Java Finally Open Sourced Completely–Almost
May 14, 2007 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Sun Microsystems hosted its annual JavaOne conference last week, and the top software brass at the company, who are on a tear to open source all of the software developed by Sun to catch the open source wave and, presumably, to blow by proprietary software architectures, got most of the final bits of the Java platform out as open source software at the event.
As Sun said it would last November, Java has been open sourced under the GNU GPL v2 license, which is not the v3 license that the Free Software Foundation‘s founder, Richard Stallman, is trying to get adopted by projects in the open source community. Sun and Stallman were, nonetheless, pretty ebullient about Java being nearly completely open source.
Last week, Sun announced that a fully buildable Java Development Kit (JDK) for Java Platform Standard Edition (Java SE) has been given to the OpenJDK community. Sun also announced that it has created an interim governing board for the OpenJDK community, and a compatibility kit for testing that code is compliant with the Java SE 6 specification.
“Less than one year after we announced our intent to release Java technology as open source software under GPL v2, we have achieved our goal, ” said Rich Green, executive vice president of Sun’s Software division. “Now the free and open source community has access to implementations of Java Platform Standard Edition, Enterprise Edition. and Micro Edition as free software under the GPL. We will continue to collaborate with the Java community and the free and open source communities to determine the future of Java technology.”
Stallman, of course, pointed out the flaws in Java even after it has been opened sourced while praising Sun. “I thank Sun for releasing its code in the JDK as free software, under a license that respects the four freedoms, ” Stallman said in a statement. “Only one last obstacle remains in liberating JDK and disarming the Java Trap completely: some non-free, legally encumbered code. The free software community and Sun must work together to replace that code with free software.”
IBM, of course, has been advocating for Java to be open sourced for almost as long as Java has been around in the IT space. Now that Big Blue has its wish, it has been surprisingly quiet about the whole thing. And very likely because the next obvious question is this: “So, IBM, when ya gonna open source your wares?”