Duke, a regular at Suns annual JavaOne events and the accompanying icon representing Java, is now freely available for use by developers and Java users at large.
"On Nov. 13, 2006, Sun announced that Duke would become Free Graphics, just as the implementations of Java ME [Micro Edition] and SE [Standard Edition] became Free Software," Sun said on a Web page describing the open-sourcing of Duke.
"What does Open Source Duke mean?" Sun asked on the page. "It means all you Duke fans have the original mascot for Java technology to play with. … All we ask is that you treat Duke with the same respect that Sun has."
Sun said Duke was originally created by Joe Palrang to be the "agent" for the Green Project at Sun. The Green Project is the name of the Sun project that spawned Java. "Duke became the Java mascot when Java technology was first announced, right around the same time that the first Java cup logo was commissioned," Sun said.
In a blog post on Nov. 13, James Gosling, the creator of Java wrote: "Im really happy that after months of arguing and analysis, we finally agreed on using the GPL version 2 with the classpath exception as the license for JavaSE. Were also taking the first couple of baby steps in getting actual source code re-licensed. All of it will follow, eventually. But theres a lot of work to do, like migrating millions of lines of code from TeamWare to Mercurial."