Sun to make Java more Linux-friendly

As JavaOne approaches, plans are afoot to make Java licensing terms more favorable to open-source OSes.

Sun Microsystems plans to alter its licensing to make it easier to bundle Java Runtime Environment with Linux.

The company will announce the changes and possibly one other open-source move at the JavaOne conference later this month, Sun executives said during a press teleconference Thursday.

Laurie Tolson, a vice president in the Java platform group, said that Sun, which licenses Java to other software companies, has modified the terms to be more favorable to open-source operating systems, specifically Linux and OpenSolaris.

She said the changes affect the Java Runtime Environment (JRE), the software that needs to be loaded on PCs for them to be able to run Java applications. Typically, the JRE is downloaded separately rather than included with an operating system.

"The intention is to make it easier for distributors and developers to get their hands on the runtime with the operating system," Tolson said.

Joe Keller, a vice president of marketing for service-oriented architecture and integration platforms, referred to the change as "JRE already included."

Sun has faced calls several times to open-source Java, which advocates say would foster innovative open-source development.

The company has resisted formally open-sourcing all of the Java software, but it has dramatically changed the development process around Java and changed licenses to make it easier to see Java source code.

JavaOne 2006 may see Sun open-source portions of the Java Enterprise System, company executive Jeff Jackson said. Last year, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said it will eventually offer free access to the server software suite. It is currently "looking at everything," said Jackson, who is a senior vice president for Java development and platform engineering.

Another expected announcement at the conference, scheduled to begin May 16 in San Francisco, will cover Java Platform, Enterprise Edition 5. Sun plans to deliver a software development kit for Java EE 5 at JavaOne, executives said. Java EE 5 is the latest upgrade to the Java server standard and was ratified late last month. It is designed to make programming for Java server applications easier.

The creation of the Java EE 5, done via a committee co-chaired by Sun and Oracle, reflected Sun's intention to emulate open-source development processes, company executives said.

"We've done this entire development project with the (Java developer) community in plain sight," Keller said.

One related Sun code-sharing project is GlassFish, announced at last year's edition of JavaOne. The project aims to develop a Java application server based on the Java EE 5 standard, which uses an open-source license.

Representatives from BEA Systems, Oracle, JBoss and SAP said on Thursday their respective business software companies are in the process of building Java server software based on the new standard. Products are expected to be released over the course of this year and next.

Software based on Java EE 5 will support the Enterprise Java Beans 3.0 standard, which is meant to make it easier to access data from Java programs and write transactional systems.

Java EE 5 has also been tweaked to speed up Web development and creation of Web services. Software based on Java EE 5 will include prebuilt components for building Web applications using the AJAX Web development technique, according to Sun executives.

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