Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Sematext Blog, Ian Khan

Related Topics: Java IoT, Microservices Expo, IBM Cloud, Weblogic, Linux Containers, IT SOLUTIONS GUIDE

Java IoT: 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.

    Comments (22) View Comments

    Share your thoughts on this story.

    Add your comment
    You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

    In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


    Most Recent Comments
    jimcap 06/09/04 03:08:09 AM EDT

    Every one who has ever done some serious Java work will (or should) agree with most of the remarks made sofar. Sad but true. Yet, Java is still growing becoming better with every release, it''s future looks better than ever.
    Is that a paradox?

    JavaRocks 06/04/04 07:00:04 AM EDT

    It makes perfect sense if Sun is doing this for the same reason Apple open sources the internals of Mac OS X.

    Allowing their users access to the source to Solaris-- even if the license is "poisoned" to prevent it from being mixed with GPLed code-- would help Sun''s users. They would be able to adapt the OS to strange fine-tuned uses and arcane hardware, or more easily debug kernel plugins. A shop that might otherwise have gone "well, we like solaris, but we don''t want to be limited to sparc and x86, so we''ll go with linux" might be dissuaded.

    Allowing their users access to the source to the JVM-- even under a GPL-incompatible license-- would do the same. It would allow Sun''s users to port the JVM to those few platforms Sun doesn''t support yet, or more easily debug JNI software.

    This is definitely a benefit for Sun''s users. It makes both Java and Solaris more attractive. It makes a lot of sense.

    ryen 06/04/04 06:56:19 AM EDT

    Are there any "success stories" of proprietary software going open source? i guess the definition of "success story" is subject to opinion:

    Success for the releaser? (Sun)

    Success for the community?

    atehrani 06/04/04 06:54:32 AM EDT

    I think Java is fine the way it is. Open Sourcing it will not bring any improvements and actually might hurt Java. Name one advantage for Java going open source?

    minkwe 06/04/04 06:52:47 AM EDT

    CORRECTION: Sun will "hybrid-source" Java. This is hybrid-source not open-source. Please use the right term for the right software.

    eeg3 06/04/04 06:50:36 AM EDT

    Of course the opening of Java's source will be neat for "the community," but it doesn't seem like a very smart business move for Sun. There might be some temporary benefits in publicity, but no real benefits in the long run. Atleast if they keep it closed, they'll retain some control, and have the ability to possibly make money off of it.

    However, i'm sure they know this, and that's why it's not being released now, and it probably never will be, unless they somehow conjure up a way to release the source and retain complete control of it.

    ...Which seems impossible to me.

    javacowboy 06/04/04 06:43:31 AM EDT

    Call me paranoid or even a conspiracy theorist, but what if Microsoft is behind this? What if Microsoft, as part of their settlement with Sun, asked them to open-source Java so that they could embrace and extend it, and pollute it as they tried to before?

    How much do you want to bet that Java will be open sourced under a BSD-style license, and not the GPL.

    mrfibbi 06/04/04 06:42:37 AM EDT

    I think that people who worry themselves over the ominous and supposedly inevitable "fragmentation" really need to take a second look at things.

    1-There are numerous examples of open source programming languages that have remained centralized and unfragmented, like Perl and Python.

    2-Because java depends on a uniform standard and VM, any attempts to split off or fork the source tree will die miserably due to a lack of compatibility with the massive pool of existing code and classes.

    3-In fact, there is actually LESS chance of fragmentation when Java lies in the hands of the public, first because it means that no one will start up a competing "openjava", a venture that would almost certainly lead to incompatibilities, and second because, as the example of the death of xfree86 shows, too much central and absolute control over software by a small group will inevitably anger developers and users alike, leading them to search for an alternative.

    kjj 06/04/04 06:41:51 AM EDT

    The most annoying part of Java on Freebsd is that you are required to build the thing yourself due to all the restrictions. This wouldn't be such a problem but the Java libary gets larger all the time and gets to be a bigger chore just to install it. As I understand it this is due to licensing that only allows the Java on Freebsd developers to release patches with must be applied to the base source downloaded from Sun. If Java used a true open source license then this would no longer be a problem, because there would be no restrictions on redistribution of either modified source or binaries built from the modified version.

