I’ve pointed out a number of news articles and analyst comments this week about Sun announcing that it would open source Java. The reactions have ranged from “why” to “that’s nice” to “when” to “who cares?” to “didn’t I hear that five years ago?”. The last reaction was mine, because I did.
Now we have Danese Cooper, former Sun employee, with “What Sun Doesn’t Want You To Know About Java and Open Source”. Simon briefly responded with “No Monopoly on Good”.
As I’ve stated before in some of the link comments, Sun open sourcing Java is a good move. We even suggested that ourselves two years ago. Ten years ago, I would have said something like “but waiting for this to happen is like watching a glacier melt.” Of course, today glaciers are melting much, much faster.
I really can’t imagine that there is any possible angle or deep intellectual thought that hasn’t been considered inside Sun about how to make this happen. The play book must exist. If it doesn’t, that’s a bad statement of affairs. Danese talks about the discussion that has been taking place since 1999.
So let us know when Java is officially open sourced using an existing OSI-approved license (as Danese said). In the meanwhile, remember that promises are not news. Action is news. I’m willing to get excited, I’m willing to applaud it, but DO IT.
Java on Linux? Nice. Should have happened a long, long time ago. Will it make a difference now? Because Sun has taken so much time to figure out how to do this, others have come up with alternatives. It’s hard to get excited about promises and things that are way overdue.
The analogy that keeps coming to my mind is of someone who keeps taking half steps toward a goal. First half a step, then half of that, and so on. The direction looks good, it looks like they’re getting closer, but they don’t actually reach the destination. I hope that doesn’t happen here.