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Thoughts on Open Sourcing Sun's Java Implementations

Posted by webmink on August 18, 2006 at 7:18 PM PDT

For the last few months I've been writing an occasional series on the issues surrounding open sourcing Sun's Java implementations over on my other blog. Realising there are plenty of people on java.net who never get over there, here's a summary of the story so far.

Will Sun use GPLv3? (November 20, 2006)
Some people have been throwing rocks at the GPLv3 process from outside, and others have been accusing Sun of joining the rock throwers by opting for GPL v2 for the Java platform. Here's why I disagree with both.

Why Bother Open Sourcing Java? (August 18, 2006)
While the actual code-base will only be touched by the 400, the 4 million will benefit from the extended deployment range, the greater pool of expertise and the greater diversity of interests that will result. Open sourcing Sun's Java implementations is hard, has risks and affects only the 400 now, but it will quickly grow benefits that the 4 million will reap.

An Ongoing Process (August 15, 2006)
I briefed press an analysts in London to provide an update on the process of taking Sun's Java implementations open source. It's worth noting that this is part of an ongoing process that reflects Sun's roots.

Respecting The Developers (July 25, 2006)
So why doesn't Sun just pick an OSI-approved license, apply it to the Java source code and be done with it? Why claim it's so hard to open source the Java platform?

Forks Aren't a Problem (May 26, 2006)
I keep hearing people claiming that the biggest problem that would be caused by making Sun's Java SE implementation open source is forking. But I have to disagree. The implication is that all forks are incompatible forks, but the two are not synonyms.

No Unfair Advantage (May 24, 2006)
There are two dimensions to compatibility. The one everyone with developer genes can grok is about having the same APIs doing the same thing everywhere the word "Java" is used to describe a virtual machine environment. The other is more subtle. It's about ensuring no major vendor - Sun included - gets an unfair advantage in the market because they have been able to exert control in a way that yields a competitive benefit.

I'll try to keep this list up to date, so you might want to bookmark it.

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