After talking the talk, Sun Microsystems is now close to announcing their decision to move a portion of the Java code-base to an Open Source licensing model. What is surprising is that Sun may be thinking much less conservatively than expected.Originally, Sun was thought to be pursuing the CDDL (Common Development and Distribution License) for Java, which it has used previously for Open Solaris.
This license, known to many open source enthusiasts as "pseudo-open source," allows for more control of the underlying code than the more common and popular GPL (GNU Public License). Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz announced on his blog in May that the GPL "wasn't off the table", in reference to Java licensing. Some pundits
don't think the licensing is a big deal, arguing that Java's code has always been open for programmers to view. However, many programmers (and Sun customers) prefer the GPL. Schwartz knows this and is trying to embrace the members of the open source community alienated by the CDDL.
Another problem lies with the Java developers who would be forced to release their contributions. Companies who have a large investment in their Java code may not be so willing to freely distribute their work. Therefore, it is predicted that Sun will likely offer something similar to the MySQL dual licensing approach. In fact, Sun executive, Laurie Wong was quoted as saying dual licensing is the plan.
Whichever the case, they are sure to get their moment in the
warm, bathing light with this announcement.