A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

A rising tide lifts all boats. If there were ever a philosophy that guided our decision making at Sun, it’s that – the notion that an internet connected by freely available standards is more valuable, to Sun and our customers, than one defined by dependencies on proprietary technologies. Although the metaphor doesn’t translate particularly well (I know, I’ve tortured translators around the world), the concept is familiar to nearly everyone, no matter the industry or geography.

History is replete with examples of failed efforts to defeat standardization. My personal favorite is Thomas Edison’s attempt to patent the lightbulb, so he could threaten litigation against anyone using an “infringing” non-Edison client bulb attached to his servers generators. And there are just as many success stories for broadly adopted standards, from shipping containers to power grids, air traffic control to the Java platform itself.

Few folks, at least outside of Sun, understand how pervasively successful the Java platform, and the community supporting it, have been over the past decade. But Java runs on more devices than Microsoft Windows, Linux, Solaris, Symbian and the Mac combined. Nearly 4 billion devices at this point, from smart cards to consumer devices, DVD players to set top boxes, medical equipment, all the way up into the majority of the world’s transactional systems and 8 out of every 10 cellphones sold. The Java platform is, already, a global standard.

The source code has been available for years. And we have a robust, multi-party community that defines the standard, driven by more than 1,000 contributors, from Google to Oracle, Motorola to Nokia, Apple to Apache, Red Hat, Samsung, Sony, SouJava – if they matter to the internet, they belong to the Java Community (with one exception, despite our frequent invitation). Millions of developers and customers benefit every day.

But over the past few years, our success has felt increasingly incomplete.

There was an obvious division growing between those that believed in free software, also known as the open source community, and those that believed in open standards. And it felt like we at Sun were straddling a few too many fences – Solaris has become one of the most popular projects in the open source community, along with Glassfish (our open source Java EE application server), NetBeans (our development environment), and another one of my favorites, Project Looking Glass (an inspiration for many). But the Java platform itself was never listed in that lineup – because its license was more restrictive, designed to enforce community compatibility above individual freedom. (Our motives were pure, but we’d been burned in the past.)

But a rising tide lifts all boats. And now that Java’s established itself beyond a doubt, it’s time to take the next step, to utterly obliterate the barriers to entry for developers around the world seeking to build the next great device, or the next great internet service. Whether in the US, Brazil, Poland, China, Tibet, Taiwan, Europe, Mexico – where ever the internet travels (to more places, at this point, than even electricity).

And by now, you’ve seen that’s exactly what we’ve done. We’ve followed through on our promise to join hands with the free software community, and have chosen the Free Software Foundation‘s General Public License (known as “the GPL“) as the governing license for the evolution of the Java platform. (Crow and hats available for those needing a snack πŸ™‚

The GPL is the same license used to manage the evolution of GNU/Linux – in choosing the GPL, we’ve opened the door to comingling the communities, and the code itself. (And yes, we picked GPL version 2 – version 3 isn’t available, but we like where the FSF is headed.)

Picking a license was a very complex task – we took an enormous breadth of issues to heart in making the selection, from protecting our customers and licensees, to continuing to foster a wildly successful developer community. We had to worry about device manufacturers, media standards, big enterprise systems, government and military deployments – remember, more businesses and devices leverage Java than any other development platform. This was no simple feat.

So to the legal team at Sun, and our friends at the Free Software Foundation – I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks. We could not have gotten here without you. If Shakespeare had understood intellectual property, he never would have said all those mean things.

And in closing, I want to put one nagging item to rest.

By admitting that one of the strongest motivations to select the GPL was the announcement made last week by Novell and Microsoft, suggesting that free and open source software wasn’t safe unless a royalty was being paid. As an executive from one of those companies said, “free has to have a price.”

That’s nonsense.

Free software can be free of royalties, and free of impediments to broadscale, global adoption and deployment. Witness what we’ve done with Solaris, and now, what we’ve done with Java. Developers are free to pick up the code, and create derivatives. Without royalty or obligation.

Those that say open source software can’t be safe for customers – or that commercially indemnified software can’t foster community – are merely advancing their own agenda. Without any basis in fact.

They’re also fighting a rising tide.


Filed under General

73 responses to “A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

  1. Paul

    Java. So incredibly successful and Sun never successfully monetized it. And don’t think I am buying that “all our revenue is due to Java” crap that you spit out.

