It was nice bumping into Sun Microsystems chief open source officer Simon Phipps at JBoss World today. The new Sun-JBoss synergy evident at the event is a topic worth mulling over. It was only a few quarters ago that CEO Jonathan Schwartz was bad mouthing JBoss parent Red Hat about high costs and a fracturing influence.
Despite a brewing disconnect on ESBs, SOA stacks, as well as old rivalrys on middleware and application runtimes, Sun is now happy to support JBoss Seam. Sun may provide additional NetBeans-based tooling for Seam, even bake it into the Java EE 5 specification (server side) at some point. The quid pro quo is that JBoss supports NetBeans, bringing more community energy to the budding development environment. So it's kind of a NetBeans-Web Beans hand-washing exercise. Can't hurt. JBoss is still predominantly an Eclipse house.
But what really caught my attention was Simon's prophesy about the open sourcing of Java, announced recently at Java One. Simon says that the Java community should soon expect "demonstrations of good will" in terms of certain parts of Java technology being opened more fully, but it's not at all clear under what license. This "useful" opening will stand as a monument, apparently, to open Java for some time as the Sun squad takes on the larger hairball issue of opening the fuller Java cavalcade of definitions and reference implementations under said as yet undetermined license.
Oh, and while the good will gestures of early Open Solaris, such as D-Trace, didn't exactly change the open source world given the lack of immediate practicality, the Java good will stuff should be more impactful, so says Simon. Let's hope the pending opening of Java won't require a reality access device to appreciate.