used as a platform for our servers and systems and also as the platform for network storage devices, which will be an enormous opportunity for Sun. So stay tuned," he said. Sun still plans to open-source its entire software stack over time, Green said—a promise that has often been made by senior executives, including CEO Jonathan Schwartz—adding that open source was good for its business. "It also just makes our stuff better. Transparency is what we are all about and we are trying to make more transparent and visible to the marketplace, and software is part of that. Were not there yet, but were well on the road to getting there on the open front," he concluded. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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