IBM Extends Java License, Supports Solaris 10

IBM is extending its 11-year-old Java licensing agreement with Sun Microsystems for another decade. The extension will allow IBM to continue to use Java Enterprise, Micro, and Standard Edition technologies, as well as Java Card, in its software products through 2016.

Under the agreement, IBM and Sun "continue to promote and re-affirm the value and necessity of Java compatibility across platforms and demonstrate that both companies are committed to Java innovation," the companies say.

IBM will also broaden support of its DB2 database, Rational development tools, Tivoli management tools and WebSphere application server to include Sun's Solaris 10 operating system on SPARC, x86 and x64 systems. IBM has been supporting Solaris on Sun's SPARC processors but decided on the additional support because of customer demand, says Steve Mills, head of IBM's software group.

IBM will also become a channel partner in delivering Java-compatible products for the embedded market to Sun's Java technology licensees.

The two companies announced the agreement jointly at Sun's annual JavaOne conference, held last week in San Francisco (June 26-30).

Sun's president and COO Jonathan Schwartz acknowledged there had been "a little bit of a chill in our relationship with IBM." Schwartz credited IBM's Mills with facilitating the rapprochement.

IBM and Sun have been at odds over Sun's stewardship of Java recently, in particular, Sun's veto power in the Java Community Process, through which Java technologies and platform improvements are developed. And Big Blue has been banging the open-source Java drum for about a year.

The two companies say that they will continue to work together in the JCP.

Sun has been in a mood to make friends lately. Just last year Sun buried the hatchet with once-bitter rival Microsoft. The two companies have since been collaborating to enhance interoperability between .NET- and Java-based technologies.

"We've been making strides in trying to reach out to members of the community with whom our relationships may have been strained," Schwartz said. "We've got to send a clear message that the marketplace is vibrant, open and participative."

Sun's thawed relationship with IBM is likely to have a positive impact on its new high-end Galaxy systems line (designed by Sun co-founder and recent returnee Andy Bechtolsheim), which is built around the new Opteron dual-core microprocessor from Advanced Micro Devices.

Sun released to open source the lion's share of its Solaris 10 source code a few weeks before the JavaOne event. OpenSolaris is available under an open-source license developed by Sun, the Common Development and Distribution License.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at [email protected].