  2. Mark

    Okay. I believe. In fact I’ve avoided doing some cool things w/ Looking Glass since java wasn’t gpl’d. Well you’ve removed the obstacle. I guess it’s up to us now.

  3. Thanks for GPLing Java. I wish you doubled cash incomes in the next quarters πŸ™‚

  4. Hanh Nguyen

    I’m very glad about this decision. Late better than never. Thank you!

  5. Congratulations again. This is a great value at to the entire online community. It is easy to understand why companies will push their own agendas… they have share holders to satisfy.
    Obviously Sun is taking a different approach by placing the technology first. It will be interesting to see Wall St reaction. By usage alone, the strategy seems to be effective.

  6. Ernesto

    Congratulations Jonathan and all the Sun folks!!!
    Thanks for “opensourcing” java!

  7. Jimbo

    Brilliant move. Thank you very much!
    This sentence for me shows that Sun is on the right path here:
    > The GPL is the same license used to manage the evolution of GNU/Linux – in choosing the GPL, we’ve opened the door to comingling the communities, and the code itself.
    I’m sure GCJ/Classpath developers will be thrilled! Just awesome!

  8. yeah, open source software can’t be safe for customers!

  9. Congratulations, a wise yet difficult decision that I know you’ve been wrestling with for some time. You mentioned indemnification. Will Sun be offering indemnification for Java ME and Java SE implementations under the GPL 2? If not, when and how will you provide Java GPL indemnification? Thanks!

  10. David Andrews

    A very good call, and great news for Java developers. I’m sure it took a lot of work, so please extend our thanks to the people who made it possible.

  11. Congratulations and a big -no make that huge- thank you! πŸ™‚ IHMO this is a big win for Sun, Java, the Java community and the Free Software community.
    The FS community gets a full blown distributable Java implementation. The Java community wins as it gets reinforced by hordes of open source developers (of the FSF subtype) which were rather hesitant toward Java before the relicensing. The Java language and platform win as they get new developers and attention. And Sun wins through Java’s popularity.
    The first things I’d expect is Debian picking up the GPL-ed Java and thus porting it to all architectures for which Sun’s JDK is currently not available. Second, I’m hoping it will give a boost to Java popularity on SourceForge and as the language of choice for FSF projects (most likely behind C and maybe C++).
    Just a quick post to show my appreciation, so I’ll have to admit that most of this hasn’t been thought through though…

  12. While this is a very welcome news, the choice of GPL as the license has me a bit concerned. Two years ago, I was researching the various open source licenses like mad for our own open source project OpenI, and decided against GPL because of its “viral” nature (we ended up with Mozilla Public License, MPL).
    GPL requires one must distribute all derivative AND collective work under GPL, and no other license. When someone uses a programming language software like Java to build their own software, it is tricky to determine if their work is “derivative”, “collective”, or a “mere aggregation” (all GPL terminology). In such a case, all the software code is written in Java. The software requires a Java Runtime Environment, which acts like a virtual operating system, to run. As such, Java as a software construct becomes very tightly coupled with each new software program built on Java.
    For example, with Java being GPL now, what happens when I build a software program in Java and would like to distribute it along with a Java runtime engine (JRE) for user convenience? Since I have built the software using Java and I am combining the JRE in my distribution, will my software be considered a “derivative work” or a “collective work”? If my software is considered “derivative” than by definition of GPL, I *must* distribute my software under GPL, which can severely affect the commercial viability of my software.
    So, who decides what is derivative vs collective? Unfortunately, most likely it will be lawyers rather than software developers. And that may very well cause at least some amount of concern amongst those who build commercial (i.e. non open source) software using Java for a wider distribution (i.e. for use outside of one’s organization, most probably selling commercially licensed copies of software to customers).
    Again, I commend Sun for making Java open source, but to address the concerns of those like me in the community, I think Sun should make it very clear to the community why they chose GPL over others, and how they want to assure the community (both open source and commercial) that their software development efforts in Java are not subject to the “viral” aspect of GPL.

  13. Jimmy Lin

    I salut you.

