Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: Open Source Cloud, Java IoT

Open Source Cloud: Article

Flashback to '04: Gosling Says "Open-Sourcing Java Could Promote Interoperability"

Disparate Groups Would Find It Easiet to Align Behind One Code Base

"There's been a lot of churn lately over open letters from IBM and others calling for Sun to open source Java," wrote James Gosling last week in his java.net blog

"Rather than try to respond to everyone individually, I'll try to respond to a pile of questions here," he continues.

Specifically, he responds to five:


1. "Some have asked why IBM is sending open letters, rather than talking to us directly: asking if this isn't rather kindergarten-ish."

Gosling's answer: Well, yes: it does appear that way.

 

2. "Some have asked what IBM would get if Java were open-sourced: doesn't IBM already have the source?"

Gosling's answer: Again yes, they do have the source. It's also true that anyone can get the source. The major restriction is that if folks want to redistrubute their changes, they have to pass the test suite. Which means that about the only thing that they could get from liberalization is to be able to skip testing.


3. "Some of IBM's statements have essentially distilled down to 'we'd love to help: open-source Java so that we can.' This has led to questions about whether or not IBM has been able to help."

Gosling's answer: The answer is that they have. They're one of the strongest participants in the Java Community Process. Their participation over the years has been substantial, and we're very thankful for it. For example, IBM was the major mover that led to the creation of the Swing API to replace the AWT api. They contributed many engineers to the Swing team. Viewing that time in hindsight, it is more than slightly ironic that these days they're endorsing SWT, which is essentially a clone of the AWT architecture, which they had strongly condemmed back when the decision to create Swing was being debated.



4. "Some have asked when, given IBM's apparent zeal for open source, DB2 and WebSpere will be open sourced?"

Gosling's answer: Ask them, not me - it does seem unlikely.



5. "Most of the comments I've heard from folks about open sourcing Java have been negative."

Gosling's answer: Hmmm... Not so much negative as concerned: Developers value Java's cross platform interoperability and reliability. They're afraid that if Java is open-sourced then someone will try to fragment the community by creating incompatible versions of Java and ignore the community process, just like Microsoft did. Microsoft did a lot of damage to the community and many developers strongly do not want that to happen again.


Gosling leaves the Java community in no doubt of how seriously Sun is taking this whole discussion.

"This is a big issue for us," he writes. "If [his emphasis] we do something to make Java even more open-source than it is already, having safeguards to protect the developer community will be something we pay a lot of attention to."

"Carefully done," Gosling concludes, in a tantalizing final sentence, "open-sourcing could actually promote interoperability by making it easier for disparate groups to align behind one code base."

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (26) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
TinyAcorns-MightyOaks 05/05/06 03:19:26 AM EDT

JAG is the Java authority within Sun, perhaps THE Java authority anywhere on earth. But what do the others behind the Oak Project all those years ago think about the open-sourcing of Java: has anyone asked Arthur Van Hoff or Andy Bechtolsheim?

JavaDan3 05/05/06 02:38:47 AM EDT

Isn't Gosling in Tokyo? Or South Africa? Or in Outer Space (Java runs the Mars Explorer)? How can he be joining this debate? Is he, like Java, now everywhere? "Gosling Everwhere" - I like it.

Peter van der Linden 05/05/04 03:47:07 PM EDT

OK, thanks for the reasons why people would like Java GPL''d.

That first one about "not being able to ship with Linux" would be a serious
problem, if it were accurate. However, as Nathar showed, 2 big distros currently ship Java without problems. As another example, Lindows shows
how Linux can ship without 100% gpl''d code.

The second point about Sun squashing new stuff puzzles me. What is wrong with the Java Community Process? Of course Sun is going to safeguard Java from ideas that will spoil it, such as destroying the ability to run on all architectures. However, compiling Swing (or any part of the run-time) to native seems like a pretty good idea to me. That can be done regardless of whether or not Java is GPL''d. After all, you have all the source.

Looking at the code taints you? I doubt that. Taints you from what? People often overstate the case for tainting. Can you provide any reference to cases decided in the legal system, as opposed to the urban legends that spread by word of mouth.

Java on the desktop almost died in the late 1990''s due to Microsoft''s efforts to fragment the language and fork Java. They were almost successful. Do you think they wouldn''t try again in a New York minute given half the chance? They could just do stealth-funding of 10 start-ups, with that as their goal. Stealth-funding was the approach Microsoft used to get SCO to attack Linux with FUD. SCO is almost out of business now, and their legal case is in the final stages before collapsing, but Microsoft has learned the lesson well.

