In-Depth

Sun to Open Source Server-Side Java

Sun Microsystems President and COO Jonathan Schwartz said that the open implementation of Java will be good for business.

Jonathan Schwartz, president and COO of Sun Microsystems, announced during his JavaOne keynote that Sun Microsystems is open sourcing the server-side implementation of Java.

Sun is sharing the source code for the Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 and the Java System Enterprise Server Bus (Java ESB). The Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 will ease development and offer enhanced support for Web services and service-oriented architectures (SOAs). The Java ESB is meant to reduce cost of integration through an open integration framework for SOAs, to enable customers to more rapidly implement open SOA applications.

In describing the passing of the Information age, in which we interacted passively with the technology in front of a desktop system, Schwartz explained how we have entered a new age of participation in which the individual interacts with the community at large over the network.

This is an enormous opportunity for the Java developer community, Schwartz told an estimated 7,500 conference attendees. "Driving compatibility is fundamental to driving the community, and the community is key if you want to see value. Companies like eBay, Google, Amazon, [and so on] have figured this out," Schwartz said. He said there is no downside to F.O.S.S (free and open source software), and that Sun's open implementation of Java—which includes the application server source code, integrated tools, and use of the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL)—is good for business.

Schwartz also discussed the social value of the network, in which connectivity is a given—"we all want it"—but it's now outstripping the PC industry by a long shot. "Free," the "F" in F.O.S.S, "is the one price that works for everyone," and that's why Eclipse, Apache, NetBeans, and others have been so successful.

For example, he mentioned that MIT has open sourced its curriculum so now anyone can go online and "take" MIT engineering courses. "The free part is what we've been focused on because it is no accident that most of the popular software products are available for free," Schwartz said. "There is a social utility to free software. Firefox is arguably the most successful product out there?, and it is this social aspect that allows people to freely participate."

Schwartz cited the recent Tsunami disaster that occurred in the Indian Ocean at the end of 2004 as a conspicuous example illustrating how the individual took control to facilitate a new era of two-way communication. He said that Internet blogs and cell phones were used to communicate and cover the disastrous event worldwide well before any of the major news agencies were able to respond. This use of the network, Schwartz said, emphasizes the importance of participation by demonstrating how "enormously democratizing" this evolution is.

To illustrate the similar evolution of early 20th century technologies, Schwartz used historical anecdotes of Thomas Edison working with J.P. Morgan to wire up J.P. Morgan's house—the first house to be wired up for electricity. Following the invention of light (what Schwartz called the first "killer app") and the U.S. government's participation in wiring up the country, the eventual invention of radio (the third "killer app") introduced one-way communication. Now, in today's new age of participation, Schwartz noted that we've reached a point where it is the end node that is communicating and informing the centers.

Schwartz also pointed out that governments worldwide are now getting involved, actively participating in getting people on the network, and that this effort was no longer just being carried out solely by the United Nations. Schwartz said that the evolution of the network is every bit as important as the building of the wiring grids for electricity in the early part of the 20th century.

Schwartz concluded his presentation by challenging the developers in the audience to ask themselves what they can control over the next 10 years.

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