Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Java Programming Sun Microsystems IT Technology

Sun will Open Java's Source 584

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the source-shall-set-you-free dept.
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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Sun will Open Java's Source

Comments Filter:
  • Boon (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TWooster (696270) <<twooster> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday June 03, 2004 @10:39PM (#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!
    • by minkwe (222331) on Friday June 04, 2004 @06:16AM (#9333212) Journal
      A casual look at their statements reveals their minds.

      In this article [com.com] in which they promise opening up Solaris, They say:

      "Look, you only need to look at what we've done with Java to understand how Sun views the value of incorporating community feedback," he said. "Java could not exist if only Sun is supporting it. It exists because there are hundreds and thousands of partners. We need to now take the model with Java and bring it to Solaris."

      The uninformed on-lookers will only see the statement "Sun warms to open-source for Solaris" which gives them more points.

      Next concerning Java, a few months ago they said [com.com],

      "Schwartz also noted that people who stick to Sun's licensing terms and maintain compatibility with Sun standards can have access to the Java source code. Changing the licensing to an open-source model would encourage different implementations, he said."

      Now they are saying [zdnet.com.au]:

      "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".

      Again, the uninformed on-lookers will only see the statement "Sun to open-source Java" which gives them more points.
      Summary: They promised to make Solaris become like Java, meanwhile they don't know if at all Java will be open-sourced in this lifetime.

      This is what is called hybrid-source: A vapor version of open-source meant only to gain favor with the open-source community and the business world without any active steps or concrete plans to put it in effect.

  • eh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Josh_Borke (325390) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @10:39PM (#9331748)
    so, java and solaris will be open source, and hardware will be free. so basically we'll be paying for our work?
  • by pavon (30274) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @10:40PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2004 @11:06PM (#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.
    • by carambola5 (456983) on Friday June 04, 2004 @12:40AM (#9332338) Homepage
      When asked how Sun can possibly give away every product they own and still make money, Scott McNeily

      replied: "Simple... Volume."
  • opening questions (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rd4tech (711615) * on Thursday June 03, 2004 @10:40PM (#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....
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2004 @10:53PM (#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.
      • Forking JAVA (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Friday June 04, 2004 @03:54AM (#9332852)
        > I think they're worried about someone forking it.

        Oh bull. How many incompatible forks of C++ are there? Not all compilers implement all of the latest ANSI standard but are all working toward compliance as fast as they can lest they lose relevence in the marketplace. Ok, how about Perl? It has been GPL from the start of it's life and there has been exactly ZERO forks. Python? Nope, no evil forks there. How about the granddaddy of them all, C? Yes, but the ANSI standard keeps pulling them all back into line, so it hasn't been a problem. Every time C shows its age the compiler writers start innovating and the good ideas get standaridized.

        Sun is still trying to think of a way to make JAVA a cash cow and is afraid that if they Open Source it that when they have the "Ah Ha!" moment that it won'y work because they opened it.

        And anyway, the idea of compile once, emulate everywhere is not exactly a great one if you live in the OS/FS world. Won't bother me a bit when Java becomes just another language that GCC compiles to native code and it's bundled libraries are sitting in /usr/lib with the rest. When programmers decide whether to use the bundled crossplatform graphic toolkit or use java bindings to Win32/Qt/Gtk/wxWindows/SDL/etc. When Python programmers are deciding whether to use Tk or Swing. Or in a bumper sticker size phrase, when Java is just another OO language instead of a religion.
    • by Chester K (145560) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @11:10PM (#9331905) Homepage
      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 (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tarantolato (760537)
        The fear of a fork is what keeps the community split.

        Sun has this spooky, almost pathological, fear of forking. I guess you can attribute it to fallout from the proprietary Unix wars of the 80s and 90s. Thing is, those were a direct consequence of proprietary licensing. Everyone took the "historical Unix" code, put it in their own systems, and then chugged along incompatibly, with the new code hidden. The difference with GPL'd code is that if you use it, you have to publish it. So your rivals can c
      • That argument is not very god.
        1. The most important question: WHY would anyone fork it? Where are the 'hundreds of forks' of Perl and Python?
        2. And just who the hell will actually use an incompatible, impopular Java fork, that isn't even legally allowed to be called "Java"?
        3. How's forking Java and making it incompatible any different from creating your own language with incompatible but similar Java-like syntax? (other than that under the hood it's based on Sun Java, but nobody cares about that)
  • This is news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tesser (177743) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @10:41PM (#9331759) Homepage
    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? (Score:3, Informative)

      by bruthasj (175228)
      Because Sun is a fairly large company with a fairly widely used product and they're actually *considering* the possibility of open-sourcing that product, whereas before everyone thought it was some lone ranger rant by ESR. Besides, Sun is the only entity on the planet with the rights to make this decision.

