[This article was contributed by Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier]
The JavaOne conference was held last week in San Francisco, and as usual
there was a barrage of announcements from Sun about new Java-related
initiatives and technologies, some of them actually of interest to the
Linux and Open Source communities.
One of the big announcements was the launch of Java.net, a cooperative effort with
O'Reilly and CollabNet. Java.net
seems to be Sun's answer to SourceForge, an Open Source development site
but with a specialization in Java and Java-related technologies.
The site will include hosting of projects, mailing lists, forums, wikis
and blogs (presumably about Java or related technologies). Right now
Java.net only boasts a few projects: JXTA, NetBeans, the Javapedia, JAIN
and so on.
The NetBeans team announced the NetBeans 3.5 release, including the
NetBeans IDE, last week as well. The NetBeans IDE is written, not
surprisingly, in Java, so you should be able to run it on Linux or any
other platform with decent Java support. However, the NetBeans IDE is
not limited to Java development -- it supports C, C++, XML and HTML as
well as Java. NetBeans has been available under an Open Source license,
the Sun Public License, for three years now.
Sun also announced the Sun ONE Studio 5
IDE, which is based on the NetBeans Platform. This one isn't Open
Source, but it does run on Linux and may be of interest to J2SE (Java 2
Standard Edition) and J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) developers.
Another interesting tidbit announced during the JavaOne timeframe is the
Specification Request (JSR), a plan to help scripting languages like
PHP and Java interact. Specifically, it's aimed at writing Java classes
that can be invoked by a page using PHP, ECMAScript or other scripting
languages that are in wide usage. The Scripting JSR seems to be in a
formative stage at the moment, but it should be interesting to see what
the group comes up with in the long term. The initial members of the
group are Sun, Macromedia, Zend and Oracle.
Open Source gamers might be pleased to learn that Sun has diverted work
on some gaming APIs from the Java Community Process to Java.net as well. However,
this probably has more to do with the fact that Sun doesn't see much
profitability in gaming APIs for Java than any major commitment to the
Open Source philosophy.
Sun also touted a "simplified" Java Research License (JRL). The
JRL is supposed to "simplify and relax" the research section of Sun's Sun
Community Source License (SCSL). This allows some limited
development for research and development, but anyone hoping to
distribute a project will have to go to Sun for a commercial agreement
and meet Java compatibility requirements. In other words, it still is not
a free license.
What are the prospects of Sun making Java itself Open Source? It's
probably not going to happen anytime soon, but there are folks at Sun
who'd are in favor of making Java, or parts of it, Open Source. James
Gosling, the guy responsible for Java, is in favor of releasing Java
according to this Computerworld article:
Oh, yeah. I've always felt that sort of in the abstract, open-source is
the right thing to do for a lot of the kinds of things that we do. There
are a variety of issues that make it a very complex discussion as to
whether it actually works as a business.
Slowly but surely, Sun seems to be moving towards a more open stance
with Java, but the company is still retaining very tight control on the
core Java technologies.
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