Artima.com has published Part I of an interview with Sun Microsystems' fellow and chief engineer Rob Gingell in which he discusses open source licensing, source and binary compatibility, binary standards, and the Java Community Process.

Read the interview with Rob here

Here's an excerpt:

The Unix industry was regarded as fragmented by customers because you couldn't interchange the binary artifacts between systems, either in whole or in part. Yet we had all those Unix standards, and everyone claimed to conform to them. So what went wrong?

Well, in some ways, nothing, only, we had an audience mismatch. Unix was very successful in having a technology standard,source code was relatively portable. Linux's rapid rise is in part due to a ready-made set of applications, and its historical evolution was partly driven by finding an application it couldn't run and then adding what was needed. The programmers actually did, and largely do, enjoy "open systems" in Unix.

End-customers, however, did not. For them, the Unix standards have a similar import that steel standards have to a person trying to buy a car. No one cares about them explicitly, nor makes a purchase decision based explicitly on them. The JCP manages Java in both spaces, providing both programmers and end-users of their work the benefits they're seeking.

What do you think of Rob Gingell's comments?