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Sun Turns J2SE Into Laboratory For New Java Licensing Experiment

It All Depends What the Meaning of "Open" Is...

"We're trying to simplify, as best we can, all the legalistics," Sun Fellow Graham Hamilton told the press yesterday - meaning the 'legalistics' involved in Java application development.

Sun's "Project Peabody" - a codename that no one has yet explained - involves the introduction, in approximately a month's time, of a new license called JIUL, standing for Java Internal Use License; and another called JDL, for Java Distribution License.

JIUL will supersede the SCSL (Sun Community Source License), Hamilton said.

Hamilton, a Sun VP and Fellow in the Java platform team who was the lead architect for J2SE releases 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5, added that Sun's main goal is to "increase the transparency of [its] licensing" with the JCP and the development community at large. 

Sun has also created the JRL (Java Research Licence) - a new license created specifically for universities and researchers who want to use Java technologies as subject matter for learning and research. The JRL is intended for all Java platforms, profiles, and standard extensions currently covered under Java SCSL licenses (e.g. J2SE, J2EE, and J2ME).

"It was written to simplify and relax the terms of the existing 'research' section of the current SCSL," says Sun at its website, adding:

"This license is designed for the research community. This includes schools and universities as well as companies that are interested in investigating new products and services using Java technologies. This research license is only for initial research and development projects, and can be used for java.net projects among peers who have agreed to its terms. If you decide to use your project internally for a productive use, and/or distribute your product to others, you must sign a commercial agreement and meet the Java compatibility requirements."

The JRL is not, Sun stresses, a commercial license. It is only for initial research and development projects. If you decide to use your project internally for a productive use, and/or distribute your product to others, you must sign a commercial agreement and meet the Java compatibility requirements. Developers can send questions related to the JRL to [email protected], and/or post comments on the java-net project forum.

The three new Java licenses interest, but do not overly impress, Burton Group VP and Research Director Anne Thomas Manes, moderator of the "App Server Shoot-Out" Keynote Panel at this year's Web Services Edge 2005 in Boston which can still be viewed on SYS-CON.TV (http://sys-con.tv) in its entirety.

"Sun should have open-sourced Java five years ago," she told a reporter.

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
lgplgpl 03/19/05 01:32:51 PM EST

Classic Sun.

Distraction Therapy 03/18/05 08:42:59 AM EST

Maybe Sun should bid against Oracle and SAP for Retek and take people's eyes off Java for a bit ;-)

MoreIsSometimesLess 03/18/05 07:27:01 AM EST

Java Research Licence, Java Distribution License, Java Internal Use License...smoke and mirrors or the real thing? How long are they, where can we find them to check them out, and when?

Licenses x3 03/18/05 06:52:57 AM EST

Wasn't James Gosling supposed to speak on this topic, how come Graham Hamilton took over?

polese 03/18/05 06:23:54 AM EST

Java + OSS commented on 18 March 2005:
Kim Polese, now CEO of SpikeSource, has written (http://www.sys-con.com/story/?storyid=48533&DE=1): Java's success derives from principles that are central to the growth of open source software

Thanks for that link.

licensee 03/18/05 05:01:47 AM EST

So will the SCSL go away for J2EE too soon?

infoPoint 03/18/05 04:29:47 AM EST

Sun spent $863 million on research and development through the first half of its 2005 fiscal year and McNealy said the company's investments were "paying off with heightened interest from existing customers and attention from new customers." (Feb. 2, 2005)

skEptiker 03/18/05 03:14:07 AM EST

}}} Kim Polese: Java's success derives from principles that are central to the growth of open source software {{{

Maybe so, but do these 3 new more-open-but-not-quite-open licenses adhere to those same principles, or merely muddy the waters?

Java + OSS 03/18/05 03:08:15 AM EST

Kim Polese, now CEO of SpikeSource, has written (http://www.sys-con.com/story/?storyid=48533&DE=1): Java's success derives from principles that are central to the growth of open source software

hsmith 03/18/05 02:47:39 AM EST

1.6 "mustang" will be named java 6.0, for whatever reason.

i just assume they will never go to 2.x, but continue on with 1.x up until forever.

the whole "java 2.0", "java 5.0" is stupid to begin with.

Deja Vu 03/18/05 02:46:41 AM EST

I could have swore I read this article (Sun planning on opening Java) - in 1989?

fantastic 03/18/05 02:45:01 AM EST

See this article for some inside info on the naming (http://www.sys-con.com/story/?storyid=48538&DE=1).

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