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Sun Speaks of "Easing of Commercial Restrictions" Surrounding Java
EclipseCon 2005 Panel Session Puts Open-Source Java Back on the Agenda

"Right now, you can do pretty much anything you want with the Java source code for non-commercial purposes except fork it and call it Java," said Sun's Matt Thompson last week - Director of Tech Outreach and Open Source Programs - in a Technical Exchange panel discussion called "Empowering Software R&D with Open Communities" held in the Hyatt Regency Harbor Room at the EclipseCon 2005 conference.

"If you do that," Thompson added, "we have a problem."

So, in essence, anyone is free to create an open source version of Java for non-commercial purposes. Did this herald, though, a full open-sourcing of Java? (By OSI standards, Java is far from being open source and is not yet available under any OSI-recognized license.)

All that Thompson would say was that Sun had plans to "ease the restrictions on commercial use of Java source code," and beyond that he would not go:

"We do plan to ease the commercial use restrictions on the Java source code, but I will not comment any further on that."

Fred Grott, a Java programmer and backend systems architect, commented that all Thompson is really saying is this: "Java already exhibits some of the benefits of open source via its vendor and developer controlled JCP standards and...[currently] Sun is analyzing whether the advantages gained by open sourcing Java would offset any disadvantages."

What used in the old days to be called "A Definite Maybe."

JDJ's own Bill Dudney observed, speaking exclusively to JDJ News Desk:

"I am ready to see closure on this issue. At JavaOne Sun was saying that they could see no benefit in making Java more open. I think they were wrong and I'm glad to hear that the forces to open Java are apparently pushing Sun towards that end."

Dudney continued:

"I also agree though that we don't need forked incompatible things called Java that are not, that would just serve to confuse the market. I hope to see an open Java with an open compliance suite, then we can be confident that we have the 'real thing' when using something called Java."

 

 

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

Sun will never open source Java - its the only thing left with any value in the entire company.

Open sourcing the spec is the Java Community Process, and it's not really open source, it's a semi-open community process for influencing the direction of Java. Open Sourcing java would be changing the Sun Java License to an open source type of license. In which case, anybody could download the source and do whatever they wanted. As it is, Sun controls the release of java versions, and they decide what goes into a release, and for the most part, Sun engineers code and test the release.

>Didn't Microsoft try to make their own Java

>implementation(J++) and didn't sun go after them for it

>because it didn't stick to the java standards? Is that open

>source?

No, that was Microsoft trying to create a proprietary version of Java to tie developers to the the Microsoft platform. It was also a licensing terms violation, which the courts found for Sun. That's where C# comes from. It's a rip-off of Java with Microsoft proprietary hooks.

I have to support one purchased application that worked on J2RE 1.4.2_01, but Sun made a significant change to at least one API going to 1.4.2_02 that broke that application. I also have to support an application purchased from another vendor that requires at least 1.4.2_04 and does not run on 1.4.2_02. With Sun's every sub-sub-sub version being a fork, I can hardly wait for others to add to the confusion.

Whilst I can see the benefits of open sourcing java I just can't see how any open source organisation can take on something as big as Java especially the J2EE side of things with the compatibility suites used to certify J2EE compliance. Also, as a Java certified engineer, what will happen to any certification program?

IMHO - Open sourcing java is a nice idea in theory but not in practice.

So, what's the difference between the Java *spec* being open source (which it is i think) and Java itself being open source? Can someone explain me in simple terms?

** [from the article] At JavaOne Sun was saying that they could see no benefit in making Java more open. I think they were wrong **

Seems now that Sun agrees.

Didn't Microsoft try to make their own Java implementation(J++) and didn't sun go after them for it because it didn't stick to the java standards? Is that open source?

If you don't like the linux kernel you can take the code, make your own kernel, and even break whatever standards you want....Linus isn't going to drag you to court for breaking the POSIX standard or something.

Can the same be said or Java? In fact parts of it are still under a propietary license as the article states...so people who live in glass houses.....

Sun's entire contribution to Open Source at this point has been to try to hurt Microsoft by giving away an office suite that they bought from somebody else. At the same time, they've trash-talked Linux at every opportunity, and tried to steal the thunder of open source by releasing Solaris and Java under "community" processes that have the form but not the substance.

Does that sound to you like a company "on the same side" as something even as nebulous as the free software/open source community? It's not enough to be against Microsoft.

I don't mind the JCP as a way to manage the "official release" of Java. It seems to be working just fine.

What I do mind is obnoxious licenses limiting the freedom of end-users and hobbyists. They could very well be using the same process they're using today, but release their code (and specifications) under a free license.

## What used in the old days to be called "A Definite Maybe" ##

Perhaps so, but a "definite maybe" from Sun's own director of technology outreach puts the emphasis more on the definite and less on the maybe.

Maybe? ;-)




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