IBM Challenges Sun to Team on Open-Source Java

In an open letter, IBM presses Sun to follow through on a challenge to Big Blue: IBM will open up its Java implementation if Sun also signs aboard.

IBM Corp. on Wednesday publicly challenged Sun Microsystems Inc. to join Big Blue in developing an open-source implementation of Java.

In an open letter to Sun, IBM called the Java steward out to join it in an independent project to open-source Suns creation.

IBM vice president of emerging Internet technologies, Rod Smith, sent the letter Wednesday night to Rob Gingell, Sun chief engineer, vice president and fellow.

Citing an eWEEK article as inspiration, Smith said IBM is ready to work together with Sun on an open-source Java.

In the article Smith cited, Simon Phipps, Sun chief technology evangelist, asked: "Why hasnt IBM given its implementation of Java to the open-source community?"

Smith wrote in his letter: "Simons comment appears to be an offer to jointly work toward this common goal. IBM is a strong supporter of the open-source community, and we believe that a first class open-source Java implementation would further enhance Javas position in the industry by spurring growth of new applications and encouraging new innovation in the Java platform."

Moreover, "IBM has been calling on Sun for years to open up Java because it will spur innovation," said an IBM spokesperson. "Now IBM is throwing down the gauntlet."

Smith also said, "Suns strong commitment to open-source Java would speed the development of a first-class and compatible open-source Java implementation to the benefit of our customers and the industry. IBM is ready to provide technical resources and code for the open-source Java implementation while Sun provides the open-source community with Sun materials, including Java specifications, tests and code. We are firmly convinced the open-source community would rally around this effort and make substantial contributions as well."

Indeed, Smith said, creating an open-source Java would speed up the adoption of Java-based Web services and service-oriented architecture.

"I am convinced that the creation of an open-source implementation of the Java environment would be of enormous importance to the developer community and our industrys collective customers," Smith said in his letter. "It would open a whole world of opportunity for new applications and growth of the Java community."

Sun was unavailable for comment.

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