Tuesday Jan 29, 2008

How To Get $1m From Sun

You'll remember when I was in India I announced a $1m programme from Sun to recognise contributors to a selection of Free/open source communities (and gave a few more details afterwards). In the interim, each of those communities has formed a team to work out how they would like to direct the $175,000 Sun has allocated to them, and I'm delighted to announce that the six programmes are now live. Full details in the press release which links to each of the community sites.

Monday Dec 03, 2007

Getting Paid to Develop

Beaver photo (c) S Phipps

We've got an exciting development bubbling that I hope to be able to announce in full detail at FOSS.IN in Bangalore on Friday when I speak there.

Just to give you a glimpse of what's happening, Sun will be announcing a multi-year award program in support of fostering innovation and advancing open source within our open source communities. We'll be providing a substantial prize purse and working with the communities involved to develop the approach that works best.

I'm announcing it in India because that's where I expect the greatest open source community growth to come from in the near future - the FOSS.IN programme committee relaunched their CfP a while back with this in mind. If we can play a part in catalyzing the emergence of India as a key international open source power-house, the effect on the software industry will be huge. Not to exclude others in the region of course, so much is going on there.

This year's participants include OpenSolaris, GlassFish, OpenJDK, OpenSPARC, NetBeans, and OpenOffice.org. This is a great opportunity for members of these open source communities to take their passion and creativity and push the innovation boundaries - and get paid in the process!

Update: I've added more detail as well as information responding to questions in the comments here to a new posting.

Update Jan 2008: Details of the individual programmes are now available.

Thursday Apr 19, 2007

Full Java Stack In Ubuntu

Sun at FISL in Brazil

I just got back from Brazil, where I was honoured to be a speaker at FISL 8. Attended by over 5,000 people, FISL is one of the world's largest Free software events. I gave them an update on progress making the Java platform Free software in an open source community. The reaction was overwhelming - I kept having people come and thank me for Sun's contribution to Free software.

I wondered why so many people were so grateful, and once it was explained I understood. In Brazil, almost all the banks have online banking interfaces written as Java applets; the tax authorities have a tax filing applet; the use of Java is pervasive. This was great - except for people on GNU/Linux. It turns out that making the JDK available in Debian made an enormous difference to the Brazilian Free software movement, since they were finally able to gain the same access to the necessities of modern online life as those trapped on proprietary operating systems.

So I assume they will be delighted with today's announcement, made a little while ago by Sun software EVP Rich Green in a speech in São Paulo. The news is that a full Java developer stack with tools is available from today in the Multiverse repository for Ubuntu 7.04 (that's Feisty Fawn). It includes JDK 6, the Glassfish Java EE server, the NetBeans development environment and the Java DB database. From today, Ubuntu becomes a first-class Java developer platform (just like Solaris Express already is). That also makes deployment easy - having Glassfish or Java DB as a dependency becomes almost trivial. More details on Sun's GNU/Linux page. Ubuntu gets a new colour!

Monday Nov 20, 2006

Simple Is Better

Leaf-fall at City Hall

In a fine article yesterday whose title I have appropriated for this posting, Frank Hayes exactly captures the thoughts I was thinking as we were going through the license selection discussion for the Java platform inside Sun. I don't agree with his comments on obsolescence, but when it comes to licensing:

Anyone knowing that history would have expected Sun to open-source Java on Sun’s own terms ... Amazingly, Sun didn’t do any of that. The Java open-source license is identical to the Linux license. No specialized terms. No strings. Nothing new. Sun actually did keep it simple.

Licensing simplicity was one of the goals of the Open Source Initiative. By having licenses pre-approved as "freedom promoting" by a group of experts, the plan was to save developers from having to make decisions about which licenses were OK and which were a problem. I regard it as a huge irony that this approach was so successful that the number of approved licenses has proliferated to the point where one needs legal advice to choose between them. So one of the very first things we did when I became Sun's Chief Open Source Officer in 2005 was to start the process of simplifying Sun's approach to licensing by retiring an old open source license, SISSL, which I assume no responsible company will now choose to use.

Following the OSI's lead, the time has come to further simplify, and I'm pleased to be able to announce that Sun has contacted OSI again and informed them that another license Sun created - the Sun Public License, or SPL - is no longer required by Sun and requested that they consider it "retired". We migrated the last large codebase from it last spring - NetBeans - and it's now a historical artefact.

It was a good thing in its day, but it was one of many licenses created from the Mozilla license out of necessity and now we have CDDL it's not needed - that license has provided the whole community with a long-term alternative to "vanity" licenses. I'd encourage the (many) other creators of Mozilla-derived licenses to take the same step. We owe it to our colleagues in the open source community to keep things simple.

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Thoughts and pointers on digital freedoms and technology markets. With a few photos too.

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