Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sun Set To Move On GPL License For Open-Source Java

Sun kept saying "we can't do this very fast", once they accepted the notion of opening the source code for the Java language. Obviously they were bargaining for enough time that when they finally started to take irrevocable actions, they would be perceived as moving very rapidly in relation to their own forecasts.

At any rate; Java as a FOSS product is nearly a done deal and will be official soon. Look for this to re-establish Java as a competitor to Python, .NET and the newcomer, Ruby, in the hearts and minds of developers, or at least their bosses.

In case you are wondering what is accomplished by open-sourcing Java; the move puts the languaage in a place where Sun cannot discontinue or otherwise cripple it in favor of a newer product. That is what happened with Microsoft's Visual Basic. When the .NET version came out, it was incompatible with earlier versions, as were the runtimes, forcing either re-writing code to comply with the new runtimes or sticking with the old and hoping to go on for some time without patches or hotfixes for any issues that might arise. The resentment was palpable at the time and the fact that it happened once has steered several companies I know of away from .NET completely and into the arms of open source platforms.

There are still some licensing issues to be decided, but I think they will all be worked out within a month. Perhaps even less.


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