Open Source Java at OSCON

I went to the open source Java debate at OSCon last week to see Simon Phipps, Bruno Ferreira de Souza, Tim O'Reilly, Eric Raymond, and Brian Behlendorf. Danese Cooper took detailed notes of the conversation, so I don't need to get into the specifics here. Which is good, of course, because the issue is too complex for my brain and level of expertise. I'll let the experts figure it out.

I found most of the voices on the panel more than reasonable, though, which was good to hear. (That's my litmus test in these days of shrill. If you're reasonable, I'll listen. If not, I won't.) It was also heartening to hear Tim acknowledge during the discussion that he was surprised at JavaOne last month that the majority of developers who attended the open source keynote panel seemed more in favor of compatibility than in open source (as defined by OSI). Interesting. I guess it demonstrates that different communities in different markets have different needs.

I also attended the O'Reilly open source Java BOF later in the evening where I heard some developers express that to open source Java is, indeed, a delicate competitive issue at best, and that Sun has some good points that need considering. Some thoughtful discussion on both sides, but very few answers. I know and trust the people who are considering this issue internally, and I know they are talking with the community as well. We'll see what they all come up with as the debate continues.

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