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“It's not a question of whether we'll open source Java, now the question is how” said Sun’s new chief executive Jonathan Schwartz at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco.

Sun so far has resisted calls to release the code over concerns for fragmentation and forking, pressure from IBM and BEA has perhaps finally encouraged a change of heart.

However this isn’t going to stop Sun from moving forward and developing Java itself, ‘Mustang’ is expected later this year and ‘Dolphin’ is expected in early 2008 with a number of service updates in-between.

Interestingly, Java has also revised its version numbering system to make it less confusing, so ‘Mustang’ will be known as Java Standard Edition 6 (Java SE 6). However a major maintenance upgrade may mean appending a “.1”.

Whether you believe that Sun is feeling the heat over .Net and SCA who can say, but what is certain, Sun is looking towards the future of Java and itself. It is clear that for Java to survive it will need a greater number of supporter than it currently has. Going open source doesn’t only allow the bedroom developer the ability to enhance, extend or alter Java but also allows companies like IBM the freedom to move Java in the direction they wish to take it, perhaps with their own flavour.

What does this mean to the man in the street? Are we going to need to install multiple JVM’s on our PC’s?

And what about the Java developer? Will they be able to convert from one version of Java to another? Which variation do they pick? Or even do they move over to SCA or .Net and say goodbye to Java altogether?

It’s going to be interesting times for Java and Sun ahead. Good luck to them both.

Posted on Wednesday, May 17, 2006 7:50 AM Main , Development Technologies | Back to top

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