Sun further commits to open source Java

Summary:The news is that NetBeans gets support from JBoss (as well as another on-stage plug by Motorola CEO and Sun alum Ed Zander), and Java to be open sourced properly at some point in the future.

Sun Microsystems took a major step closer to fully opening Java by declaring at the JavaOne conference keynote today that it's ""not whether, but how. We'll go do this." So said new Sun software chieftain Rich Green to new CEO Jonathan Schwartz of making Java "open source" before a huge live audience of Java developers and supporters.

"We will open source Java, we just need to figure out how," said Green, referring to his desire to foster Java specifications and reference platforms compatibility along with the openness.

I right now have both my hands around my neck, squeezing, tightening, pushing the snarky remark right back down. Almost ... almost. There, I got it.

Well, good for Sun. I figured all along it was a matter of timing. And given the other big news Sun has made in recent years -- say, with Microsoft, Google, Oracle -- that timing remains suspect. Let's hope this is not just hype and FUD, and that at least the JVM and Standard Edition swiftly enjoy real open source licenses that the Java vendor community can fully endorse and support.

Who else was on stage with Schwartz? Well, JBoss boss Marc Fleury, who only two years ago was sort of sneaking around the JavaOne conference, still on the fence about whether it mattered if his application server was Java-compatible (officially) or not. Well, now Marc, whose company is set on May 31 to merge with Red Hat (is it JHat or Red Boss?), is cozy with Sun.

I can assure you that few people were better able to rip Sun a new one than Marc. So this is a bit of a turnaround, to say the least, and I can only suspect that the quid pro quos are a flying behind closed doors. Fluery gives on NetBeans, and Sun gives on open Java. But there must be more. It's the anti-Microsoft coalition rebirthed, but without IBM, I suspect.

So Fleury was able to form the first bookend that Schwartz needed for a real story today. And that was at least one big NetBeans win. So Fluery said, yes, that JBoss will be joining the NetBeans community. Once again, anything that is anti-IBM (and/or its sphere of influence) binds together unlikely bed fellows.

The news is that NetBeans gets support from JBoss (as well as another on-stage plug by Motorola CEO and Sun alum Ed Zander), and Java to be open sourced properly at some point in the future. Cool.

What's more, and safe harbors be damned, Schwartz teased that there may be larger Red Hat/JBoss news with Sun to come. Strange bedfellows, indeed. Is there room for a Java binding among and between that JBoss/Red Hat SOA stack? Would there be more Java in Linux distros software appliance synergies? Are there more pressure points for these guys to apply to IBM?

It could make June the kindest month.

The question is did these developments need only happen once Scott McNealy stepped down? Wait ... the snarky comments are building again. Arrrgh. Whew, I pushed them down again. For now.

Topics: Open Source


Dana Gardner is president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, an enterprise IT analysis, market research, and consulting firm. Gardner, a leading identifier of software and cloud productivity trends and new IT business growth opportunities, honed his skills and refined his insights as an industry analyst, pundit, and news edito... Full Bio

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