  14. James

    I’m glad it’s been done. I guess this will cement Java as a language that can’t die until it’s userbase says so… I am, however, not sure how this will help Sun. Where I work, most of the systems are Windows and Java. We don’t need Sun anywhere. With the license change, we still don’t need Sun anywhere…Anyway, best of luck fighting off the mono forces…

  15. [Trackback] The dust is still settling from this morning’s announcement . Aside from the story being picked up by every tech news site out there, it also unleashed a blogging storm on both blogs.sun.com , and the rest of the blogosphere . Yes I’m ta…

  16. “(Crow and hats available for those needing a snack :-)”
    Take that, Eric “We don’t need the GPL” Raymond.

  17. Congratultions. A brave and smart move. Sun has a new customer and shareholder.
    Thank You!

  18. Sandeep, you said it yourself: Java acts like a virtual operating system that runs your applications. You don’t have to GPL your software when you build it using Java, even if you distribute the VM with it. It’s just like including proprietary software with a Linux distribution.
    Thank you Mr. Schwartz. This is a very bold move for Sun. It could make Java just as ubiquitous in GNU/Linux as GCC, Perl and Apache.

  19. John

    Sandeep is right: the choice of the GPL makes this pretty much a no-op.
    Before, Java couldn’t be redistributed because its license was too restrictive.
    Now, Java still can’t be redistributed because if you use it, you need to opensource your entire product as well.
    Back to square one.
    I would certainly like to know what led to this choice, especially since Jonathan emphasizes the fact that this decision took a long deliberation. Why not choose the Apache, Free BSD or Eclipse licenses which are much more tolerant with respect to commercial software?

  20. Paul Boudreaux

    I think that inherently software is valuable. You might lose a good bit of control by making something open source, but by using open source and the world wide community, you reasonably stand to gain more value you could than directly investing in code. So my question would be then, is Solaris going to be the original GPLv3 *nix platform? I suspect that might win a tide of developers.

  21. Well, congratulations on taking the plunge. In relation to the last few comments on the GPL, etc, and the question, does it make software developed with it “derivative”, I suggest using a version of Linus Torvalds’ statement:

    “NOTE! This copyright does *not* cover user programs that use
    kernel services by normal system calls – this is merely considered
    normal use of the kernel, and does *not* fall under the heading of
    “derived work”. Also note that the GPL below is copyrighted by the
    Free Software Foundation, but the instance of code that it refers
    to (the Linux kernel) is copyrighted by me and others who actually
    wrote it.
    Linus Torvalds”

  22. I am not a lawyer, and I don’t know all the details of this, but I am pretty sure the “Classpath Exception” that comes with Java’s use of GPL allows you to use Java without having to become GPL yourself. So I think some of the concerns expressed here are unfounded.

  23. lmf

    Java being GPL’d is a big deal, but Amen to your comments on patents. (Some companies really think we’re dumb!)

  24. Great move. Thanks so much!. I really think that Sun is on track here.

  25. It’s not a problem that I can see, because it’s a dual-license. If you want to use java in some non-GPL stuff, just use the CDDL instead, which from what I can tell is much more “propretary friendly.”

  26. vruz

    Well done, Schwartz and all of those involved at Sun.
    It may be a happy coincidence Schwartz made it happen.
    Getting Stallman and Gosling together under the same
    roof must have been way more difficult than all the
    lawyer work you’ve probably been running for months.
    Difficult as in cold fusion.
    To quote Ballmer “they believed it couldn’t be done”.
    What a week !!
    Now there indeed is something new under the Sun.
    Congratulations, you’ve largely exceeded expectations.

  27. Thank you very much for releasing Java under the GPL. This is a momentous decision and one I’m very glad you’ve made. I wish you all the best and every success in expanding the Java market now it’s Free Software.

  28. Jimbo

    John, Sandeep is not right. Java is licensed under GPL + classpath exception. You don’t need to open source any of your software. Please read the FAQ.

  29. John and Sandeep. You don’t need to distribute your product’s source code even if you’re distributing Java VM along with it. Sandeep said it: Java acts like a virtual operating system, and just as Linux distributions are allowed to include proprietary software (because its mere aggregation), so can you.

  30. Roberto J. Dohnert

    I think the distribution of Java under the GPL is a very bad idea. Congrats, you have destroyed it. You have opened the door for forking, and the release of poor quality java implementations. I see no reason to continue Java development considering in the near future I will have to write 5 different implementations of my Java code to run on the numerous forks and VMs of Java we will have to contend with. .NET has my vote as I will no longer use, develop for or even bother with Java. And congratulations, you managed to screw Microsoft and give them the door to do whatever they please without ever having to pay you another cent.