    Tarantolato 06/04/04 06:40:31 AM EDT

    Sun has this spooky, almost pathological, fear of forking. I guess you can attribute it to fallout from the proprietary Unix wars of the 80s and 90s. Thing is, those were a direct consequence of proprietary licensing. Everyone took the "historical Unix" code, put it in their own systems, and then chugged along incompatibly, with the new code hidden. The difference with GPL'd code is that if you use it, you have to publish it. So your rivals can copy or emulate incompatible features easily.

    GPL projects can fork, but the forks can dovetail back into one another. Proprietary projects that fork stay forked.

    Vengeful weenie 06/04/04 06:38:17 AM EDT

    Why is it that so many people feel the need to jump on Sun & Java? There are pleny of companies that have given less to their respecive industries.

    Yes, so Sun has decided to OS Java, a step that they said they wanted to do a while ago, but didn't want to see the language pulled apart while it was immature. Well, if they feel it's time then great. They did start it up, and pay for a ton of development, and do a lot of promotion. Did they benefit? You bet. They are a company, and after all hopeful dreams alone never get you anywhere. BSD, RPC, NFS, Java -- I can't wait to see what they come up with next. The're not the only ones with great solutions, but they have a good track record. Kudos.

    PointofInformation 06/04/04 06:37:27 AM EDT

    If you develop in java, you don't have to pay sun any money. Sun uses what they call a "protected source" license, which basically says, "Anyone can use this, but only we can make changes, or release new distributions."

    Open sourcing java wouldn't really hurt them, and god knows java could use it.

    tutwabee 06/04/04 06:19:53 AM EDT

    This will be a great thing for Sun and the open-source community, but only as long as the source is licensed under a non-restricting license. I don''t think that is going to happen though. If it happen, all I can say is "rejoice!" :)

    leshert 06/04/04 06:18:35 AM EDT

    It''s not nearly as big a deal as open-sourcing, say, Solaris, simply because it''s not going to wreck a primary revenue stream for Java.

    I''ve wondered for a while where Sun makes money from Java, particularly enough to recoup what they spend on it. I can''t imagine it affects sales of Solaris boxes that much.

    dekeji 06/04/04 06:17:34 AM EDT

    Sun has been saying that they will "somehow open source Java" since 1996. Has it happened? No. They changed their mind.

    Sun has also been saying that they will "somehow have Java standardized by a standard body" since 1996. Has it happened? No. They changed their mind.

    Sun like Java being owned completely by them, and they won''t change. What they will do is that they will fiddle with the Java source license a little an declare that it is now "open source", just like they created the "Java community process" and claim that it''s an "open process".

    You don''t have to worry about Java forking: Sun isn''t going to give up control. They are going to keep Java proprietary, and they are not going to "open source" it in any sense anybody other than they themselves would recognize.

    RAMMS+EIN 06/04/04 06:16:18 AM EDT

    Java is a dream that never came true:

    1. Write once, run everywhere is a myth, because you need a good VM and class libraries, which are only available for a few platforms.

    2. The official distribution is bloated to the top and runs slow even with JIT compilation. Java programs use lots of memory. This makes Java unnatractive even if you can guaratee it will work on your target system.

    3. GUIs in Java are a nightmare. AWT can be a bitch to code for, lacking many useful components. Swing uses "pure Java" widgets, which are slow and don''t fit well with the native widgets on your system. SWT ought to be better, but is not included in the distribution, so if you want it, you need more bloat.

    4. High performance apps are out. GUI apps are a nightmare. What''s left? Simple command line utilities? Nah, much better written in a different language. Whomever heard of multi-second startup time for hello world, and BufferedReader in = new BufferedReader(new InputStreamReader(System.in)); before you can do something useful with standard input?

    Oh yeah, it runs on cellphones. At least, the very much scaled down J2ME does. But don''t expect good performance, and don''t expect software written for some cellphone to run on yours. It''s the same story again.

