First, I was amused to see James's Gosling's report that John Munsch was ticked off by James's JNN. Well, not that amused. I'll throw oil on the fire. About a month ago, I tried Munsch's HotSheet. OK, but not compelling; a few things didn't work right; things I subscribed to didn't stay subscribed; and so on. So I tried JNN the day I read about it, and it's GREAT. Lots of fun, does more or less everything I wanted.
Look, if people really don't want others implementing software like theirs--well, there are solutions to that. Software copyright, user interface patent, that sort of thing. Don't release open source software if you can't take the consequences. Hire a patent attorney, and convince some silly patent-office droid that you've done something uniqe. None of the technologies in JNN, or in HotSheet, are all that difficult, or non-obvious. JNN's a great tool, though.
Dan Steinberg makes an excellent point in
Network enabling Java apps . Too much of J2SE has been devoted to "we can do anything you can do": we can make good Windows-style user interfaces, etc. But there hasn't been anything, really, that pushed the technology forward. Desktop applications that are network-enabled through Jini would genuinely push the desktop world forward one very big step. Too bad Apple thought of it first, but it's still not too late. Packaging Jini with J2SE, getting it on every desktop, and writing apps that put it to use, would give Java--and, for that matter, Jini--a really compelling desktop story.
And, no, I don't know if Sun will ever have the courage to open-source Java. We're long past the time when we had to worry about Microsoft splitting the platform. (Is IBM an issue? Maybe, maybe not.) Eitan Suez is certainly correct: this could certainly be the biggest, and best, buisness decision that Sun has ever made. They still need the hearts and minds of many developers who regard Java with suspicion. Ages ago, when Java first came out, I said that Sun recognized that if things continued in the direction they were heading, Sun would eventually become a relatively uninteresting maker of platforms on which to run Windows. Java was their attempt to change the rules. And it did--big-time.
Time to change the rules again. .Net is not going to compete, will never be able to compete, with an open-sourced Java platform.