      On the other hand, no one knows who you are, no one cares if you make money, everyone has a playstation, and most people know how to play it.

      Does that help put things in perspective?
  • by mrchaotica (681592) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @10:41PM (#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!
    • by Bricklets (703061) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @11:10PM (#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.
      • But they shift their strategy every week! Anyone who takes this seriously needs to look at Sun's history.

        When they release it, then perhaps the license will cause it to be news, or one sort or another. I.e., it won't necessarily be positive news. Remember, this is the company that came out with the SCCCL license.

  • faces of a coin (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2004 @10:43PM (#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 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NitsujTPU (19263) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @10:43PM (#9331770)
    Java is nice and all, but I still prefer that my programming languages be managed by a standards organization.
    • Re:ANSI/ISO (Score:4, Funny)

      by warkda rrior (23694) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @11:44PM (#9332058) Homepage
      On the other hand, I prefer that my programming languages be managed by a garbage collector.
    • Re:ANSI/ISO (Score:5, Insightful)

      by heathm (174421) on Friday June 04, 2004 @12:12AM (#9332212) Homepage
      Java is managed by a standards organization. It's call the Java Community Process [jcp.org]. Any individual can join for free and contribute to the Java standards. Companies can join for a reasonable cost. Everything that goes into Java is standardized by the JCP and every JCP standard is freely implementable.

      Explain to me why we need ANSI or ISO?

      A colleague of mine insists that .NET is better because it's an ECMA standard. He's too dense to understand that not all of .NET is part of the ECMA standard and it's not truly an open standard because although I can freely implement what the ECMA standard says, I can't do jack crap to change what's in the ECMA standard. The standard is controlled wholly by Microsoft.

      Explain to me how this is better than the JCP?

      The JCP is already slow enough. The last thing Java needs is some bloated organization like ANSI or ISO to get involved.
  • by newhoggy (672061) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @10:50PM (#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.

    • JMF Comes to Mind (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ink (4325) * on Thursday June 03, 2004 @11:53PM (#9332106) Homepage
      Poor JMF; it's all but abandonded by Sun -- and the reference implementation pretty much only works on Windows for anything other than simple audio. IBM seems to be doing more development on JMF than Sun does anymore. The JMF forums are full of questions with very few answers. This would be an excellent library to open source.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2004 @10:51PM (#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
  • by iamwill (701094) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @10:54PM (#9331828) Homepage
    You gotta admire the effort Sun is making to even maintain Java, anymore... Bless their hearts.
  • by leshert (40509) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @10:55PM (#9331835) Homepage
    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.
    • actually, (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jbellis (142590) * <jonathan.carnageblender@com> on Thursday June 03, 2004 @11:59PM (#9332133) Homepage
      When Jonathan Schwartz spoke at the Utah Java Users' Group he said Java drives a LOT of server sales for Sun. He specifically mentioned embedded java, e.g. in cell phones, as opening new revenue areas for servers. Java licening fees themselves are a drop in the bucket relatively.

      It will be interesting to see what kind of license Sun goes with given their oft-given fear of forking Java. Seems to me that something like the Qt license would be the way to go.
      • QT license (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MysteriousMystery (708469) on Friday June 04, 2004 @04:15AM (#9332906)
        A QT style license that requires purchasing tools and rights from Sun for commercial use, while allowing free software (under an acceptable license) to be developed for free would be the best idea in my opinion. I'm sure there will be great debate at Sun over how profitable this will be, but in the long run this is definitely the way to go.
    • The make some money on J2EE certification, mobile device runtimes, and licensing the Java trademark -but- the true value of Java to Sun is that it's the only thing that's keeping them relevant right now. Take Java out of the picture and Solaris would be on the brink of extinction like HP-UX and AIX. FWIW, I was a big supporter of Solaris up until the 2.4 Linux kernel made it's appearance.
  • by tcc (140386) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @11:06PM (#9331887) Homepage Journal
    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..

  • by digitaltraveller (167469) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @11:14PM (#9331926) Homepage
    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.
    • trolling for mono... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kunta Kinte (323399) on Friday June 04, 2004 @01:18AM (#9332488) Journal
      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.

      First you ask what's the point, from a business-point-of-view no less. Then you bring up the legal blackhole that is mono?

      The point is not basing your development on a technology owned by a ruthless competitor that has promised to squash you.

      The point is having a development environment that is equally supported on multiple platforms by the core designers themselves.

      The point is not to have the threat of patent suits looming over you for using an unauthorized and patented language/API/Runtime/Whatever-else-they-patented stack.

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

      Oh yeah, the money just rolls in when companies GPL software, doesn't it.