I just don''t think that the risk/benefit tradeoffs are favorable to GPL''ing Java.

Nathar Leichoz 05/05/04 03:31:17 PM EDT

[i]
Problems solved by the GPL (as such)

a) Java can''''t be distributed as part of a Linux distribution unless it''''s bundled with every application that uses it. Also it would be illegal to distribute GCC in this circumstance.
[/i]

Redhat ships Java
http://www.redhat.com/software/rhel/features/

Slackware ships Java
http://www.slackware.com/pb/?vers=slackware-9.1&set=d

Those Who Dont Remember History 05/02/04 08:13:02 PM EDT

Lest you forget, Sun has quite a history of open letters:

These pre-date IBM's letter.

Andrew Shuttlewood 05/02/04 05:41:37 PM EDT

Problems solved by the GPL (as such)

a) Java can''t be distributed as part of a Linux distribution unless it''s bundled with every application that uses it. Also it would be illegal to distribute GCC in this circumstance.

b) Sun can squash attempts to do new and interesting stuff with Java, such as ahead of time compilation (note how you can''t compile swing using java to native code, even off companies that OWN a license)

c) You can''t redistribute what there is in the source. Even looking at it taints you from developing similar code.

People don''t want to hack on the Java standard API because it''s under so many layers of restrictions, it''s certainly not open source in any means - it is purely source available.

If Sun want to do ''something'' that would be good, then they could open source Swing. Swing is (or so it seems) the suckiest, buggiest part of Java there is. Open-sourcing it certainly couldn''t hurt, and it might lead to some people fixing a large number of the bugs in it just for their own sanity. Sun could then fold these fixes into the main Java system.

Jason Bell 05/02/04 01:46:53 PM EDT

Alan Williamson, Jason Briggs and myself had this very same discussion during October/November 2002.

It can be only summed up by the following link:
http://www.n-ary.com/java/cartoons.cfm?ID=18
(I''m the one in the orange top :))

Regards
Jason Bell

akme 05/02/04 01:21:04 PM EDT

Sun and IBM are just acting according to their organizational character. While they both promote innovation, Sun promotes its individual leaders while IBM promotes its collective action (creative, committee-forming Borg). While Java is open-source the JDK/API standards and management thereof are in Sun''s control, and that''s where IBM would like more of a partner role on equal footing for management of the API. Management by committee is always slower than by a single leader but running JCP has already opened that issue. The statement about "increasing marketplace acceptance of Java" is ridiculous -- Java is already the standard choice for most non-MS development unless you need the power of C/Objective-C/C++ or you find value in other langusges such as Python.

While Java was invented by people at Sun, it has now matured enough to leave home, go out into the world and extend its family ties.

Peter van der Linden 05/02/04 01:07:41 PM EDT

There''s a lot of sound and fury around this issue. But no one has yet given a convincing answer to the question "what problem is solved by putting Java under the GPL?" So, what problem would that solve?

Every Java compiler kit already comes with the complete source code for the run-time library, so you can fix all the bugs you want. So what''s stopping you?

I don''t understand the suggestion that open-sourcing Java would be somehow a "response to Mono". What specifically would happen, that cannot happen today? The Mono project is doomed. Either it fizzles out on its own like most open source projects, or it becomes wildly successful and Microsoft kills it either by enforcing its patents or by bribing the developement team to
join Microsoft (as they did with Borland and Anders Heljberg).

Nothing stops all "bytecode compilers" (whatever that means) from using the Java core libraries today. They are just libraries. Download them and use them all you want.

So let''s have an end to the woolly wishful thinking, and lets get a clear statement of what you would get if Java was GPL''d, that you don''t have today, given that you already have access to all the run-time source. Thanks.

jshore 05/02/04 11:16:41 AM EDT

Sun doesn''t get it. Neither do the most vocal open source advocates. The main reason why Java needs to be open sourced is not about "freedom", but rather that the community at large finally has the ability to move Java along: fix problems and make it competitive with the .NET platform environment.

Java has largely stagnated as a language and an environment:

- fundamental libraries a mess
- java plugin / applet ceded market dominance to flash
- UI implementation buggy and backward

It took the .NET threat for Sun to get off their butt. Still, the environment. Fact is, Java is a losing proposition in Sun''s hands. They''ve shown over the years that they are poor caretakers.