  31. hallvor

    To answer the comments above. Sun used what is called the “classpath exception” (http://www.gnu.org/software/classpath/license.html).
    See also the faq:

  32. Bharath R

    Stupendous!! Congratulations to the Java team for the monumental achievement. This is a resounding slap in the face for naysayers – one of whom still pretends to be the messiah of open source and is still “concerned” about the license while it continues to weave a proprietary web around its customers in all spheres (pun intended). Take that! And a big thanks to the vibrant Java community for standing by this beautiful language through good times and bad. Now, its power to the masses! The scene can only get more rosy here on for Java. If you’re a Java developer, you have even more reason to smile & love your life. πŸ™‚
    Go Sun!! You rock!!

  33. Bharath R

    This is also the time to say thanks to one Mr.McNealy for all the support he showed to Java over the years and being instrumental in getting the initial adoption. Congratulations to you too, Scott!

  34. Closed source Java developers have nothing to fear from this license.

    The license comes with an exception to explicitly allow people to use the JDK API to do this:

    Certain source files distributed by Sun Microsystems, Inc.  are subject to
    the following clarification and special exception to the GPL, but only where
    Sun has expressly included in the particular source file's header the words
    "Sun designates this particular file as subject to the "Classpath" exception
    as provided by Sun in the LICENSE file that accompanied this code."
    Linking this library statically or dynamically with other modules is making
    a combined work based on this library.  Thus, the terms and conditions of
    the GNU General Public License cover the whole combination.
    As a special exception, the copyright holders of this library give you
    permission to link this library with independent modules to produce an
    executable, regardless of the license terms of these independent modules,
    and to copy and distribute the resulting executable under terms of your
    choice, provided that you also meet, for each linked independent module,
    the terms and conditions of the license of that module.  An independent
    module is a module which is not derived from or based on this library.  If
    you modify this library, you may extend this exception to your version of
    the library, but you are not obligated to do so.  If you do not wish to do
    so, delete this exception statement from your version.

    It is somewhat similar to the way the GNU LGPL works, but tailored specifically for the Java world.

  35. John, Sandeep : you should look at the GCC compiler and how the GPL works when distributing commercial programs. Your fears are unfounded. – Stephan

  36. Markus Sorensson

    You traded the risk of losing control of Java over losing the community. This is great! Now I can stop feeling dirty and having nightmares.

  37. This is a far-sighted move that will expand the evolution of JAVA – however, there must be more info to aid in differentiating between derivative vs collective – especially in light of this statement:

    By admitting that one of the strongest motivations to select the GPL was the announcement made last week by Novell and Microsoft, suggesting that free and open source software wasn’t safe unless a royalty was being paid. As an executive from one of those companies said, “free has to have a price. M

  38. Jacinto

    Congratulations!. It’s an affirmative move that shows that you are not afraid of the new, really free economy.

  39. Bean

    Sandeep, John,
    “The SE APIs/libraries are GPL 2.0 plus Classpath exception.”

  40. First of all, many congratulations to Jonathan and to Sun on choosing the GPL! This is a *very* welcome move.

    I would also like to encourage Sun to re-release OpenSolaris under the GPL as well – for exactly the same reasons. As it stands OpenSolaris code can be used in, well, OpenSolaris. There can be no mixing of code either way with Linux, which is a real shame as both kernels could benefit from this.

    I’m also very surprised by the misinformation here by folks about the consequences of the GPL – Sun releasing Java under the GPL has no more effect on proprietary code written in Java than the fact that the Perl interpreter is licensed under the Artistic License means that people who write in Perl have to use the AL for their code!
    Don’t forget as well that Sun, as the copyright holders, are quite free to release Java under different, even proprietary licenses, even sell it, as they see fit.

    This is identical to the situation to MySQL where the GPL version is fine for use in projects licensed under the GPL but if you want to write proprietary code you need to purchase the commercial version from MySQL – the code is identical, just with a different license.

    In closing though, I’d again really like to thank Sun for this release of Java under the GPL – I honestly didn’t think this would happen so soon.

    All the best!

