Sunday, March 14, 2004

Open Source response

I do not see why this (giving Java to Open Source) is such a big deal really. Sun has allowed Java to be a free download for years, including J2EE, J2SE, and J2ME.

In addition, there is the JCP. The JCP has an open membership type philosophy, so anyone can apply for memebership. that pretty much opens it up.

Why should Java be opened sourced? It may actually hurt, not help Java. Why?

(1) Many Enterprises would be more afraid of a Java that fragements.

There are currently so many Open Source and closed source Java projects, that it becomes a real problem knowing what to choose and use. Choice is good, but when you have to become familiar with a dozen competing frameworks, that is NOT good. Java is huge and complex on its own right, having upteen dozen ways to do the same thing, while allowing freedom, also muddies the waters with far too many comepeting frameworks. Just be a Java programmer for a while and you will see what I mean.:)

(2) Support. Who is going to manage and support all of the Open Source Java frameworks and developmnt tasks?

Java is currently the de facto Enterprise platform for Web and server based programming. If Java is open sourced, who can Enterprise customers go to for support of Java? Will it be Sun, IBM, Oracle, Borland, Apache Group, etc? How many flavors of Java can we except to emerge?

(3) Microsoft. You can bet without some type of centralized control, MS will use this as a marketing tool for NET. I could just see the advetizements now: Java means you do not know what is coming next and from where. NET means you know who is in the drivers seat. With Java will it be the freckled face teen, or will it be the old woman in the shoe?

In addition, MS would be free to learn more from Java and use in NET. What would have happened, years ago, if Java had been open sourced? We would now have two flavors: MS only Java (what NET truly is), and Java for the rest. I am glad Sun did not make this move. This is what is going to happen with Mono.NET and MS.NET, bet on it.

(4) Java has done well without a decentralized control.
I think Java has done quite well with centralized control and for the Enterprise customer, I think they feel much safer knowing tht there is a tightly controlled governing body. Fragementation would be a VERY BAD THING, not a good one. Yes Open Souce has done a good thing with Python and PHP, but these are much smaller in scope and in practical usage than Java. I am not sure that this would work. Again, Java is MASSIVE.

In conclusion, these are only a few of the reasons I can see where the JCP might be better than Open Source.
Of course you can look on the other side, and see why an Open Source Java can be a good thing as well. As long as Sun keeps the JCP and its memebership open, however,I do not see why the Open Source world cannot use and enjoy the benefits of Java.

IMHO, Sun has been pretty good and open with Java. They have only really slapped one wrist and forbidden thir use of Java and that was Microsoft. We all remember that story. MS tried their usual "extend,embrace, and extinguish" policy. Yes, Sun did give JBoss fits (which they should not have), and even early on gave the Apache group some grief. Fortunately, the pressure made Sun relent and recant.

Both the Apache Group and JBoss group are now members of the JCP, both of which are open source, as well as the commercial companies like Oracle, Borland, BEA, etc. I see this as a good thing actually, not a bad one.

Sun has gave us, as the author rightfully stated, things that have served to make the Linux community flourish, as have IBM, Oracle, and now Novell. I do not think that a company has to giev away all of its crowned jewels to be a friend to the Open Source world. Java is definitely a crowned jewel of Sun, and they have been very generous to the Java beneficiaries, oftemtimes at the cost of their own company coffers.

Just my opinion or two cents worth :)


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