The Java News

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Tuesday, November 14. 2006 in Open Source

Much is being made of Sun's decision (finally) of open sourcing Java, and I find myself happy and pleased about it, but not super excited by it. I mean, had it been done a few years ago, I don't think there would have been a dry eye in the house, and that people would have been jumping up and down in enthusiasm. But a "real" free Java is hardly new news anymore (note: Harmony is no longer in incubation, we graduated it last month (Oct 2006)). The excitement is over the trend, and in the hopes of even better cooperation within the free Java community. Certainly this opens doors that had previously been tightly closed. Much is also being said about Sun's decision to go with GPLv2, and many people were hoping that other open source communities would be jumping all over Sun for that decision. I think they are disappointed that, for the most part, communities are agreeing that, despite what license they like, the choice of license was Sun's to make, and that GPLv2 is a fine enough license, thank you very much. Yes, a free Java will help Java, the language. But I still believe that the success of Java (the language) is not so much to do with the language design itself (certainly, various scripting languages such as Ruby and Python avoid some of those warts and are, from a language-design PoV, "better") but rather the robustness of the JVM itself, as well as the "universal" availability of it. But I also expect to see other languages get a substantial kickup now that a "free" JVM is available for them to use.

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