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IBM Pushes Sun to Open-Source Java

IBM Pushes Sun to Open-Source Java

IBM, which has a vested interest in Java - heck, it has more Java programmers than Sun does - has written Sun, which owns Java and has been pretty darned persnickety about its so-called "stewardship" of Java over the years, an open letter urging Sun to make Java technology open source.

In the letter from IBM's VP of emerging technology Rod Smith to Sun VP Rob Gingell, IBM offers to work with Sun on an independent project to open source Java.

"Sun's strong commitment to open source Java would speed the development of a first-class and compatible open source Java implementation to the benefit of our customers and the industry," Smith wrote. "We are firmly convinced the open source community would rally around this effort and make substantial contributions as well."

IBM promised to provide technical resources and code for an open source Java implementation and urged Sun to contribute Java specifications, tests and code to the open source community.

In his letter, Smith laid out the expectation that open sourcing Java would accelerate the growth and adoption of technologies built on Java such as web services and Service Oriented Architecture.

IBM's letter comes on the heels of open source advocate Eric Raymond's recent note to Sun CEO Scott McNealy telling him that with Java the choice was between control and ubiquity. Raymond blasted Sun's terms as "so restrictive that Linux distributions cannot even include Java binaries for use as a browser plug-in, let alone as a standalone development tool."

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Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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Most Recent Comments
Anony Mous 02/29/04 10:47:51 PM EST

But then witness IBM's latest foray into Gatesian logic - IBM WebSphere's latest release apparently implements a very proprietary form of Java that voids standard J2EE specs - and makes java a lot less transportable - and impacts anyone trying to write apps for WebSphere as well as every other app server out there.

Dan Clamage 02/27/04 09:44:21 PM EST

IBM must be getting tired of paying those license fees to Sun. That and being restricted in having to follow Sun's not always so-golden specs for Java. True, IBM's done more with Java than Sun has. But Java is a product, Sun guards it jealously, and makes money off it. So don't expect to see it go Open Source any time soon.

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