  41. Jens E

    But free does have a price. You are paying it in the developers and infrastructure that manufacture the “free” tools. Free is never free. You of course do this as a means to an end, but I fail to see how you are going to monetize this decision, as shareholders demand. You say yourself that 4 billion devices use Java, and it is a standard. Tell me again, why it makes sense to give away the billions of dollars that go with it. You MUST be exchanging them for billions more somehow, but I’m not seeing it…

  42. Roberto J. Dohnert wrote:
    > I think the distribution of Java under the GPL is a very bad idea. Congrats, you have destroyed it. You have opened the door for forking, and the release of poor quality java implementations. I see no reason to continue Java development considering in the near future I will have to write 5 different implementations of my Java code to run on the numerous forks and VMs of Java we will have to contend with.
    What makes you think that there will be any major forks? Consider Firefox; it has several forks, but none of them have much market share. Java has become such a standard that with it now free in both terms of cost and freedom, there is no reason to use a different version and the market will happily standardize around Sun’s releases.
    > .NET has my vote as I will no longer use, develop for or even bother with Java.
    Are you insane sir? Sun has just made Java completely open. With Microsoft you are dealing with an organization that has been known to treat its ‘partners’ very very badly (I mean really, just look at Sun’s history with them! πŸ™‚
    > And congratulations, you managed to screw Microsoft and give them the door to do whatever they please without ever having to pay you another cent.
    As I stated on another blog, “unless MS is willing to add to the copyright commons that is the GPL (about as likely as Dracula munching on garlic and washing it down with holy water πŸ˜‰ they’re going to avoid Java like the plague.”
    With the GPL, there will never be a proprietary fork of Java; any changes will become public. Contrast this to what MS tried to do previously.

  43. Peter H

    Fantastic! The Open Source movement finally has its true corporate champion. Java (and JRuby, and …) will thrive like never before.

  44. Bob

    If OpenSolaris becomes GPL, it will be able to take advantage of the biggest innovation of filesystem usability in the 21st Century: Filesystem in Userspace (FUSE). This technology was developed for Linux and ported to FreeBSD/DesktopBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD; it allows regular users (*not* just root or sudo-priviledged users!) to mount filesystems whose code is written entirely in userspace. This is excellent for remote filesystems and even for local filesystems like the ntfs-3g for MS NTFS.

  45. ddk

    GPL + Classpath exception, more than I could wish for. Thank you Sun. You guys rock!

  46. Thanks a lot for open sourcing java, I manage a small java OSS project myself and always hoped that you’d do this move.
    Great move and a big step for OSS!

  47. karthi

    Hello Sir, Do you have any idea what will happen to companies that have their own JVM by getting some licence from SUN ? Will that agreement become void or you will hav dual JVM like one from Commercial and another from the openSource community… if this is the case how will you ensure the IP policy ?

  48. Puh-lease

    “On those countries the GPL imposes “a rather predatory obligation to [give back] all their IP to the wealthiest nation in the world”, the United States, which developed the GPL, Schwartz said, according to various reports.”
    One year, the GPL is the worst thing ever made, the other year, it’s the best thing since sliced bread. You’re walking on little eggs. You lost all your credibility, you can’t stand your own saying.
    Steve Ballmer, at least, never compromised it’s speech. He’s not going to give a “hug” to the free software communities, like you did. Puh-lease, admit you hate free software and there’s some dirty reason that made you switch Java to GPL.

  49. mario h.c.t.

    thanks for GPL’ing JAVA. Now Java will be part of the networked connected society. This seems to be the biggest example of Yochai Benkler hypothesis of the shift paradigm ocurring in the world.

    thank you sun.

    mario h.c.t.

  50. Thanks for doing it. A GPLd Java is really great news for the free software community. I can say Sun has won a bit of our hearts.

  51. Clemens

    Thanks a lot for opensourcing java! Since I trust Sun this now enables me to work on Java2D. Tnanks a lot πŸ™‚

  52. HC

    I think OS’ing Java was a great move. Congratulations and thanks!

  53. Bake Timmons

    Giving Java a GPL option is a brilliant move in light of cynical manipulations as in the Novell/MS flub. I never would imagine such a diverse collection of leaders around the world agreeing about how great a company is!
    While Sun has always been considered a leader, this bold move sets Sun above other big technology companies in the minds and hearts of IT workers–not just developers but (technical) decision makers. This move will not be lost on future ranks coming up through higher education who will rub elbows with people with new reasons to consider Sun solutions.
    Sun has another card to play in this way: OpenSolaris. Look hard at everyone using IBM’s baby, Linux: not everyone is wedded to it. Play the OpenSolaris licensing card right, and OpenSolaris will come close to maximum adoption.
    As much potential as these moves have to *directly* spread Sun technologies, the growth in good will do wonders for Sun! Go SUNW!

