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Open-Sourcing Java: "Using a GPL License Is Very Much *On* the Table," Says Sun's CEO

Jonathan Schwartz: "Compatibility is what creates the market Sun, and others, can monetize"

"We're now making serious progress on open sourcing Java," writes Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, "while focusing the debate on what matters most: not access to lines of code (that's already widely available), but ensuring compatibility." Schwartz was writing in his "Jonathan's Blog" - which not surprisingly celebrated the fact that a record number of people attended JavaOne in mid-May, making it what he carefully termed "the world's largest free software conference."

"Compatibility is what brought a record number of people to JavaOne this year," Schwartz blogged, warming to his theme. "It's what's behind nearly 3 billion+ Java enabled devices," he continued.

"And for those that missed the subtlety," he added - a tad snarkily? - "that compatibility is what creates the market Sun, and others, can monetize with network innovations, from software to hardware and services."

This particular blog, Schwartz's post-JavaOne effusion, was replete with curiosities, for those attuned to the smoke signals that Sun's "Prime Blogger" likes to release via this formidable back channel.

Written only 8 days after a pre-JavaOne blog in which he revealed that he is now Sun's official "Chief Java Evangelist," a title he claims to share with Scott McNealy, now Sun's Chairman, Schwartz's blog revealed not only what the tagline of JavaOne is going to be next year (don't forget, you read it here first, 12 months early: 'The World's Largest Free Software Conference'), but also the fact that Sun is very likely going to confound all its critics in the open source community by open sourcing Java not under a CDDL license let alone a new license of its own concoction but under the GPL.

If this turns out to hold true, and this extensive JavaOne SYS-CON.TV interview with Sun's Chief Open Source Officer, Simon Phipps, certainly leads me personally to the conclusion that it will, then Schwartz may yet be able to bake and serve the World's Largest Humble Pie and send it in complimentary helpings to literally hundreds and thousands of back-seat drivers who have over the years poured skepticism and worse on Sun's head over this one, all-important issue.

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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Most Recent Comments
Linux Hosting 07/01/06 02:52:14 AM EDT

It is great step. Open Java sources will result in active developments there and leverage Java's performance and popularity even more.

Dave 05/30/06 10:46:23 PM EDT

Make sure Java is compatible on all platforms, then do whatever to make everyone else happy. It would be great to have java open sourced to remove all the complaints heaped on Sun and the Java community and to get it pre-installed on all open-source platforms but this must not affect the WORA guarantee that is Java. If this happens it will another great day in the history of Java and the Java community.

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