A blog for the enterprise open source community
Open Source Java…soon?Raven Zachary, April 28, 2006 @ 4:10 pm ET
Matt Raible at Virtuas posted a blog entry yesterday about the possibility that Sun may open-source Java at JavaOne in mid-May. Specifically, Matt wonders if the timing on Jonathan Schwartz’s ascendancy to the CEO role at Sun Microsystems may be a precursor to this announcement.
While I don’t think that that the management announcement at Sun this week has anything to do with the timing of JavaOne (Jonathan was going to get up there and talk, anyway), I believe that Sun needs to do more at JavaOne from an open source perspective than rattle off statistics on the success of OpenSolaris (which is debatable, anyway) and how a closed-source Java is surrounded by the success of open source initiatives.
We’re going to have an open source Java implementation whether Sun wants it or not. Take a look at the Apache Harmony project. Maybe this is the right time for Sun to open-source Java. That said, I’ll be my own contrarian and tell you that everything I have heard from Sun on its rationale for not making Java open source right now is logical – it’s regarding the time it would take for the review process vs. the benefit of such a move. Simon Phipps, the Chief Open Source Officer at Sun, mentioned in an open source panel that I MC’ed at BarCamp Austin in March that he’d rather not have Sun spending its time cleaning up and reviewing code, but instead should be innovating new features into the next release of Java.
Has Sun made the decision to focus its engineering efforts of the Java team on an open source effort, after all? JavaOne would be the best time to announce this. Do it now, wait a year, or stand firm?
Say what you will, but LAMP is impacting Java usage. Yahoo went with a PHP-based framework over JSP (Java Server Pages), and everyone I know is doing PHP development for small to mid-sized projects, which can’t be discounted. Yes, Java is a better solution for scale. I implemented Java at La Quinta for this very reason and performance was great. Yet, I would never use Java for building static web pages, most internal applications, or even some simple customer-facing sites. I digress here, but I think that Sun can help boost the Java mojo if it went the open source route. It may not result in much technical benefit from the community-at-large, but it’s a statement of support for open source, and will bring the Apache Harmony team back into alignment with Sun.
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