      Ahhh... Only on Slashdot :)

    • by Jotham (89116) on Friday June 04, 2004 @01:43AM (#9332566)
      Mono beta 2 now includes a Java VM. "allows Java and .NET code to run side-by-side. It contains the latest release of IKVM [ikvm.net].

      Sun's Java Class Libraries are very nice and full featured, if Java was open-sourced, I'd see Mono and Java merging together quite nicely. Write in whichever language is most comfortable, and call whichever API does the job the best.

      I see this as a good solution for Sun which is seeing developers leaving for .NET, turn to them and say, you can still use Java.
    • by Baki (72515) on Friday June 04, 2004 @06:14AM (#9333206)
      Why do I sense so much hatred and ungrattitude against SUN? It has been one of the pillars of UNIX, has given away many technologies that today define UNIX/Linux. Without SUN UNIX would have been irrelevant long ago, and with it Linux would have been just as irrelevant.

      Why don't people see the strategic importance of the UNIX world (which includes Linux) holding together and fight against the real enemy?

      I do have my concenrs regarding Suns recent "peace" with the enemy, maybe we can no longer rely on SUN, but at least one must acknowledge what SUN has done for the UNIX community.

      The lack of historical perspective and irrationalism of many of the SUN haters is shocking to me. It almost makes me think that the enemy has sent inflitrators on slashdot with the purpose to spread division and internal struggle inside the UNIX world.
  • by stienman (51024) <adavisNO@SPAMubasics.com> on Thursday June 03, 2004 @11:24PM (#9331970) Homepage Journal
    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
  • by bigman921 (265507) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @11:31PM (#9331995) Homepage
    Remember that java isn't just the jvm or the class library source. It also includes JSSE, java's encryption framework which probably can't be open sourced (comercial restrictions, export laws, legal liabilities of possible changes to shipped trusted certificates...). I am sure there are other pieces that are sensitive as well. You wouldn't be able to use SSL out of the box with a JRE that didn't have a JSSE implementation.
  • Sun Benefits? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eeg3 (785382) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @11:38PM (#9332037) Homepage
    Of course the opening of Java's source will be neat for "the community," but it doesn't seem like a very smart business move for Sun. There might be some temporary benefits in publicity, but no real benefits in the long run. Atleast if they keep it closed, they'll retain some control, and have the ability to possibly make money off of it.

    However, i'm sure they know this, and that's why it's not being released now, and it probably never will be, unless they somehow conjure up a way to release the source and retain complete control of it.

    ...Which seems impossible to me.
  • jvm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sumdumass (711423) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @11:48PM (#9332078) Journal
    I would be happy if they just opensourced the virtual machine so distros can include it instead of me having to jump thru hoops getting it installed and working. Aslo this might allow different distro's to tweak the VM so it can run smoother and faster on thier version of linux while still supporting the develope once run anywere model. I'm not sure what else is in sun's java offering, I asume there would be an aplication server, a developers ide and maybe some other stuff.

    Sun is giving the VM away as it is, It would be nice to have it gpl compatable so it can be used right after an install.
  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Friday June 04, 2004 @12:05AM (#9332170) Homepage
    FreeBSD ports of JDK 1.3 [freshports.org] and 1.4 [freshports.org] both build from source. Yes, you have to download the source manually from Sun, but it is available [sun.com], and has been for years...

    Is it really that important to be able to distribute the built binaries for people? Without paying Sun for it, that is?

  • java or the JVM? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by acomj (20611) on Friday June 04, 2004 @12:22AM (#9332266) Homepage
    I keep wondering if they mean the java class libraries or the Java virtual machine (which runs those java applications)?

    Opensourcing can only help java. It will definetly spread its adoption to be standard on many linuxes.
  • by hardgeus (6813) on Friday June 04, 2004 @07:38AM (#9333375)
    Yeah, baby. I'm going to divorce her and marry you. Just keep sleeping with me.
  • by rtos (179649) on Friday June 04, 2004 @08:21AM (#9333528) Homepage
    This is interesting, because just three months ago [gcn.com] McNealy said there was no way they would open the Java source:
    "Despite urging from competitors and open source advocates, Sun Microsystems Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., will not open the source to its Java programming language anytime soon, said Sun CEO Scott McNealy during a news conference at the 2004 FOSE conference. "We're trying to understand what problem does it solve that is not already solved," McNealy said."
    One day he wears a silly penguin suit [com.com] and the next day he says that Linux is "great environment for the hobbyist" [techtarget.com] but not for corporate IT shops. One day he says there's no way they are going to open source Java, and then they announce that they will.

    If I didn't know better, it would seem that Sun is flailing pretty badly at this point.

"Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberrys!" -- Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Working...