  54. With Sun’s Java release the world is set for a whole new round of innovation. With all do respect Jonathan, this is more than A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats. This is more akin to “rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.” The landscape will now change. How much room do you have on the arc?
    R&B πŸ™‚

  55. Thanks Sun! I would have prefered an Apache style license, but I can understand that GPL + Classpath exception limits the risk of forking without getting good ideas in the forks back into the Java codebase.
    The biggest change will come by having a solid Java implementation available in all Linux installations. With a little better Gnome and KDE integration I think we will see fast adoption of both Java and Linux on the desktop!

  56. SD

    How can GPLing Java raise the SUN boat?

  57. Thanks to some of the comments here re my concern on GPL, I dug through more details, and I found 2 things that address my concern (I know, I know, RTFM πŸ™‚
    1. Sun is distributing Java under GPL with the ClassPath exception, and describes in their FAQ (http://www.sun.com/software/opensource/java/faq.jsp#g4 )the reasons behind this — with an example almost the same as I posted earlier where the classpath exception allows me to distribute my software written in Java bundled with a JDK or JRE without requiring GPL.
    2. I also read the original GNU Classpath license text(http://www.gnu.org/software/classpath/license.html ), and it does clearly describe the exception.
    Still, my suggestion to Sun still remains the same: you can’t assume everyone will go through the trouble (granted it wasn’t much) of digging through the details of the classpath exception, and as such, they are likely to remain under false assumptions re GPL restrictions on Java (like I was initially). So, IMHO — don’t assume — everytime you mention Java and GPL, make sure you talk about the classpath exception and how it enables you to distribute your software written in Java under any license.

  58. Kevin Hutchinson

    I am SO HAPPY you chose GPLv2 over the Apache license. IBM is certainly expressing sour grapes about your license choice, but it’s obvious why you GPL is best for Sun and the world at large. 1) Sun can continue to oversee governance of Java SE and Java ME development. 2) Sun avoids unpleasant forking issues. 3) Sun can continue to sell commercial Java licenses to partners. The Apache license would have compromised all 3 of these key wins for Sun. Last week I asked “where’s the beef” – Jon, this is prime sirloin!

  59. Mike Sollanych

    Thank you for this. Sun seems to be one of the few companies that “gets it” – you’ve seen what’s been coming for a long time and you’ve helped it along.
    What’s truly amazing is that Sun and the Free Software community were fundamentally enemies not that long ago. Linux was the upstart little unix stealing business and mindshare. Sun handled that with grace and maturity and by opening its products it has become part of this amazing movement; and has positioned itself as the ultimate high end of this market. When your applications grow up, they want to be run on a Sun.
    I’m glad to see that there’s still hope for corporations that play fair and want to work with communities of normal people. Good job on coming down from the ivory tower mentality.

  60. Kwan

    Very interesting… Many of the Linux distributions had trouble integrating Java and Java applets into web browsers. Now that they can ship it (i.e., put it in their package repositories) this makes it much easier to get Java enabled desktops and browsers. Sure, the technically savvy can figure it out without much problem, but having it “out of the box” is a big victory.
    So I’ll admit that I was a little suspicious of Sun’s strategies. The company seemed unsure whether to embrace Open Source or fight it (despite Sun’s relatively favorable history with FOSS). This was very obvious in the widely disparate comments from senior execs about Linux.
    I like this announcement. Though I’m a fairly rabid Linux fan, ultimately it is not about Linux itself, but about the ideals of FOSS. If OpenSolaris and OpenJava and Open* is truly “open” and works well (even if primarily on Sun hardware), I’ll certainly be more receptive.

  61. lewism

    I think by this move, Java will have supplanted the win32 api as the most important “OS”
    within 5 years. Of course JS argues that java is already more important, but it’s not
    yet quite so in the desktop segment.

