Sun Open Sources Java Platform

SANTA CLARA, CALIF. November 13, 2006 Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: SUNW), the creator and leading advocate of Java technology, today announced it is releasing its implementations of Java technology as free software under the GNU General Public License version two (GPLv2). Available today are the first pieces of source code for Sun's implementation of Java Platform Standard Edition (Java SE) and a buildable implementation of Java Platform Micro Edition (Java ME). Details are available at:

A bold move, as Tim O'Reilly says? You be the judge.

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missing link?

I think the Tim O'Reilly link is wrong... It's currently just another link to the announcement from Sun.

And, to add some content, there has been a positive response to this move on the Scala list. I think they're right to observe that, as this makes the JVM much easier to include as a core part of an OS distribution, it paves the way to putting JVM-based languages on the same footing as Perl, Python, etc. This is a big deal.

The link is correct: He is

The link is correct: He is quoted in the press release.

ah, sorry...

(Shows how closely I read it...)

Why yes, it is rather bold.

Makes sense. Seems to me that Sun is afraid Java will go the way of Solaris. Even though Java is extremely popular now, there's no guarantee that it will remain so forever. The industry is very fickle that way. Making it open makes sense if they want Java to become a standard. Now if everyone would stop dramatically re-working their application interfaces every generation, I would be a happy camper.

btw, open-sourcing Solaris

btw, open-sourcing Solaris has not done wonders so far. The only nice thing about open-sourcing Java is that it'll make it a lot less problematic for other languages to target this which is probably one of the most modern VM technologies to date. I can certainly see Python and Ruby taking advantage of this for some speed-up... specially as it's most likely that now the JVM will come pre-installed in most Linux distributions by default.

I was reminded last night

Helping a coworker last night, I was reminded why Java is such a confusing and crappy language.

My coworker knows C++ fairly well. They also know that Java has no pointers. So they started by asking me "how do I pass an object by reference?"

I now had the unfortunate duty of explaining how in Java, everything is actually pass-by-value, except that of course, you are passing References (ie: pointers) by their VALUE, meaning you are passing in a copy of a pointer to an object - the object isn't actually copied.

A few whiteboard diagrams later, and we were set.

But the fact remains, Java is maddeningly inconsistent. Don't get me started on the 3 data types of Java (primitives, object and arrays) which require excessively complex APIs to handle them all slightly differently in syntax, but not in semantics.


LtU isn't really for language rants. Anyway, general comments about Java are OT for this thread.

Some reactions.

Some reactions.

What next?

It might also mean that Sun is also ready for a change. They have a strong language development group and and a tradition of language inovation. Also they surely know a lot that we don't know.

The best news for Java

There was a huge roadblock in using Java in Linux (i.e. the Java trap). Now any distribution will be able to have it as default. Also the new will open several interesting possibilities: providing better support for Java running inside free browsers, hacking the VM to introduce class-sharing with proper isolation, making easy to fork the VM and makingit better for dynamic languages, etc. I'm quite excited about this, perhaps projects like this will get a much needed boost.