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From Geir Magnusson Jr <g...@pobox.com>
Subject Re: So today Sun announced...
Date Fri, 19 May 2006 12:54:40 GMT

Endre StĂžlsvik wrote:
> I personally wonder what _full_ open-sourcing of java actually would 
> accomplish? How do you want Sun to do this? Slam a Apache-license on the 
> code, and say "okay, folks, here it is - we're off"?

Well, sure.  That would be good.

>   I believe that it could fragment into a million different, 
> half-abandoned projects without any proper steering - who is to decide 
> which new method to put into java.lang.String? How would compatibility 
> between implementations be defined?

Those two questions are spec issues, and independent of whether or not 
there is an implementation of the spec under an open source license.

The spec will continue to evolve through the JCP process, and just like 
now, implementations will follow that spec and be tested by the 
associated TCK provided by the expert group if they are to be called 
"Java", regardless of the license of the implementation's source code.

> Open Source java wouldn't be the same if there wasn't some standard to 
> follow and adhere to. If this "standard" is defined rather more by one 
> company than the rest - what is the real problem? As long as this one 
> company still pours a bunch of money on the steering and progress of the 
> project, isn't this better than one dozen open source projects that 
> themselves would have to decide between them which new method, or worse, 
> which new API, to include?

I'm not sure how to answer this.  I believe you are a little confused 
about how the JCP works and what we're doing here, and people are asking 

First, we aren't advocating changes in the way Java SE specification is 
defined.  Rather, we are just creating an implementation of the same 
Java SE spec that Sun follows, but under the Apache License, and the Sun 
announcement is about their intention to distribute *their* 
implementation of the Java SE spec under an open source license.

Second, the Java SE specification - the 'standard' you refer to - is 
already defined by multiple companies and individuals that work on the 
Java SE specification Expert Group, of which Sun is the Spec Lead.

> These questions should also be answered by the folks that continually 
> scream about "OSS'ing Java": may we not risk that the whole java-thing 
> falls apart at the seams if this actually happens? Who should, for 
> example, run the JCP?

That's an orthogonal issue, independent of implementation of specifications.

OSS-ing Java SE is IMO just like OSS-ing Java EE (well, J2EE back then). 
  There was much consternation that the sky would fall in terms of 
splintering the J2EE standard,  but now 3-4 years later we've seen no 
such problems and a rather healthy Java EE ecosystem with both 
open-source (Geronimo, JBoss, JOnAS and Sun's Glassfish) and proprietary 
implementations (WebLogic, WebSphere, Sun's Whatever) of the spec 
peacefully coexisting.

In fact, it's clear to me that OSS in Java EE has had a very positive 
effect on both evolving the spec for users (i.e. the Spring and 
Hibernate influence on Java EE/EJB3) as well as making the technology 
available to end-users at a faster pace.

> In my opinion, we, as in "the folks that aren't fully in MS's pockets", 
> should be somewhat grateful for Sun's continual backing and support of 
> java, while still try to hold them somewhat in check to not lock it in or 
> away, but rather open it up for full, working, open source alternatives 
> (Like with the Swing issue, where they apparently pretty much aren't 
> allowing for a proper alternative, which should be fixed).

What's the "Swing issue"?

> PS: How do you folks feel about Tiger's development model?

Do you mean Mustang via "Project Peabody"?  I like the community aspect 
- it was a great step forward for Sun - and could be improved by adding 
committers from other companies and making the code available under an 
open source license.

> PPS: Why does Sun really bother to pour money into Java at all? The 
> reason, I've come to understand, _was_ that they then could sell a bunch 
> of their big-iron boxes to companies when the small intel-servers couldn't 
> cope with a success of their developed java code. That argument is gone 
> some years ago - so what's really in it for Sun, other than prestige?

To be frank, IMO it's leverage over a major control point in the 
software industry, which doesn't need to change if they OSS their 


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