November 14, 2006

Sun's Surprising Openness

Few were surprised when Sun Microsystems finally opted to publish the code to its widely used Web programming language, Java. Sun executives had dropped hints for months that they would make Java freely open to developers, who in turn would be able to tailor and improve the code, used for creating Web-based programs for use on all manner of computer hardware.
What caught some off guard, however, was how Sun (SUNW) would do it. Specifically, Java will be freely available under what's called the general public license (GPL), which also governs the distribution of the Linux open-source operating system. As recently as October, during a conference sponsored by Oracle (ORCL), Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz suggested that Sun might choose a more restrictive licensing structure—the common development and distribution license (CDDL), written when Sun opened its own operating system, Solaris.

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