Open-source Java coming in '07

Sun is "on plan" to make Java open source. Meanwhile, it looks to make OpenSolaris for specialized hardware devices.

Martin LaMonica Former Staff writer, CNET News
Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.
Martin LaMonica
2 min read
Sun Microsystems intends to commence open-sourcing Java by the end of this year and complete the process in 2007, according to the company's executive vice president of software, Rich Green.

Last August, the Java creator said it intended to open-source the components of the Java programming language and associated software.

On Friday, Green said Sun is "on plan" and intends to release significant pieces of the Java platform in the fourth quarter of this year.

"We did it with Java Enterprise Edition (server) with the GlassFish project, and we will be doing it with Java Standard Edition and Java Micro Edition, which is pretty exciting," he said.

By releasing the source code to Java Standard Edition, the software to run desktop Java programs, and Java Micro Edition for handheld devices, Sun hopes to invite more developers to build products with Java.

Sun also intends to eventually release its Java Enterprise System, its Java server software suite, to open source.

Separately, Green said Sun is developing "tailored solutions" around its Solaris operating system along the lines of what it did with its "Thumper" storage server.

"Historically, when (you) think of network-attached storage, you see it implemented as a closed system, and there is an inability to innovate on top," Green said.

Its storage server brings commodity hardware economics to that market, which Sun will be pursuing in other areas, he said.

"There are whole industries whose business models and margins are based on proprietary value," Green said, declining to specify which product areas Sun is eyeing in particular. "That is not going to be the case for much longer."

Sun is targeting hardware companies and software developers that could build products on top of OpenSolaris, the open-source edition of Solaris, he added.

Rather than build custom chips, Sun hopes that these partners will use OpenSolaris, which runs on commodity servers and desktops.