Open Source Java SE: Who gives a fig ?
By dannycoward on Aug 18, 2006
Who cares ? Five days after our announcement on Monday, I felt it was time to digest the reactions around the Java world to the news.
Missed opportunity for word play
I was all geared up for a slew of press headlines marrying 'Sun' with some combination of 'rise', 'set', 'shine', 'burn', 'spot' or 'screen'. And, you know, a graphic of a sun cresting over a choppy sea full of joyous penguins or something.
But instead we've had a real treat of a large number of articles that mostly accurately represent the plan we announced on Monday. For example: CNET, Internetnews, eWeek, TecnNewsWorld, DevX, all with sober headlines.
(OK, one of them couldn't resist.)
You did ask...
Much of the complexity in Sun making this move is for us to do so in a responsible manner with regard to to the other vendors who have embraced Java technology. I imagine BEA will be pleased at this latest news given their past beseechings, and current 'blended strategy' on Open Source (chirp...). A hasty reaction from some folks from IBM appears to have been mostly made facing upwind, except for some free product feedback they got.
More helpfully, and critical to our getting this right, have been some very constructive assessments and advice from people like Geir, Dalibor and Tom who really know this stuff because they have or are working on open source implementations of Java SE already.
OK, but just don't break it for us
For me, the most interesting reactions have been those from Java developers. Perhaps in the long anticipation of this completion of opening up the development of the Java platform codebases, much of the heat and fire has been dissapated. So I have to say that the volume of debate in the fora that I have been following has not eclipsed other burning issues of the day. But the reactions appear to have been largely focussed on the mechanics of rolling out the program, rather than on its merits. Though of course there are some colorful exceptions. Debates on the central issue of the choice of licence appear as a popular discussion point, though there does not appear to be a consensus. My own suspicion as to why being that the consequences of the choice are complex to divine. Law school anyone ? There have been a couple of sinister theories that I probably won't lose any sleep about, and some misinformation about Java EE [Update: That got corrected since I posted this]. And there I was, thinking everyone knew that our implementation is already open source. But I was happy to see that one of the potential benefits that Java SE will go where no Java SE has gone before, is being discussed by others too. Of course, what I suspect many developers feel on this topic is indifference to mild concern: that they do not care how Java is made, but just that it's there and that it works. No surprise then that there are some worries that it might not.
We do well to keep them at the front of our minds.