PCM2 05/02/04 06:33:33 AM EDT

I think -- and I''m really serious -- Sun should probably be looking at open sourcing Java as a response to Mono, if for no other reason.

Miguel and Ximian took a look at Java and decided it didn''t suit their needs, as far as developing rich desktop applications for Linux (e.g. Evolution). So rather than use Java, they decided it was actually better to implement the .Net environment themselves, from scratch. To me, that sounds like a fairly heavy indictment, and one that Sun should be looking into, if they''re smart.

Now you''ve got Mono humming right along, with the developers busy implementing two distinct stacks: One that''s a Microsoft compatibility layer, for using all the stuff you might have written with Visual Studio, and another that''s more Linux-oriented, with GNOME and GTK bindings, Linux printing architecture support, and so on -- the kind of things that people hope would come of an open-sourced Java.

If Sun doesn''t care about this, they''ve got more problems than I realized.

The Java Trap 05/02/04 02:13:33 AM EDT

Gosling also says "even more open-source than it is already"... but Java isn''t open source at all according to RMS

spellraiser 05/02/04 02:11:07 AM EDT

Question from the article:

2. "Some have asked what IBM would get if Java were open-sourced: doesn''t IBM already have the source?"

Gosling''s answer: Again yes, they do have the source. It''s also true that anyone can get the source. The major restriction is that if folks want to redistrubute their changes, they have to pass the test suite. Which means that about the only thing that they could get from liberalization is to be able to skip testing.

So it doesn''t seem to be such a big issue after all. The source is already available, and all that is required to change it and redistribute it is to pass a standard suite of tests. Now, call me crazy, but I think that''s not A Bad Thing. This restriction is what helps Java to be uniform and platform-independent.

The benefits of making Java fully open source therefore seem overrated. Isn''t the availablity of the source most important? Or perhaps I''m misunderstanding something ...

WorthNoting 05/02/04 02:09:09 AM EDT

Gosling is the one who produced the first non-free version of emacs, which was a direct motivation for RMS to produce the GPL!

He also produced NeWS which was superior to X in almost every way... except... it wasn''t open either!

I''ve always thought that Java will become open source over Gosling''s cold dead body, but maybe he''ll prove me wrong.

Actually 05/02/04 02:07:45 AM EDT

By definition Gosling is not the father of Java. He was (and still is) a Sun employee and developed Java during that time, by today standards any product developed by an employee is property of the company, so even McNealy is the father, McNealy is just the obnoxious uncle that says weird things when is drunk.

Gosling was just a surrogate father.

BTW what happened to the other people around OAK project?, did sun killed all of them and throwed them into a ditch?.

NZHeretic 05/02/04 02:06:16 AM EDT

As I said over at Slashdot it would benefit the entire Java based industy, including the free software, open source and proprietary based vendors, to open license the core J2ME,J2SE,J2EE libraries and Java to bytecode compilers.
Java''s primary strength, the ability to write code which is constantly portable across many vendors platforms, would be greatly enhanced if all of vendors were using the same core libraries.

To insure that the standard base core would not become polluted with incompatable forks, the source could be licensed with a clause requiring any incompatable changes or any additional classes or methords to be moved to and occupy only the vendors namespace. Another clause would require that the vendor version of Java bytecode compiler and any GUI IDE defaults to generating portable bytecode, without embedding any vendor specific references.

The OSF definition of an open source license clause five explicitly states: "The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software."

Contributions to the core standard would be required to licensed under the same open source license. The existing JCP standard body could decide what becomes part of the Open Java Core. Sun would still retain the veto, and the Java J2ME, J2SE and J2EE brand would be still be protected under trademark law.

It should not be necessary to open source license Sun''s JVMs. In the long run it could greatly benefit Sun to develop the JVM under a dual license as it doing with OpenOffice.org and selling StarOffice

Quezztion 05/02/04 02:03:09 AM EDT

How will opening Java help Sun make more money?

java/jvm 05/02/04 01:57:45 AM EDT

I don''t think everyone understands java. Port the thing lately, and I think you will understand. A bit more input from the "community" needs to help evolve the black box. It doesn''t matter at that point if it''s sun, or the community. What does matter, is Sun has put a lot of resources into Java. Get involved, port the thing, then give input.

