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"Open Source is the Future," Declares Jonathan Schwartz In Bold Bid to Make Sun Software's Rock Star

How Will IBM Respond? Can Its Java Integration Business Survive?

“Sun is making the Java Enterprise System, Sun N1 Management software and Sun developer tools available at no cost for both development and deployment,” the company said yesterday, in an announcement. The announcement also said that Sun is “reaffirming its commitment to open source this software.”

By giving away its middleware stack, Sun is fighting back at the huge inroads made into the middleware market by JBoss (whose Marc Fleury of course used to work for Sun). No mention was made of this bold move though at SYS-CON Media’s recent “Application Server Shoot-Out,” even though Sun was represented by the highly articulate Rich Sharples and JBoss was there too, represented by Shaun Connolly who was considered by many viewers to have carried the day against all other participants, including IBM, BEA, Oracle, and Microsoft.

“Nearly one million Java Enterprise System subscribers, customers and developers around the world have asked us to take the next logical step,” Sun’s announcement continued, somewhat portentously.

“With our announced intent to open source the entirety of our software offerings, every single developer across the world now has access to the most sophisticated platform available for web 1.0, 2.0 and beyond,” declared Sun president and COO Jonathan Schwartz, who is betting the farm—including his chances of ever succeeding Scott McNealy in the chief executive’s office—on such radical price innovation.

Sun has committed to open-sourcing its entire software portfolio [my emphasis] using industry-standard open source licensing models to allow customers to have easy and broad access to all of its source code, the company reminded analysts and the press. Many of the components of Sun's integrated platform are already available as open source, Sun stressed, including the Solaris OS, the Sun Java Application Server, the NetBeans software tools, and several key underlying services like single sign-on capabilities and the ability to connect multiple, independent applications in a standard way.

The decision to open-source the Java Enterprise System derives from Schwartz and his boss having seen tremendous momentum with the Solaris OS as free and open source software. Because Sun announced simultaneously that it is integrating all of this no-cost software along with the Solaris OS into the Solaris Enterprise System, it can plausibly lay claim to be on the way toward creating what it calls “the no cost and open alternative to the Windows environment.”

The stakes are high. Schwartz has his sights set firmly on making Sun "the Dot in Web 2.0"—"I, for one, hated giving up We're the dot in dot com," he blogged on Tuesday. 

In other words, “Microsoft look out!” Sun-Microsoft agreement or no Sun-Microsoft agreement, the battle royal to create the software platform of choice for the next-generation of the Internet began in earnest yesterday.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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