Java Goes Open with GPL v2

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The months of waiting and wondering are over. Sun Microsystems has released Java Standard Edition, Java Micro Edition under GPL v2. Java Enterprise Edition is now available under GPL v2 and under Sun's own Common Development and Distribution License.


We've heard rumblings of an open source Java for at least a year and a half, and developers have been begging for it for even longer.


An early attempt to share the programming language came via Sun's Project GlassFish, which offered Java under the Java Research License. Developers could "get their hands dirty" and be involved in Java's progression, but the company could avoid incompatibilities and the possibility of code forks.


After the wild success of OpenSolaris and the leadership change that landed developer Jonathan Schwartz in the driver's seat at Sun, talk of opening Java got louder still, and at this year's JavaOne conference, the company announced it would be taking Java open source. What it didn't say was when -- or under which license.


When rumors flew that it may happen mere months from the date of the announcement, Sun's open source chief was quick to stifle them, telling anyone who would listen that the process of open sourcing a platform as big as Java is long and complicated. Then came word that parts of Java would be released this fall, but no one expected Sun to go as far as releasing it under the GPL.


In a recent LinuxDesktop.com story, open source guru Tim O'Reilly called the move a "bold" one that will be good "for Sun and for free and open source software."