Sun CEO: Java Code Coming by Year End

Picking up the pace after somewhat of a piecemeal approach to open sourcing the Java programming language over the last several months, Sun Microsystems Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Schwartz said the company will open the core Java code to the community by year’s end.

Speaking at the Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco Wednesday, Schwartz indicated the core Java software, Java Standard Edition, would be opened up within 30 to 60 days.

Sun has still not stated what Open Source Initiative (OSI)-approved license it will use to move the previously closed code into the open, but it is widely expected to rely on its Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL), which was the basis for the company’s Solaris open source effort, OpenSolaris.

Pour the Java

Since signaling its intention to open source Java in May, Sun has released portions of code from the Mobile Edition and Enterprise Edition versions of the Java platform.

However, Sun has also continued to charge license fees for Java use and implementation, and contended it had compatibility and intellectual property issues to work through before opening Java as a whole.

Now it appears the company is ready to release Java SE in open source form.

“Clearly, I think (independent software vendors), developers and the Java community will be more receptive to ‘let’s get it done,’ understand the terms, and work around a definitive timetable,” Interarbor Solutions Principal Analyst Dana Gardner told LinuxInsider. “This is certainly more helpful and useful and valuable.”

Open and Closed Case

Sun’s strategy with open source software, including its OpenSolaris and now its open Java efforts, is no different from the current norm in the industry, which is a mix of commercial and open source versions, solutions and business models, Gardner noted.

Sun’s choice of license is also important, he said, as the chains and complexities of software licenses can sometimes offset the flexibility and customization advantages of open code if the licenses are not compatible throughout a software stack.

“Licenses shouldn’t be more complicated than the code,” Gardner said.

Leasing Over Licensing

Sun also used its OpenWorld platform to highlight its strategy to provide computing power to enterprises via lease, indicating it hopes to be like an electricity or other utility provider in delivering enterprise network and application services.

Enterprise IT may be ripe for Sun’s vision, according to Gardner, and providing highly-complex computing via lease makes sense, as leasing does in other industries such as airlines or railroads, which typically lease planes and cars.

Such a model may help enterprise IT shops get out of the typical three- to five-year cycle of significant capital expenditures, or as Gardner put it, the “boom and bust” cycle of the industry.

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