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Liberating Java

Posted by qmahmoud on May 17, 2007 at 11:53 AM PDT

I attended the "Liberating Java" session at JavaOne by Simon Phipps, Chief Open Source Officer at Sun Microsystems. He spoke highly of the open source concept and how it was Sun's vision right from the start. Isn't Sun the first open source startup? Well, I believe Sun has embraced open standards from the beginning. In 1984 the Network File System (NFS) was made open and free to the industry, and later it became the industry standard for network file sharing.

He described the concept of open source to be about skilled engineers who join together to leverage each other skill, and it is about engaging with the code. It is really all about creating a win-win situation for everyone. An interesting quote he made: it is not communism, it is connected capitalism.

In the world of open source, individual consumers and businesses have a choice, and the analogy Simon used was like going to a buffet restaurant -- it is all about choice. People love open source not because they necessarily want to have access to the source code, but to have control over building their own software infrastructure.

Simon talked about a couple of case studies of open source in the developing world. He discussed the case of China where more than 70% of the government software is open source, and Brazil is embracing open source as "a matter of sovereignty" in the sense that Taxpayers money spent on licensed software is going abroad, when it should be used to support local developers.

A full interview with Simon about open source Java is available on Linux Journal website at:

Finally, remember that back in 1995 when Java was released to the public, the source came with it. So Java has always been an "open" platform, but now it is FREE! Q.

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