Java - - By Kevin Yank

Sun: Open source Java not whether but how

Sun has conceded: Java will be open sourced.

During his opening keynote at JavaOne 2006, newly annointed Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz welcomed to the stage Rich Green, Executive VP of Software, with the hard question: “Are you going to open source Java?”

After a little mock evasiveness, Green explained Sun’s latest thinking on the matter, ending with the bottom line: “It isn’t a question of whether, but a question of how. And so we’ll go do this.”

Green did take the time to point out that, from the perspective of community involvement and contribution to the development of the Java platform, Java is already effectively open source:

There’s two battling forces here. There’s the desire to completely open this up–complete access–I mean, so many changes of the licenses have been made that it’s virtually all there. But there is the sense of wanting to complete the program. The flip side is compatibility really matters. I don’t think anybody wants to see a diverging Java platform. One of the great values of Java has been that we’ve been able to keep it together–something you can all rely on in terms of its consistency and value and evolution. And the challenge, going forward, is how to solve for both of those things.

C|Net has video of the conversation, and of course the full webcast of the session is available on the JavaOne web site.