The New York Times reports that leading Linux distributor Red Hat has signed on to Sun Microsystems' OpenJava Community. As an OpenJava contributor, Red Hat and its JBoss division will have access to all of the OpenJDK code as well as the Java Standard Edition Technology Compatibility Kit, which is designed to ensure that Java-based software will properly run Java Apps.
As News.com's Stephen Shankland points out, the announcement seems like just so much news until you remember that Red Hat has been extremely reticent to partner with Sun for quite a long time:
[Consider] this 2004 statement from Red Hat's then-CTO, Michael Tiemann...directed at Jonathan Schwartz, now Sun's chief executive: "You say that you love the open-source community, but how much? If you love the open-source community, you'd open source Java. If you won't open source Java, it means you don't love us, or at least you don't trust us. Why, then, should we trust you?"
Apparently, the trust issues have all but evaporated. And because the Java Standard Edition includes "core runtime software," Shankland says, Red Hat will eventually be able to release its own Java runtime technology.
Of the partnership, JBoss product management VP Shaun Connolly says:
[W]e, Red Hat and JBoss, now have the mechanism in place whereby our engineers can properly work on a wide range of Sun-sponsored open source projects, including OpenJDK.