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Java: Article

Sun Will Open-Source Java "Today, Tomorrow or Two Years Down the Road"

Sun Will Open-Source Java "Today, Tomorrow or Two Years Down the Road"

  • Breaking News - Sun: "Make No Mistake, We Will Open Source Solaris"
  • "Let Java Go" - ESR Writes an Open Letter to Scott McNealy
  • "Letting Java Go" - James Gosling in 2003 on Open-Sourcing Java
  • "Let's Collaborate on Open-Sourcing Java": IBM Writes Open Letter to Sun
  • Sun's Schwartz: IBM's Request "Seems a Little Bonky"

    No sooner did Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's dynamic president and COO, announce earlier this week the imminent open-sourcing of Solaris - from Shanghai, where Sun was unleashing its next wave of product and pricing innovation at its first-ever Asia-based SunNetwork conference - than another indication has been given of an intent to open up a Sun technology.

    Java, says the well-respected Java evangelist Raghavan 'Rags' Srinivas, will inevitably follow.

    The discussion has been running for several months, indeed years. 

    In February of this year, responding to Scott McNealy's remarks at Sun's February 2004 analyst meeting, Eric S. Raymond - President of the Open Source Initiative - wrote an Open Letter to McNealy. The letter ended:

    "Mr. CEO, tear down that wall. You have millions of potential allies out here in the open-source community who would love to become Java developers and users if it didn't mean ceding control of their future to Sun. If you're serious about being a friend of open source, if you're serious about preparing Sun for the future we can all see coming in which code secrecy and proprietary lock-in will no longer be viable strategies, prove it. Let Java go."

    But long before that, in June 2003, James Gosling - a co-inventor of Java, now CTO of Sun's Developer Platforms Group - expressed hesitancy:

    "I am certainly one of the people who would love to make it open-source. But it's hard for two reasons. One is that open-source ways of dealing with software work really well so long as you get this sort of collegial atmosphere. If you happen to have a bully on the block who is really strong, it really doesn't work. We have this history of having been victimized, and there are lots of people who are nervous about that."
    And in February 2004 when IBM wrote an Open Letter to Sun inviting them to collaborate on an IBM-Sun open-source implementation of Java, Jonathan Schwartz - then still EVP of Sun's Softare Group - commented:

    "We looked at the request, and our first question was, 'That seems a little bonky. Could you explain what it means?'"
    So the news from 'Rags' Srinivas that it will happen is certain to cause a new surge of interest in Sun and in Java among software developers worldwide, even though he didn't specify when - replying to that question, in an interview yesterday, "at some point it will happen...it might be today, tomorrow or two years down the road."
  • More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

    Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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