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As Stallman looks on, Sun frees Java under the GPL

It's official: Sun is releasing its implementations of Java technology as free software under the GNU General Public License. Richard Stallman, creator of the GPL and founder of the Free Software Foundation, will endorse the move by video at a press conference Monday morning. Java SE, ME, and EE will all be available under GPLv2, the same license used by the Linux kernel.

After months of speculation, Sun has officially announced it is releasing its implementations of Java technology

OpenJDK: GPL Java

as free software under the GNU General Public License. Richard Stallman, creator of the GPL and founder of the Free Software Foundation, will endorse the move by video at a press conference Monday morning.

Java SE, ME, and EE will all be available under GPLv2, the same license used by the Linux kernel. As before the announcement, commercial licenses will also be available.

This article provides a summary of what is being released and when. Developers may wish to refer to the Q&A with Tim Bray for more technical details.

Availablity

The first pieces of source code are available today:

  • Java HotSpot technology (JVM)
  • Java programming language compiler (javac)
  • JavaHelp software
  • Sun's feature phone Java ME implementation
  • Java ME testing and compatibility kit framework

Later in 2006, Sun will release these pieces:

  • An advanced operating system phone implementation
  • The framework for the Java Device Test Suite

Finally, in the first quarter of 2007 the move to free software will be completed as Sun provides these pieces under the GPL:

  • A buildable Java SE Development Kit (JDK)
  • Project GlassFish (in addition to CDDL)

"With the Java Development Kit released as free software under the GPL, Sun will be working closely with distributors of the GNU/Linux operating system," said Rich Green, executive vice president of Software at Sun. Those distributors "will soon be able to include the JDK as part of the open source repositories that are commonly included with GNU/Linux distributions".

Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, called the use of GPL "a bold move". "Everyone has been expecting that one day Sun would open source Java technology," said O'Reilly, "but no one expected just how far they'd go".

By offering all three Java platforms (Java SE, Java EE, and Java ME) under a common license, Sun will allow developers to more easily distribute updated versions together. Through the OpenJDK project, developers will be able to participate with their peers in an open community to directly influence the future of the JDK implementation and help take Java technology where it hasn't been before.

More details

For more information about today's announcement see: