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Sun will Open Java's Source

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the source-shall-set-you-free dept.

Java 584

bckrispi writes "An announcement from Sun spokesman Raghavan Srinivas indicates that, contrary to what we've heard in the past, Java will be Open-sourced. "We haven't worked out how to open-source Java, but at some point it will happen," Srinivas said."

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584 comments

Yeah, by IBM. (1, Insightful)

Len Weaver (624069) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331740)

I doubt Sun will ever open source Java. If it happens at all it will be after Sun goes chapter 11 and is bought out by IBM.

Re:Yeah, by IBM. (5, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331780)

I really can't see any good reason for Sun to open Java or Solaris. They won't accept patches unless the copyright is assigned to them, and Sun will have a license that wont allow code from GPL work to enter Solaris or Java and vice-versa. If they really did, I would take it as more of a "We Give-Up" move just before everything falls apart. I personally would hate to see Sun go.

Re:Yeah, by IBM. (2, Interesting)

SphericalCrusher (739397) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331830)

Well, nonetheless, if Sun somehow dies, the world still has Solaris and Java at their fingertips. I can't believe they are actually going through with this. I thought that little Microsoft deal would have stopped it completely, but I guess Sun still has a few tricks of thier sleeves. w00t!

Re:Yeah, by IBM. (3, Insightful)

whereiswaldo (459052) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331991)

I really can't see any good reason for Sun to open Java or Solaris.

Me neither. Where the hell is the value in their company? Solaris doesn't have the greatest market share, and I see Java as their biggest strength. They want to give it away why? Don't they have a responsibility to the shareholders?

People run all kinds of Microsoft-made technologies and don't gripe. What's with the shitstorm about Java not being open source?
Who cares?

Boon (4, Insightful)

TWooster (696270) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331741)

This is an excellent boon for open source software. Even if we only get small portions of it, having open-source Java can only benefit the community.

Thanks, Sun!

Unless of course its all owned by SCO (1, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331937)

IIRC, SUN was one of those companies buying SCO licences. Perhaps SUN's turn to open source prompted this. I can see two reasons. One would be if SUN actually had plausibe SCO unix code in their Solaris (or java). or the other would be if they mereley worried that when they open sourced it some would turn up and they wanted to indemnify themsleves.

Re:Boon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331956)

Please place your order for 3 new starfire machines after you have received Java. Credit cards accepted.

good news (0, Redundant)

law1979 (729907) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331743)

i guess this is good news of the OS community :)

Re:good news (1)

Grant_Watson (312705) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331789)

"i guess this is good news of the OS community :)"

As long as the license isn't something draconian and evil, I agree muchly. But if the license is something in practice unusable as open source, it might lure developers away from a real Free/OSS implementation.

That would be bad news. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Re:good news (1)

BohKnower (586304) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331924)

This is really good news to Java. The open source community always needed a high level language as strong as Java. In the other side, Java always needed a market share as growing as OSS.

Java done a lot of thing on the middleware level, now is time of desktop level.

Benefits? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331749)

How will this benefit Java?

Re:Benefits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331781)

How did being open source benefit Linux?

Re:Benefits? (4, Insightful)

iamwill (701094) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331875)

Not quite an accurate analogy... Java's a platform, so if they release the platform code, there's the potential that a grassroots inititive might cut the fat, and release Java Lite (Decaf). If not, just look for additional branches in the java hardware support tree. Linux is strong because it's fundamentally higher in the operating system food chain, running off a highly optimized kernel, on platform specific assemblers. Up until recently there haven't been many processors that have supported a native Java runtime, so everything's been run in a JVM. If anything, it's about performance and community involvement.

Re:Benefits? (4, Interesting)

MrWim (760798) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331791)

Bug fixing, performance enhancements, porting to more platforms, inclusion in free software only (assuming thay release it under a free software liscence rather than just an open source one) distributions [read: debian] to name just a few of the advantages.

Also, if it's free more people are likley to use it for developing free software

Compile once, run anywhere (even a fedora box) (4, Insightful)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331911)

How will this benefit Java?

It will certainly increase its adoption, especially in the open source world, thus fulfilling its original purpose: write once, run anywhere.

-jim

In other news (3, Funny)

pavon (30274) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331750)

Sun just announced that they have just created a new gaming division which is expected to release it's first title "Duke Nukem Forever" in the near future. The title will run exclusively on Unix systems including Solaris, and the Java Desktop, but may later be ported to other operating systems when the source as well as all artwork is released to the public domain. When asked how Sun can possibly give away every product they own and still make money, Scott McNeily made vague indications of revenue possibilies from their recently patented method of solidifing plazma in deep subterranean lairs.

Re:In other news (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331818)

Why is it any mention of DNF gets you an automatic mod up to Funny? Isn't that joke getting a little stale yet?

Here you go mods, feel free to mod me up, up, and away for this little gut buster:
In Soviet Russia, Duke Nukem Forever is already released!

MOD PARENT UP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331842)

Duke Nukem Forever. LOL!!!!!

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331934)

Duke Nukem Forever. LOL+n!!!!!

Re:In other news (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331886)

Very Funny!

People often don't realize how expensive/lucrative Enterprise Support is compared to the cost of H/W and S/w. Companies charge as much as 29-35% of the product cost as support per year and support is never discounted. i.e companies give away s/w and h/w worth a million and charge say 290k per year in support.

Support/services is often the number 1 consideration in purchasing.

So, I would not be surprised if sun's net revnues do not decrese after they opensource all of their s/w, including OS.

Besides, why does Sun want to fix a bug for which there is no revenue tied? Sun might rather fix an obscure bug from a paid customer than fix the most popular bug. By opensourcing Java/ or OS, they will be opening a new maintenance channel for their platform while still making the same service revenues.

In our company, Sun support team is respected and our IS claims it is worth all the cost.

YAY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331752)

Open source JAVA, the world gets more and more open, one program at a time.

Not much of an announcement (2, Insightful)

G27 Radio (78394) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331754)

"We haven't worked out how to open-source Java, but at some point it will happen," Srinivas said."

When I heard this earlier today I thought the same thing, this is a non-announcement.

Re:Not much of an announcement (2, Interesting)

lucaschan.com (457832) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331778)

When I heard this earlier today I thought the same thing, this is a non-announcement.

It may be a non-announcement. But it's certainly more promising than what they've stated in the past.

Re:Not much of an announcement (1)

xedx (776707) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331882)

they are not "promising" anything no legal obligations or whatever to opensource so this is really not an announcement

Re:Not much of an announcement (5, Insightful)

k4_pacific (736911) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331834)

It doesn't sound that challenging. Slap a CPL on it and dump it on SourceForge. I think they are trying to figure out a way to make it Open Source, yet still retain control over it and derive revenue from it. Sooner or later, they are going to realise that they only have three choices, none of which are very good (for Sun):

1. Java is not open-sourced and falls out of use like most closed standards eventually do.

2. Java is released as open-source and they lose control of it.

3. Java is released under a pussyfoot-shared-source-with-lots-of-restrictions- but-we'll-call-it-open-source license which alienates the OSS crowd and causes open rebellion. Same outcome as #1, only quicker.

Overall, it doesn't look like Sun can win with this.

Re:Not much of an announcement (4, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331880)

I disagree, there really is no value in sun controlling java itself.

Sun own's the java brandname and wants to exploit that, that is there asset. If you want proof, look at the sun java desktop which has not the slightest thing to do with java.

If turned over to the open source crowd java will be powerful and popular in no time. That means the word java will be used all the time, making sun's brand more powerful.

Re:Not much of an announcement (5, Insightful)

Snoopy77 (229731) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331986)

It seems from analyzing sourceforge that Java seems to be doing quite all right within the OSS community just as they are. Coming a clear third behind C++ and C is not bad in terms of language use.

There is enough OSS built around Java to keep it alive in the OSS community and popularity as a whole is right across the board.

They do have real concerns about losing control. Usually, without too much hassle, Java can live up to its write once, (test and then) run everywhere. Will this be so if there are forked projects?

It would be great to get the OSS community in on improving Java but I can see why Sun want to remain in control.

Re:Not much of an announcement (1)

qkw (755948) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331919)

Robin Williams on SOD Donald Runsfeld:

"I don't know when...... I don't know where...... But something terrible's about to happen."

sound similar?

A man, a plan, A canal, panama (1, Offtopic)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331949)

it's a palindrome. now figure out why I posted this. it's not off topic.

Re:Not much of an announcement (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331981)

What they should do is to Open Source java but retain full control over the name.
You want to call it "java", you gotta pass the comaptility tests.

opening questions (4, Insightful)

rd4tech (711615) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331755)

The Java community is split over whether open-sourcing Java is beneficial.
I will probably be marked troll on this one, but I have to ask:
How in the world can you be split over something like that?
I mean, people will basiclly poke at the code and report you bugs.
Other developers will request tons of features that they will point how easy are to be done.
Everyone will be happy.
It's not as if they are charging people for using the pure java language right now.

However, others, including Sun, believe the main hurdle and concern is the future of the Java brand and compatibility.
So, they are planning to be constantly changing the language then? What are they smoking?

We haven't worked out how to open-source Java -- but at some point it will happen," Srinivas said. However, he noted "it might be today, tomorrow or two years down the road".
Well, you start with a 19$ .com name, 200+$ /month for the hosting plan, and about scores of thousands $ for a 2 pages legal agreement. It shouldn't be that hard....

Re:opening questions (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331824)

So, they are planning to be constantly changing the language then? What are they smoking?
I think they're worried about someone forking it. What they ought to do is release the Java code under the GPL but not give up their trademark on the Java name. That way, forked versions can't call themselves Java unless they meet Sun's existing compatibility criteria.

Fork (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331836)

The problem with this is that it could cause people to make incompatible forks of Java. What I mean to say is that Microsoft could make a .Net version of Java that is not compatible with everything else.

Not possible, you say. Who would use it.

Well, whats the most vulnerable part of Java -- its the UI. Swing apps are pretty good already, but not quite comparible to a native app. Well, thats the first thing that will change. And people will like it because it feels like a native app.

What for, you say. Just use SWT.

Well maybe, but with .Net you get all the native widgets without a 3rd library in there. Plus, you can do something like System.Window.Form.Whatever. Shit I don't do .Net, you know what I'm talking about.

Re:Fork (1)

rd4tech (711615) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331855)

Both you and the other post have valid points. It might be that the crossplatform-ness will prevail platform targeted nice-featred forks, I don't know. But I can definitely see System.Java taking shots at Sun's Java. They were burned once, true, but there always is another thing to try.

Re:Fork (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331945)

Well, I was just trying to respond to the question of why anybody would be against the open-sourcing of Java.

I don't think its a bad thing. There are things that the open-source community would do if it were open today. One of the best things about the Apple implementation of Java is that it uses OpenGL to draw Swing. Java 1.5 is just getting this. Well if Java were open, this kind of thing would probably be done already. Anyway, this is the kind of project I think the open source community can contribute to Java.

Re:Fork (2, Informative)

shaitand (626655) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331902)

Not if it's properly gpl'd, then Microsoft won't touch it with a 10ft pole. Some obscure unix tools for windows package is one thing, something like a jvm for .net is WAY too public to use under the gpl after their past statements.

As for non-commercial forks... this will prevent them. Anyone can write a jvm NOW, there are already open source jvm's. Sun's isn't even the best jvm, but what sun has going for it is that it's the official jvm, that's true no matter what license it's under. If you want a jvm, it's sun you get it from.

Open source java=good, open featured java=baaad (1)

HeaththeGreat (708430) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331851)

One of the major java design points was write-once run anywhere. Now, I know that scores of you will say this is total BS, and I agree with you in principle. However, I've graduated into the wonderful world of J2EE development, and let me just say that the J2EE world is much better about this sort of thing.

I mean, sure websphere crashes all the time and is slow, but at least I can drop my WAR file into any J2EE compliant container and it does its business.

However, if Java is open-sourced GPL style, we open the possibility of forking which is totally bad news. That is to say, purposeful incompatibilities between VMs is bad news. I've heard the idea kicked around that Sun should require compatibility testing similar to J2EE to qualify for the Java monicker, and I think that's a pretty swell idea. If you want to create your own forked version of Java, then call it StarBux or something, just make it obvious to us developers that you are not standards compliant and at least we'll have no one to blame but ourselves when others can't run our stuff.

Of course, the coolest thing about open sourcing Java will be increased presence on the Linux platform. All I need now is warcraft III on Linux and I'll have no reason to use Windows ever again!

Re:Open source java=good, open featured java=baaad (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331940)

Warcraft III runs just fine on linux under winex and with good performance. Pretty much all the major titles aside from MMORPGS work just fine under winex and run anywhere from a touch slower to significantly faster than they do on windows.

You do realize there are dozens of forks of java ALREADY. Forks forks everywhere, is what we have now. We even already have open source forks of java. So open sourcing java won't make producing forks/clones any easier than it already is.

The only advantage that the sun jvm offers over these open source java implementations is that it's the official sun distribution of java... After it's open sourced, you know how that will change? Me either, seems to me it will be exactly the same... the open source forks however will die because there won't be a point anymore.

The only reason for java to fork at that point will be if sun doesn't accept patches and changes, at which point it should fork and a new dominate java arise... then guess what, that will be the new official java. Java will remain stable for the same reason XFree86 has (chosen intentionally because it was finally forked for good reason and even that was put off until we had the excuse of a license change), or the kernel.

Re:opening questions (1)

Bricklets (703061) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331862)

It's not as if they are charging people for using the pure java language right now.

I'm not sure, but I was under the impression Sun did charge a licensing fee for Java under certain conditions.

Re:opening questions (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331873)

So, they are planning to be constantly changing the language then? What are they smoking?

They HAVE BEEN constantly changing the language.
they come out with a new jdk every like 6 months.
and on the web side, you got jsp's, then struts, now jsf's.

Its the number one reason i'm getting out of it.

20something java programmer

Re:opening questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331923)

They HAVE BEEN constantly changing the language.

Strictly speaking, between jdk1.3 and 1,4 assert and NIO was added. between 1.4 and 1.5 generics and metadata was added. what has been growing at a rapid rate is the extension and J2SE, J2EE related standards. The language has been very stable and has changed very slowly. In fact, go read all the posts about java taking too long to add generics and other features.

So you don't like having to learn new technologies and API. That's understandable, but the other option is not having any standard at all. of the two options, I'd rather have a middle ground. Sun has managed it the best they can. You try managing the needs of a community against the needs of corporations. It's not easy.

Re:opening questions (3, Insightful)

Chester K (145560) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331905)

How in the world can you be split over something like that?

The fear of a fork is what keeps the community split. A truly open source Java would have no restrictions against someone taking Java and extending it in a way that's incompatible with existing Java (remember when Microsoft tried to do that?). It would completely undermine the idea of Java as a stable universally-compatible platform to build on.

Re:opening questions (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331965)

Alternately, a truely open Java could include a Free compatibility test suite, allowing many of the existing reimplementations to certify that they are indeed compatible with Sun's reference version.

Re:opening questions (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331984)

Bullshit. OpenGL's API is free, but the name is trademarked. You cannot call yourself OpenGL unless you've passed compatibility tests (and coughed up the money to fund those tests). Same thing could work here, and that's been known since Java began. Sun's not interested. They've sown the "forks may happen" crapmeme from the beginning when it doesn't matter. Trademark law trumps forks.

DUPE duplicate repeat rinse repeat (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331757)

Dupe
Duplicate
repeat
boring
bullshit

This is news? (5, Insightful)

Tesser (177743) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331759)

Not to be a cynic, but "at some point" they will "somehow" figure out how to open source Java?

And at some point I'll somehow figure out how to make a million dollars while sitting at home playing my Playstation, too.

I fail to see how this qualifies as news.

Re:This is news? (1, Flamebait)

ncurses (764489) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331790)

It is news, but you have to read between the lines. It is showing that Sun is desperate for any and all attention, especially good attention now that most people have figured out that Java sucks.

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331819)

by that measure C# also sucks. let's all go back to coding in assembly and C, since real men manage memory manually. none of that GC junk :) </joke>

Re:This is news? (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331950)

C# does suck. I hope by "we all" you mean to refer to yourself and the other 10 programmers who feel interpreted languages should be used for something other than modeling and inhouse work ;)

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331846)

NO YUO!

Re:This is news? (0)

garyok (218493) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331994)

And at some point I'll somehow figure out how to make a million dollars while sitting at home playing my Playstation, too.

Hey, that's my idea. And I'll thank you kindly from refraining from accomplishing said goal until I can patent that business method (and then license it to you at very reasonable rates) through the European Union's upcoming intellectual land-grab. I mean clarifications on patent law. Did I say land-grab? I meant nice clear laws. That's right: all nice and fair. Joe (or Jean or Jurgen) Pubic vs. every multi-national company on earth's legal department. That'll be an even playing field all right.

Anyway, point is: everyone that knows me knows that being lazy all my life was my idea and unless you thought of it over 32 years ago, I win.

But I feel validated learning that you came to the same conclusion ;D

Bah! Tell me when it actually happens! (5, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331760)

"We haven't worked out how to open-source Java -- but at some point it will happen," Srinivas said. However, he noted "it might be today, tomorrow or two years down the road".
This is useless. Considering how often Sun changes its mind, there's no reason to believe anything they say. It'll only be newsworthy when Sun actually does it!

Re:Bah! Tell me when it actually happens! (4, Interesting)

Bricklets (703061) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331904)

This is useless. Considering how often Sun changes its mind, there's no reason to believe anything they say. It'll only be newsworthy when Sun actually does it!

Considering just a month/few months ago Sun was saying no to open sourcing Java, this IS news. It represents a public shift in their coporate strategy. Call it what you will, this is newsworthy.

FP! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331761)

Fuck penises!

Accepting the license aggrement (1)

satanami69 (209636) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331765)

One of the most annoying parts of installing Java on FreeBSD via the ports, is having to stop and accept the license agreement.

sounds familiar (1)

rwven (663186) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331767)

Sounds like a "microsoft publicity stunt" to me... it reminds me of the feeling i get when i think of SCO... grrr

faces of a coin (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331769)

the optimist in me says "alright, about time." the pessimist in me says, "wait until it happens before rejoicing."

I really hope they do open source java. it would let OSS improve the VM. it would make it evolve faster and allow more people to improve it.

ANSI/ISO (3, Insightful)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331770)

Java is nice and all, but I still prefer that my programming languages be managed by a standards organization.

Re:ANSI/ISO (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331974)

No, I much prefer my language be managed by users rather than highly political entities beholden to the implementors.

Not sure how? (2, Insightful)

leprasmurf (561814) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331775)

I don't understand what trouble they are having with opening the source. Isn't as easy as publishing the source code?

I guess I can understand the fear of losing the "write once, run anywhere" mentality, but if that's one of the main attractions to the language doesn't it stand to reason that people won't really veer to far off?

Wow, this is huge news! (2, Interesting)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331776)

Let me be the first to say: I hope to god Eric Raymond doesn't try to take credit for this. For those of you who don't know, ESR wrote an open letter asking for sun to Open-Source java. He wasn't the first, by a long shot. And IBM also asked for the same thing. Given ESR's tendency to take credit for just about everything though, I'm sure he'll claim that this was his doing...

That said, I hope java doesn't end up fragmented. One of the really nice things about java is that despite a few problems, it's very portable. I've never personally had a problem moving my code from one machine to another. I hope we don't end up with lots of different "distributions" of java. While Linus has managed to keep the Linux kernel mostly whole, That has a lot to do with his political skills. Lots of OSS projects end up fragmented.

I also hope this isn't an instance of sun trying to save some of their technology from being destroyed as their ship goes down. Sun has been struggling, and I hope they pull through and continue with their leadership in the development of java.

Re:Wow, this is huge news! (5, Insightful)

mrfibbi (695943) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331897)

I think that people who worry themselves over the ominous and supposedly inevitable "fragmentation" really need to take a second look at things.

1-There are numerous examples of open source programming languages that have remained centralized and unfragmented, like Perl and Python.

2-Because java depends on a uniform standard and VM, any attempts to split off or fork the source tree will die miserably due to a lack of compatibility with the massive pool of existing code and classes.

3-In fact, there is actually LESS chance of fragmentation when Java lies in the hands of the public, first because it means that no one will start up a competing "openjava", a venture that would almost certainly lead to incompatibilities, and second because, as the example of the death of xfree86 shows, too much central and absolute control over software by a small group will inevitably anger developers and users alike, leading them to search for an alternative.

Honestly, this is slashdot. You people should have more faith in OSS.

Great (1)

benguru (528346) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331793)

Great, now we can try and have people use Java on linux more, since non-open-source was one thing people were opposed to over Mono.

Great, now we can make Java not suck! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331799)

Hm, or maybe it's beyond hope.

Do it where it counts! (5, Insightful)

newhoggy (672061) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331805)

"We haven't worked out how to open-source Java -- but at some point it will happen," Srinivas said. However, he noted "it might be today, tomorrow or two years down the road"

Instead of waiting two years, do it now when it counts most. If Sun feels some degree of uncertainty, then test the waters by open sourcing selective parts of the JDK - especially the parts of the Java libraries that are widely perceived to be neglected.

Re:Do it where it counts! (1)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331947)

This would be really cool, especially for the pure java stuff.

If they released some of those API's they could be dropped right into GCJ's classpath making GCJ much more usefull.

Indonesia and the Pacific (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331810)

The true source of java has been known for many long years now: "The best Java coffee is grown on the far eastern end of the island on five estates established by the Dutch government." Evidence [nwlink.com] .

warmest regards,
Juan Valdez

What's the point? (0)

Tim_F (12524) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331816)

Open sourcing programs makes sense. People can then look at the code and make any changes to the code that is necessary for them. I've done this many times myself.

But programming languages? All you need to know is right there in the API. If you open source a language, it's no longer really a language anymore is it. And that's the point. Java does what it does so well because Sun made it that way. When you open source it, you open it up so someone may fork it or whatever. Will Java really be improved when someone decides to add PERL (Practical Example of an unReliable Language) to it?

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331866)

Open sourcing Java lets people improve the implementation--great for a language that's often labeled as slow. It also makes it a lot more likely for a new open source project to use Java and not, say, Mono.

Re:What's the point? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331872)

You once again prove my point that anyone with a slashdot UID 15000 is an idiot.

Open sourcing Sun's Java IMPLEMENTATION (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331990)

You phoquing moron.

It's just another step towards obsolesence... (5, Funny)

iamwill (701094) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331828)

You gotta admire the effort Sun is making to even maintain Java, anymore... Bless their hearts.

Not really that big (4, Insightful)

leshert (40509) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331835)

It's not nearly as big a deal as open-sourcing, say, Solaris, simply because it's not going to wreck a primary revenue stream for Java.

I've wondered for a while where Sun makes money from Java, particularly enough to recoup what they spend on it. I can't imagine it affects sales of Solaris boxes that much.

Re:Not really that big (1)

_Stryker (15742) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331936)

You are in luck, the SUN COO promised that Solaris would also be made Open Source as previously announced here [slashdot.org] on Slashdot.

Is Microsoft Behind This? (2, Insightful)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331849)

Call me paranoid or even a conspiracy theorist, but what if Microsofy is behind this? What if Microsoft, as part of their settlement with Sun, asked them to open-source Java so that they could embrace and extend it, and pollute it as they tried to before?

How much do you want to bet that Java will be open sourced under a BSD-style license, and not the GPL.

Doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331878)

I'd bet too much of the internal Java code is actually owned by IBM.

And if Microsoft is behind open-sourcing Java for the purpose of embrace-extend-extinguish, IBM won't allow that....

Re:Is Microsoft Behind This? (2, Funny)

Bricklets (703061) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331881)

Call me paranoid or even a conspiracy theorist

Well, you said it first...

Re:Is Microsoft Behind This? (1)

Rick and Roll (672077) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331894)

How much do you want to bet that Java will be open sourced under a BSD-style license, and not the GPL.

Eleventy Billion Dollars.

There is no way in hell it will be released under the BSD license.

Re:Is Microsoft Behind This? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331912)

How much do you want to bet that Java will be open sourced under a BSD-style license, and not the GPL.

And this would be bad because...? BSD makes source code truly free, unlike the GPL. Freedom means allowing people to use knowledge without restriction, even if it's contrary to your personal vision of the world. It means protecting the rights of even those who don't believe said rights should exist.

Re:Is Microsoft Behind This? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331987)

If they were going to release it under a BSD license, why would fears over their brand name and compatibility be delaying it?

(Besides, having Sun's class libraries open-sourced would allow Mono to become a more viable alternative to the "real" .Net, since a lot of the classes could be ported over pretty quickly.)

Bad Move (2, Insightful)

atehrani (785410) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331853)

I think Java is fine the way it is. Open Sourcing it will not bring any improvements and actually might hurt Java.

Re:Bad Move (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331954)

How dare you change the almighty Java!? The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Where is my tinfoil hat?

VM Optimization (1)

ryanmfw (774163) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331857)

With how people say that the Java VM is very fast compared to others, maybe now devs of other languages like Java (Python, perl) could learn from this source code and make their interpreters better.

As long as the license is good (1)

tutwabee (758134) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331885)

This will be a great thing for Sun and the open-source community, but only as long as the source is licensed under a non-restricting license. I don't think that is going to happen though. If it happen, all I can say is "rejoice!" :)

Java for amiga anyone? (3, Interesting)

tcc (140386) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331887)

Does that mean that finally, 10 years later, my amiga 1200 will finally have support for not only frames but java too? :)

I remember the browsing frustrations I had in my last years on that platform, at one point we were in advance for just about everything possible, then lost to 3d gaming, then 16bits audio, then lost all the cool hacks like running a multi-line BBS routed through both telnet and dialup at the same time without even being a programmer, to being a slow about to die dog exept for playing speedball... Oh well.. better late than never I guess..

At some point! (2, Interesting)

ElDuderino44137 (660751) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331910)

*Laugh*

I'm sorry.

I can't believe that an organization would put so much time, effort, and money into a product ... only to give it away to the open source community.

Open source.

Maybe when we all give up on Java and move to the CLR.

Cheers,
-- The Dude

Too little, too late. (5, Interesting)

digitaltraveller (167469) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331926)

Let's assume this isn't horseshit fed to the masses to keep using Java technology.

(eg. like dressing up in a Penguin suit while handing SCO a paper bag full of money under the table.)

From a business point of view, what's the point?

Mono is nearing release 1.0 and is a very attractive platform for developers. Releasing Java open source 3 years ago would have screwed Microsoft hard, but now I'm not so sure.

I still think open sourcing is the best strategic move for Sun, but I think they have no clue on how to exploit it. They will probably do something silly like release it under the IBM CPL since that's what their competitors are doing.

The best move for them is obviously to GPL it, and use a Trolltech style licensing model. GNU Classpath [gnu.org] will naturally get in the way. (again, should have did it 3 years ago).

However, the COO, Johnathan Schwartz recently teased in the media that they might release Looking Glass, Sun's new 3D desktop widget toolkit as open source. I've seen it, it looks great.

If they GPL'd that as well, Sun might have a chance at getting a serious revenue stream happening.

I doubt this will happen though. Sun will keep withering out of fear and inertia. It's the nature of the beast.

Sun's Java Community Process has never worked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9331942)

1 to 3 years mean-time between bug reports and fixes. What a failure. You'd never see that if Java were open.

Sun's Open Source Java mini-HOWTO (2, Insightful)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331944)

In chronological order:
  • Determine conditions that Sun is sure of it finds acceptable right now for released files
  • Throw release files & those conditions on some big-iron ftp/http server under Sun's control
  • Make public announcement (& hopefully survive being /dotted ;o)
  • Inlude in conditions the option to submit patches to Sun
  • Include in conditions the option to publish patches to everyone else
  • Give selected regular patch-submitters limited write-access under strict additional conditions
  • Relax those conditions as time goes by, and you see the source base evolving nicely
  • Move source depository elsewhere, to make that big-iron ftp/http free for newer, more interesting projects
Just my suggestion for how Sun could do it

Why it might take some time... (5, Insightful)

stienman (51024) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331970)

The reason they don't know how long it'll take is likely due to licensing agreements, patent royalties, and other little issues encumbering the code, on top of the normal burocracy.

Inevitibly, in large organizations with large projects, some manager attempts to (and often succeeds in) shortcutting the development time by licensing or purchasing some outside code or technology. I would be surprised if Sun's implementation of Java was completely developed in house and/or completely owned without exception by Sun. They have to vet all the code and modules to be certian that they have the right to release Java. I doubt they'll release the unencumbered parts before it's all ready.

Further, there are likely to be patent and legal encumberances to the code which may prevent immediate release. It could even be that people along the line have said, "I'll patent this technique later, for right now it's a trade secret." There may yet be code in there which they can capitalize off of by patenting, while allowing for usage within java without charge.

And, of course, they have to make sure the company lawyers and accountants are satisfied with whatever terms they release it under. They may even wait until the SCO thing blows over if they really want to use the GPL (Unlikely).

So don't hold your breath. The ideal outcome would make one able to compile it for platforms which it does not yet run on natively and stable.

-Adam
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