Has Sun blown its chance?

What do Jonathan Schwartz and George W. Bush have in common? Some say both missed a big opportunity this week.

What do Jonathan Schwartz and George W. Bush have in common?

Some say both missed a big political opportunity this week.

Schwartz' opportunity was to open source Java. He didn't. Word on the street is he'll do it eventually. " It's not a question of whether we'll open source Java, the question is how," is the official line, the quote of the week.

To give the man his due, Schwartz is still in the process of taking command, building his own team.  There is a lot more to Sun than Java, and many viewpoints to deal with on the way to "how." There is even some pushback on the whole idea.  

Our own reporting from JavaOne shows just how far Schwartz has come, despite the skepticism. GNU/Linux distros can now bundle the Java Virtual Machine and runtime environment. The company told our Dana Gardner they're moving on open source as fast as they can.

I believe them.

But by failing to open source Java at JavaOne, Schwartz undermined his own stated goal, which is to make the language universal.  Free Java' efforts like GNU Classpath, the open source Java VMs, and GCJ, the GNU Java compiler, will continue, largely absent Sun's input, and the suspicion will remain that Schwartz is mainly playing FUD games to protect his own interests.

Which he is. He would be disloyal to his stockholders if he did not. Besides, Sun is a big ship to turn around, and I believe Schwartz is steering as fast as he can. The old captain has headed for his lifeboat, the new captain is on the bridge.

But I still see an iceberg dead ahead.  And it's still hard for me to see how Sun will avoid the collision.

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