    Java has failed.

    SuperKendall 06/04/04 06:15:19 AM EDT

    Say, isn''t "OpenJava" called .Net?

    leprasmurf 06/04/04 06:14:23 AM EDT

    I don''t understand what trouble they are having with opening the source. Isn''t as easy as publishing the source code?

    I guess I can understand the fear of losing the "write once, run anywhere" mentality, but if that''s one of the main attractions to the language doesn''t it stand to reason that people won''t really veer too far off?

    bwy 06/04/04 05:49:48 AM EDT

    A person has to ask - could the OSS community ever have produced Java? Could it have produced a gem like OS X?

    OSS has the skillset, some of the sharpest folks on the planet. But who is keeping them coordinated? Who is the CEO with a single, cohesive vision?

    Don''t get me wrong on OSS here. It has produced cool, big things like the Linux Kernel, Gnome, KDE, XFree86, etc., etc. All wonderful pieces of a puzzle that just doesn''t seem to fit together quite as well as they need to when it comes to building a complete OS platform.

    shaitand 06/04/04 05:48:05 AM EDT

    There really is no value in sun controlling java itself.

    Sun owns the Java brandname and wants to exploit that, that is their asset. If you want proof, look at the Sun Java Desktop which has not the slightest thing to do with Java.

    If turned over to the open source crowd, Java will be powerful and popular in no time. That means the word Java will be used all the time, making Sun''s brand more powerful.

    anOOn 06/04/04 05:45:07 AM EDT

    >>having open-source Java can only benefit the community<<

    you have no idea what you are talking about.
    open sourcing java runs a major risk of breaking its cross-platformness, one of the very things it was created for in the first place.

    TWooster 06/04/04 05:43:42 AM EDT

    This is an excellent boon for open source software. Even if we only get small portions of it, having open-source Java can only benefit the community.

    Thanks, Sun!

    @ThingsExpo Stories
    Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, will discuss how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your ...
    In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
    One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
    The vision of a connected smart home is becoming reality with the application of integrated wireless technologies in devices and appliances. The use of standardized and TCP/IP networked wireless technologies in line-powered and battery operated sensors and controls has led to the adoption of radios in the 2.4GHz band, including Wi-Fi, BT/BLE and 802.15.4 applied ZigBee and Thread. This is driving the need for robust wireless coexistence for multiple radios to ensure throughput performance and th...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
    In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lea...
    Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
    What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
    Adobe is changing the world though digital experiences. Adobe helps customers develop and deliver high-impact experiences that differentiate brands, build loyalty, and drive revenue across every screen, including smartphones, computers, tablets and TVs. Adobe content solutions are used daily by millions of companies worldwide-from publishers and broadcasters, to enterprises, marketing agencies and household-name brands. Building on its established design leadership, Adobe enables customers not o...
    SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
    Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
    “We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
    Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
    Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Sheng Liang to Keynote at SYS-CON's 19th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1-3, 2016 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
    Technology vendors and analysts are eager to paint a rosy picture of how wonderful IoT is and why your deployment will be great with the use of their products and services. While it is easy to showcase successful IoT solutions, identifying IoT systems that missed the mark or failed can often provide more in the way of key lessons learned. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Peter Vanderminden, Principal Industry Analyst for IoT & Digital Supply Chain to Flatiron Strategies, will focus on how IoT de...
    Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
    24Notion is full-service global creative digital marketing, technology and lifestyle agency that combines strategic ideas with customized tactical execution. With a broad understand of the art of traditional marketing, new media, communications and social influence, 24Notion uniquely understands how to connect your brand strategy with the right consumer. 24Notion ranked #12 on Corporate Social Responsibility - Book of List.
    Businesses are struggling to manage the information flow and interactions between all of these new devices and things jumping on their network, and the apps and IT systems they control. The data businesses gather is only helpful if they can do something with it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Witeck, Principal Technology Strategist at Citrix, will discuss how different the impact of IoT will be for large businesses, expanding how IoT will allow large organizations to make their legacy ap...