New Sun Portal Tracks Open-Source Java Progress

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Fully open-sourcing Java requires decisions about licensing and governance that Sun previously has said it plans to make jointly with the Java community. The new site is aimed at facilitating those discussions by offering forums, news, blogs and documentation about Sun's plans.

The site offers news tidbits about recent developments, including Sun's decision that it will use an OSI (Open Source Institute) license rather than a new custom one. Sun's Java ME code will be open-sourced by the end of this year, with other code releases coming this year and next, Sun Chief Open Source Officer Simon Phipps wrote in his blog.

"I know many of you want to know more and want us to go faster. But the truth is that it's not ambiguity, it's due care and attention and respect for the existing community working on Sun's code," Phipps wrote. "Expect a steady stream of news from now on, as well as an honest desire for dialogue with everyone."

Sun executives also took advantage of this week's LinuxWorld conference to meet with press in San Francisco and offer more details about the Santa Clara, Calif., company's Java plans. Sun doesn't own the rights to all of the code needed for Java development and initially will need to ship some of that third-party code in a separate, non-open-source package, according to Java SE chief engineer Mark Reinhold. Over time, Sun hopes to replace that "encumbered" code with open-source technology.

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Sun already offers significant swaths of its Java platform under open-source licenses, but at this year's JavaOne it committed to releasing the platform's core components, a move it had long been under pressure to make. Since then, Sun has moved cautiously. Though open-sourcing Java will help expand the community backing it, Sun wants to preserve the "write once, run anywhere" compatibility that has been Java's strength.