Sun Serenades Open-Source Community

The company plans to join with top Linux distros, but clutching a closed Java is one sour note.

Sun Microsystems, which has released such technologies as its Solaris operating system and multicore UltraSPARC T1 processor to the open-source world, is continuing to court the community.

At its JavaOne Conference in San Francisco the week of May 15, Sun will announce initiatives aimed at killing animosities over old Java licensing restrictions and will unveil agreements with top Linux distributions, including Ubuntu and Debian.

But the Santa Clara, Calif., company still wont include Java in the push—at least for now—which irritates some. "Java ... is an inexplicable blight on Suns otherwise enviable open-source record," said Matt Asay, vice president of business development for Alfresco Software, in Palo Alto, Calif.

At the show, Sun will announce a new Java license—dubbed Distribution License for Java, or DLJ—for GNU/Linux development, according to sources within Sun who requested anonymity. Sun will also announce agreements with the Ubuntu and Debian Linux teams and three OpenSolaris-based projects to distribute the JDK (Java Development Kit) virtually unencumbered with their operating systems. New Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz will introduce the Linux partners during his keynote speech May 16, the sources said.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read what Schwartz had to say about open-source Java.

"This is the most substantial step weve seen yet toward building a stronger relationship between the Java world and the free software world," said Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth during an interview in Santa Clara. "Its clearly a move in recognition of the importance to Sun of the work of the free software community and will go some way towards increasing the adoption of Java by free software projects."

NexentaOS, a hybrid operating system that uses the OpenSolaris kernel in concert with Linux-based applications, and the SchilliX and BelliniX versions of OpenSolaris also will begin using this new license immediately, Sun sources said.

A new community project on will serve as a clearinghouse of information and best practices for delivering compatibly packaged JDK bundles on GNU/Linux and OpenSolaris. The Distribution License for Java will enable open-source communities to define the packaging, installation and support for the JDK within their distributions while maintaining Javas "write once, run anywhere" compatibility promise.

The Sun-GNU/Linux agreement also extends to hardware, where one or more of those distributions will be certified for use on Suns T1 chip, formerly code-named Niagara.

/zimages/5/28571.gifSuns open-source outreach is met with mixed emotions. Click here to read more.

The sources said Sun will also announce that it will open the code of its commercial Java Message Queue through the OpenMQ Project, using a CDDL (Common Development and Distribution License). It also will create and maintain new open-source communities built around OpenESB (Enterprise Service Bus), OpenPortal (the source code for all Sun portal components) and the Sun Grid.

Through its OpenESB community, Sun hopes to bring users into the process to streamline the development of a standardized, Java-enabled ESB, which provides an abstraction layer on top of an enterprise messaging system. That will allow integration architects to exploit the value of messaging without writing code. Sun also is opening the code to its Java System Message Queue through the OpenMQ Project as a central part of this ESB layer.

In addition, Sun will announce the Sun Java System AS PE 9 (Java System Application Server Platform, Edition 9), the first application server to implement the new JEE 5 (Java Enterprise Platform, Edition 5) specification. Sun sources said Sun Java System AS PE 9 starts faster, uses less memory and incorporates JEE 5 features such as EJB (Enterprise JavaBeans) 3.0, JSF (JavaServer Faces) 1.2, and annotations that help developers write and deploy applications using 30 to 90 percent less code.

Sun also will introduce a new Sun Grid developer community project—the Compute Server Project, released under Apache License, Version 2.0—to work with the Java, Solaris and NetBeans communities. The project is designed to enable Java and Solaris developers to more efficiently use the Sun Grid hosted system for the distributed execution of parallel computations. Compute Server will become accessible to developers through a NetBeans IDE (integrated development environment) plug-in.

Finally, on the portal side, Sun will open-source all components now in its Java System Portal Server 7. The code initially will consist of the RSS portlet, the Portlet Container, Web Services for Remote Portlets and the search engine.

Aberdeen Group analyst Stacey Quandt, of Boston, gave Sun the thumbs up. "Suns Distribution License for Java is a significant step in fostering greater collaboration between the Java community and the GNU/Linux community," she said.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...