Leading up to next week's JavaOne Java lovefest and amidst some buzz that there will be a lot of open source-related news at the event, News.com's Stephen Shankland has a story about Sun's quiet launch of GlassFish. Apparently, Sun will be going public with more details of GlassFish at JavaOne. But, from Shankland's news story, it appears as though Sun is going to open up the source code to its Java Runtime Environments -- primarily for viewing purposes only. In other words, those who agree to the Java Research License (the JRL) can view the code and can even toy around with it in private. But they can't redistribute the code, particularly if they make any changes to it. Hmmm. Does this remind you of anything? Where else before have we heard of a look-but-you-can't-touch-for-commercial-purposes virtual machine? Oh yeah? The BSD-based version of Microsoft Common Language Runtime (the runtime behind .Net) and the shared-source license under which it's available. Not that open source advocates view Sun as an open source poster child, but perhaps Microsoft's Jason Matusow, who told me in a recent interview (you can download the audio too) that there will be a "movement to the middle," was right.
My favorite Java firebrand, JBOSS CEO Marc Fleury, was not at a loss for words. According to Shankland's story "On his blog, Fleury criticized the license as 'yet another Sun invention,' then added, 'it is irrelevant what kind of licenses they use, since the whole thing is irrelevant anyway.' He recommended watching the movie "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" as more interesting."