By richgreen on Nov 13, 2006
Our older son turned to a new chapter in his life this fall – leaving the nest and going to college. He's a great guy and we're all very proud of him. But as a parent, you hold your breath nonetheless, looking back fondly at the years past, hoping we did all things possible to prepare him for the days ahead, and with excitement and anticipation of just what the future portends.
You spend a large piece of your life helping him prepare for the day. Never wanting to unwrap our arms from him when he was young, but each successive year sharing him with the rest of the world, influence increasingly coming from events and individuals outside our control. Until the day comes that we're just a part of his very rich life. Always there for him and and forever driven to ensure his success and happiness. He came back to visit for the first time a few weeks back. Already more worldly, more confident and secure. It was a wonder.
At the risk of anthropomorphizing the abstract, today's Java GPL open source announcement marks a remarkable new chapter for many constituencies – for developers at a global scale – inspiring Brazilians, Indians, Chinese, Russians, Africans, Americans – everyone, to freely build the products that best characterize local opportunity, leveraging the best global technology; for Linux distributors – who want Java to be part of their offerings but have required an impedance matched license; and to deployers and administrators worldwide – who are basing their infrastructure increasingly on open source and GPL and now can move ahead with Java unfettered.
The individuals at Sun are a passionate, driven and brilliant bunch of folks. No better evidenced than the group of people here who have led our Java programs through the years. In the early days we were heads down and all alone. It was our job to nurture and protect Java in its formative years. As interest grew, we found ways to share both Java's value and the ability for all to contribute. When some would try to violate the covenant of access and compatibility, we defended it, aggressively, and triumphed. And Java blanketed the planet – an industry with a combined value greater than 100 billion dollars with more than 4 billion copies distributed worldwide.
And we're nothing if not consistent. With Netbeans, OpenOffice, OpenSolaris, and now Java, Sun is now the free software movement's most significant benefactor. When I came back to Sun, and met with James Gosling and a few others in my office, I asked why we should use anything but the GPL. It's good for developers and it's good for our shareholders. More developers, more creativity all done visibly in the community. And larger markets, with Sun helping to fuel the future.
For the many who have helped Sun write the first part of this new chapter by feeding, nurturing and guiding Java, thank you. And for those who said Sun would move slowly, err, or not do it at all, I'd be happy to get you a fresh set of tea leaves. Releasing our Java technology with the GPLv2 license is an event like few others in the history of technology. Take a look at comments from across the community to hear what they have to say. And we're all thrilled and excited – sending Java off and affecting the world on a grand scale, expecting only the best things but knowing that, in the capable hands of every interested developer, we're now just a part of a very rich future.