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Brazil Prepares to Put Open Source Java Into Use
"We would love to have a JVM by the end of next year"

In a move sure to add fuel to the ongoing debate over Java's stewardship by Sun, Brazil is pushing an effort to put control of an open source version of Java into the hands of grass-roots developers around the world. With IBM's assistance, the South American country is seeking liberation from vendor lock-in, in order to realize autonomy regarding development of its own systems technology. Brazil was one of the first countries to use open source software to run in its bureaucratic infrastructure.

Earlier last month, IBM along with the Brazilian government, signed a cooperation agreement to establish a knowledge and technology center, known as CDTC, to promote and develop open source and Linux solutions in that country.

Bruno Souza, leader of Brazil's largest Java user group - SouJava - said the three-month old project, being called Javali, is actively recruiting developers. SouJava has over 12,000 members. Souza cited freedom as the reason for this move on the part of Brazil's government.

Souza, who hails from São Paulo, said Brazil is justified in its cause. He said, "The government is trying to get freedom from vendors and from lock-in. It is looking to open source as a way of promoting development and is promoting the usage, creation, modification, and improvement of open source. Starting with Linux as the basis, but going as far as possible ... even the implementation of a free JVM [Java virtual machine] - a free implementation of Java."

"We would love to have a JVM by the end of next year," he said. "It could change lots of things for us if we got this time frame right."

Sun meanwhile, said it's committed to ensuring that Java works for everyone. "We released the J2SE source code for free, but we have a very strong compatibility environment that says if you are going to ship products on [J2SE 5.0], we ask that they be compatible," said Graham Hamilton, a Sun vice president and fellow, who headed the J2SE 5.0 effort.

Many high profile companies and individuals have called for Sun to totally open source Java. IBM ranks high amongst them, along with open source luminary Eric Raymond. He said, "There are already at least three open source JVM's. The difficult problem is duplicating all the Java class libraries. A project that did that, and passed the Java conformance tests, would be big news."

James Gosling, vice president and fellow and the creator of Java for Sun, said the issue between Sun and those who want a completely open Java, is that, "we actually think that compatibility matters."

However, there are many who see Sun's position as disingenuous. "Sun's problems with Java have entirely been due to its unwillingness to submit Java to an international standards body," said Michael Hines, an IT architect and professor.

Souza was upbeat about the project, and stated he does not want to be seen as a rebel going against Sun or the open source community. Instead, he insisted, "We want this to be a larger community effort. This is not something we want to do alone. On the contrary, we're trying to gather Brazilian developers to help and support us."

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

Sun says "We released the J2SE source code for free". Where is it? The J2SE 5.0 source is still not available, and based on Suns history probably won't be available for weeks or months. And for 1.4.2 they never released updated source code even though they updated J2SE 5 times (up to 1.4.2_05). Why can't Sun release the SCSL source the same day they release a new JDK?




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