Sun to open up Java

Sun has backed up an announcement that its Solaris server operating system will have an open source flavor by making a similar promise for its Java technology.

A day after confirming plans for an open-source flavor of its Solaris server operating system, a technology specialist from Sun Microsystems says the company will do the same for Java.

Speaking to ZDNET Australia, Sun's Java technology evangelist Raghavan Srinivas said an open-source version of Java "will happen," although the timeline and licensing details remain sketchy at this point.

"We haven't worked out how to open source Java, but at some point it will happen," he said.

"It might be today, tomorrow or two years down the road," Srinivas added.

It is believed to be the first time Sun has explicitly stated its intention to take this approach with Java. The company has dismissed previous appeals to make its Java source code available through an open-source model for fear of creating incompatible versions of the software.

The Java community is split over whether opening up Java would prove beneficial.

Earlier this year, open-source technology advocates Eric Raymond and Richard Stallman called on Sun to open up Java and IBM did likewise.

However, others, including Sun, fear this could lead to "forking" as the "write once, run anywhere" attraction to the technology would be lost, making use of the programming language and platform less attractive. Many see the current Java Community Process (JCP) that entails the evolution of Java by industry experts such as those from Sun, IBM, Nokia and BEA to name a few, as an imperfect but a necessary process.

ZDNet Australia's Brandon Chase reported from Sydney.

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