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Sun Claims GPL Would Fork Java

Sun Claims GPL Would Fork Java

Under mounting pressure from IBM and the open source leadership, Sun is making noises that sound like it wouldn't mind turning over stewardship of Java to a third party - despite the fact it's been, well, prickly about such a thing for years - but that it draws the line at open sourcing the stuff.

Sun software czar Jonathan Schwartz suggests that maybe certification house Keylabs might be able to manage Java but said that the "Linux GPL allows people to fork," a rationale for Sun to resist any move to open source its unprofitable treasure.

In the last couple of weeks, both open source philosopher Eric Raymond and IBM VP Rod Smith have sent Sun open letters calling on Sun to open source Java.

Schwartz said he wants IBM, which has never been particularly comfortable with Java in Sun's hands and has a huge investment in the thing, to define what it means by "open source."

For what it's worth, Sun likes to remind IBM that it's never used its veto over Java development.

Schwartz muttered something about Red Hat for Java quickly becoming the dominant strain of Java on Linux without compatibility testing because of Red Hat market dominance. Of course, Java as it currently exists isn't compatible so it isn't exactly clear what Jonathan's objection is.

IBM says open source Java would solve repetitive cross-platform engineering issues and multiply Java applications.

There are issues of IP and Sun's fear of giving IBM the upper hand.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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