Feeds

Open source Java - one year later

Plus ça change

High performance access to file storage

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.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.