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NewsForge: Why won't Sun 'Open Source' Java?

Nov 04, 2000, 11:38 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tina Gasperson)

[ Thanks to Tina Gasperson for this link. ]

"Danese Cooper, manager of Sun Open Source, says it's all a matter of cycles. "We talk about the life cycles of software when it comes to licensing issues. Even Open Source developers ... tend to hold new software proprietary at first," until the software matures to a certain stability. In the case of Java, a couple of years ago, it was in a state where most of the people using it felt it needed support to maintain compatibility," says Cooper."

"Lou Grinzo, the editor of LinuxProgramming.com, says "if they GPL'ed Java and it forked into two or more incompatible versions, it would all but kill Sun's ability to make money from it." But Perens says that Sun has hampered widespread acceptance of Java by being too protective of their so-called intellectual property. "I think it's about time for them to release the JDK (Java Developer's Kit) under an Open Source license," he says."

"Perens maintains that there are two conditions that must be met before Sun could reasonably be expected to release Java under a true Open Source license -- and he says that those conditions have already been fulfilled. They are:

  1. "A good standards program coupled to trademarks, where you would be able to call it 'Java,' or 'Enterprise JavaBeans,' etc., only if it passed Sun's validation suites. This is mostly in place."
  2. "A licensing scheme that gives Sun access to other people's changes, so that nobody can 'run away' with their product. Either the GPL/LGPL or the Sun Industry Standards License would work for this, or both."

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