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Sun CEO Promises To Make Java Open-Source

Doug Caverly
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-17

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In a recent announcement, Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz has pledged to make Java open-source code.

This follows a long history of false starts and outside recommendations for Sun to relinquish proprietary ownership.

Neither Schwartz, nor Rich Green, executive vice president of software, who made a similar promise, could give an exact timeframe for when they would hand Java over to an established community of developers.

But for comparison, a full year passed before Sun gave up rights to the Solaris operating system after pledging to do so.

It was also noted that Schwartz didn't specifically identify the recipient of the open source Java.

A predicted frontrunner, though, is the Apache Software Foundation, which has long supported Java, and has introduced several projects to add value to the language.

Regardless of this bit of vagueness, IBM's vice president of emerging technology, Rod Smith, approved of the announcement. He had requested that Sun make Java open-source code two years ago.

"IBM applauds Sun's action to commit to open-sourcing Java. The technology can thrive from collaborative innovation," Smith said in a statement.

If this latest effort works out, there seems to be little chance of Java being split into competing versions.

So many Java applications already exist that developers would be unlikely to choose a format that might not run on existing platforms and devices.

Schwartz's announcement was made during the 11th annual JavaOne user group conference to an audience numbering in the thousands.

The move should resolve some of the largest issues between Sun and its Java partners.

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About the Author:
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