Feeds

Open source Java - one year later

Plus ça change

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.