Recently there has been a discussion about the potential open sourcing of Java. Paul Krill of InfoWorld has written an article about how Java will now likely be open sourced in a series of phases. Krill writes, “Some components of Java that could be open-sourced in an incremental fashion include the Java virtual machine, the runtime environment, the Web services stack and the Swing GUI components. There has been some discussion about releasing the virtual machine, Swing, and the runtime at the same time… Sun voiced intentions to offer Java via an open source format at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco in May, but provided no timetable.”
I think that most reasonable people would agree that Sun really failed to capitalize on a major asset with Java in the 1990′s. There was really not a credible alternative for developing web-based applications, particularly for “enterprise” developers and Sun just didn’t effectively leverage Java to sell a Sun platform. As a result, the Java world is splintered now and Sun has refocused on its open sourcing of Solaris and new hardware offerings. With the potential open sourcing of Java, I still don’t see the benefit to Sun. They can gain some mindshare from open source advocates, but I’m not sure how they make Sun a strong company as a result. So I wonder if this move is really important or whether it is too little, too late.