  62. Jonathan, thank you so much! I have been waiting years for this announcement. I have been coding with Java since the beginning, during the days of HotJava and the early beta’s of the JVM, for over 10 years. The last two years I thought I had seen the writing on the wall that Java was dying and began casting around for another server-side language. I think now that Java is GPLed (great decision to use the GPL!) I’ll be jumping back into the community. Good work.
    Brad Neuberg
    Weblog: http://codinginparadise.org

  63. Haren Visavadia

    Special message to Sun Microsystem at :
    I hope you enjoy it!

  64. I guess this is the rocking time for the college freaks and re-searchers to go ahead and do all types of innovations.

  65. David

    “free has to have a price.” Maybe they meant, the company (Sun) will be giving up future earnings (price) to allow developers to tinker with Java for free (free). Will going all free software hurt Sun’s bottom line especially now that you are investing more in software? Sun isn’t a small company neither. A net income of $100 million is peanuts.

  66. We appreciate very much the concept of “A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats”. This article, however, may make our Chinese upset because Tibet and Taiwan, which are parts of China, are listed side by side with China, as if they are all countries. Jonathan, please keep alert on this and delete it, please.

  67. Gary

    Nope…still don’t get it. How can free software that runs on any platform…ie not Sun hardware……make money and help the company grow. I see the benefit for the coding community but as a leverage for more sales and a wider adoption of Sun “billable” products i just don’t get it at all.

  68. Prince

    I think it is like, Java is Rice. So, Sun is a Rice merchant. There are other
    rice merchants too in the town, agreed. But as long as more and more people begin to eat rice, some of them will come to Sun too. So, effectively there is benefit for Sun. Did my analogy help , Jonathan ?!

  69. David Sarka

    When you discover that there is a turd in the punch bowl, it doesn’t help to add more punch…

  70. Gary

    Sorry..no. But I can see that if Java is prevelant then it will have some sort of knock on effect. But if more people eat rice and all rice is free and the same why buy Suns rice? Especially if you actually make your money on rice sacks (servers and services) and delivery (support?). I can’t help think that Java is a distraction and the fact that it is “designed” to work on any platform just opens the market up even more. Very laudable……if you’re a charity.
    Just want to see some “nuts and bolts” reason on why free Java is a benefit to Sun

  71. Anonymous

    The text at the HotSpot OpenJDK site strongly suggests that the development team over at sun just doesn’t get it. Jonathan, what do you think?

    Here’s what you don’t get with the source code: the class libraries that in combination with the virtual machine make a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) or Java Developers Kit (JDK). You can download those separately. You also don’t get our amazing quality team that keeps the plane flying even while we work on it. You don’t get our automated testing environment and labs full of fast machines, slow machines, uniprocessors and big iron, machines with various operating systems and compilers, etc. You don’t get our performance team, to keep us from regressing. Or our partners and licensees who help us port and keep our code portable. And you don’t get our zillions of happy (and not so happy) users, who keep us focused on what matters. If you want in on all of that you’ll have to collaborate with us in the continued development of the platform.

  72. Kevin Hutchinson

    Gary, one big reason why people bought Dell, HP and IBM was that UltraSparc (Sun’s bread and butter computer chip) only ran the Solaris operating system, whereas the customers wanted to run VMWare, Linux, Windows, etc instead. So Sun is pushing compatibility on a number of fronts. 1) The new UltraSparc T1 is designed to run Java faster/cheaper than competing chips 2) The UltraSparc T1 can run Ubuntu Linux and (Wind River Linux in 2007) and 3) Open source Java means more Java adoption which means more UltraSparc chip sales. Fundamentally, you don’t care about Solaris versus Linux if your software is 100% Java. PS Sun is also launching a “BrandZ” Solaris feature whereby you can run Linux inside Solaris – again to increase the market opportunity. Maybe one day MS Windows will run on Sparc?

  73. Mike O'Flannery

    Two issues Jon:
    First, it’s really a tragedy to watch a once great company flush it’s technologies away. Rising tides, blah blah, you know you are simply another one to jump on the open source bandwagon, burning the legacy of Sun while hoping to make friends and fool customers that it’s good for them. Tragic, and truly, I never thought I’d see this day (and I am/was a customer of yours).
    Second, all my developers tell me the whole GPL (but don’t look at this classpath exception) trick is not fooling anyone. Not interested.
    When you look back five, ten years from now, when your main revenue base has been winnowed away to a small storage server business, please re-read your blogs and hopefully you’ll see your folly. -Mike

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