Chris Hubick 05/01/04 11:25:24 PM EDT

I am still waiting for Mr. Goslings comments to reflect some insight as to why thousands and thousands of developers believe in many of the ideals behind the Free Software Foundation. He either doesn''t understand /why/ Sun is being pushed - or just doesn''t want to tackle any philosophical or pragmatic issues of Freedom.

goslingsamoron 05/01/04 07:38:05 PM EDT

How ironic... all his carefully chosen questions and answers seem to be nothing more than "kindergarten-ish" indirect attacks on IBM.

bill gates 05/01/04 08:50:15 AM EDT

The SWT part is bullshit. That architecture is completely different between it and AWT. Gosling is a moron.

dastrike 04/30/04 04:03:43 PM EDT

There are Free open source implementations of Java already. Not quite up to the same level as Sun's offerings yet, but it is difficult to hit a moving target...

aJavaProfesssional 04/30/04 03:59:24 PM EDT

If Sun claims that their leadership is the best for Java, why hide behind the CONTROL that they have of it? How do they honestly know that they are the best stewards if people are not free to pursue a different direction. I can see how they want to lead people into their vision of cross platform, which I truly believe in and think will happen, but you can''t force it. It will happen when it happens, and I personally believe it will. If "we" need some more time to suffer the shackles of the hardware OS, there is no amount of screaming that Sun can do to bring about this change other than convincing more people of the need for it to happen so that more people bring it about. There are other more subtle ways to draw poeple into their vision while practicing "servant leadership" and actually discovering how and where people want to go before deciding it for them. Microsoft used to empower people with the openness of their architecture compared to Apple or even IBM, but now Linux has taken over that role as MS has started following their own shadow around trying to figure out where they want to go.

Gosling/Joy 04/30/04 03:56:55 PM EDT

where on EARTH you get that idea?? Gosling was part of a team that included many folks, take a look here for example.

Unclear 04/30/04 03:55:01 PM EDT

Who is the creator of Java?
Everyone knows it is Gosling, but for some reason Sun would have you believe Bill Joy did it. Why? Sun only acknowledges that Gosling "managed" those who created Java. So did Gosling manage Bill Joy as well? This makes no sense.

linuxislandsucks 04/30/04 03:52:14 PM EDT

You might want ot view my weblog post titled Gosling smoking weed..

@ThingsExpo Stories
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, will discuss some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he’ll go over some of the best practices for structured team migrat...
As businesses evolve, they need technology that is simple to help them succeed today and flexible enough to help them build for tomorrow. Chrome is fit for the workplace of the future — providing a secure, consistent user experience across a range of devices that can be used anywhere. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will take a look at various options as to how ChromeOS can be leveraged to interact with people on the devices, and formats th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Yuasa System will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Yuasa System is introducing a multi-purpose endurance testing system for flexible displays, OLED devices, flexible substrates, flat cables, and films in smartphones, wearables, automobiles, and healthcare.
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
Organizations do not need a Big Data strategy; they need a business strategy that incorporates Big Data. Most organizations lack a road map for using Big Data to optimize key business processes, deliver a differentiated customer experience, or uncover new business opportunities. They do not understand what’s possible with respect to integrating Big Data into the business model.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will discuss how from store operations...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, will discuss how they bu...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
As hybrid cloud becomes the de-facto standard mode of operation for most enterprises, new challenges arise on how to efficiently and economically share data across environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Dr. Allon Cohen, VP of Product at Elastifile, will explore new techniques and best practices that help enterprise IT benefit from the advantages of hybrid cloud environments by enabling data availability for both legacy enterprise and cloud-native mission critical applications. By rev...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera offers a radically new approach to data management, where innovative software makes data infrastructure invisible, elastic and able to perform at the highest level. It eliminates hardware lock-in and gives IT organizations the choice to source x86 server nodes, with business model option...
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
Digital transformation is changing the face of business. The IDC predicts that enterprises will commit to a massive new scale of digital transformation, to stake out leadership positions in the "digital transformation economy." Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, Oct 31-Nov 2, will find fresh new content in a new track called Enterprise Cloud & Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that N3N will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. N3N’s solutions increase the effectiveness of operations and control centers, increase the value of IoT investments, and facilitate real-time operational decision making. N3N enables operations teams with a four dimensional digital “big board” that consolidates real-time live video feeds alongside IoT sensor data a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp emp...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...