Access and Feeds

Java Language Begins Going Open Source

By Dick Weisinger

Formtek | Orion products have been developed primarily using the Java language, so it is of interest to us whenever there are any changes that occur to the Java language. 

There has been a lot of agitation over the last few years for Sun to open up Java, and in particular, there have been calls to make Java Open Source.  Sun has been accused of hijacking the Java brand for their own commercial gain.

Near the end of October at the Oracle OpenWorld show Jonathan Schwartz,  Sun CEO, announced that within 90 days that Java would be made open source.   The holdup has been that Sun needed to work out the details of which Open Source license they would adopt.  Well, on Monday, Sun Microsystems announced that the Java SE and Java ME source code would be made available using the GPL version 2 license.

Since Monday, Sun has made the javac compiler and HotSpot virtual machine available as Open Source under the GPL2 license.  Sun expects that during first quarter 2007 all of Java SE 6 will become available as Open Source.  Schwartz has said that they’ve wanted to Open Source Java for some time, but the thing holding them back has been making sure that all source is compliant with the license.  They need to be able to validate the origin of every line of source.

Sun has already identified three library components within Java that are problematic:  font rasterization, graphics rasterization, and color matching algorithms.  Sun will provide these items intially as compiled binaries with the hope that the open source community will be able to create alternatives of these with source code for later releases.

Sun has also announced their desire to shift from the Open Source license (Sun’s own license known as CDDL) they now use on Solaris is GPL2.  It will be interesting to see the reaction from both Sun-bashers and also from developers and users that have tended to avoid any type of Open Source product based on the GPL license.

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