Feeds

Open source Java - one year later

Plus ça change

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A year ago this week Sun finally bowed to pressure and agreed to make Java a free, open source project. It was an odd move given Sun's strong resistance to making Java open source for a more than a decade.

Twelve months on, open source Java has made things a little easier for developers and attracted some expressions of support. It's notable, though, that no industry events have been arranged to celebrate the date while Sun's tools and runtimes continue to search for a role among Java developers.

Getting to open source was a long road. As late as 2004 co-founder and former chief executive Scott McNealy insisted Sun had no plans to make Java open source. He argued that only Sun could protect Java's integrity as a universal, cross-platform language and that the open source process could lead to fragmentation.

Less than two years later, McNealy's successor Jonathan Schwartz described the open source move as "momentous". It's amazing what a change of leadership can do. The choice of McNealy's birthday as the date of the open source announcement was, surely, coincidence.

While he had led Sun successfully from 1984, McNealy's last few years as CEO saw substantial losses, staff lay-offs and factory closures. And, despite birthing Java, Sun's own technological and business ineptitudes (here and here) had seen Sun's software overtaken by others in quality and user numbers.

Something had to give.

With Schwartz - formerly, and briefly, in charge of Sun's software business - now running the show, part of the long-overdue changes involved switching Java to open source. It was a move that was - mostly - welcomed, although Sun's decision to release the Java source using the GPL 2 licence was criticized.

There was also some collateral damage in the loss of a couple of senior executives who were not convinced of the strategic merit of open source. Sun fellow and Java chief Graham Hamilton left because he disagreed with the move. And Larry Singer, Sun's vice president of global information systems strategy, revealed recently he also left because, among other reasons, he disagreed with Schwartz over the open source strategy.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.