IBM joins the group, with an open letter to Sun

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News: IBM joins the group, with an open letter to Sun

  1. Last week Eric Raymond sent his letter to Sun asking them to open source Java. This week the letter comes from IBM, where they tell the Java steward that the company had to choose between control and ubiquity of Java. This isn't a new request from IBM, but they are probably hoping that this is the time for dialogue.

    Excerpt

    "Sun's strong commitment to open-source Java would speed the development of a first-class and compatible open-source Java implementation to the benefit of our customers and our industry," Smith wrote to Rob Gingell, a Sun vice president. "We are firmly convinced the open source community would rally around this effort."

    Under the offer, IBM would provide technical resources and code for the open-source Java implementation, while Sun would provide documentation and tests around the Java specifications, which Sun controls. IBM is heavily invested in Java, and the company's Java-based products have significant market share."


    View the actual IBM open letter to Sun

    Read IBM urges Sun to make Java open source

    Threaded Messages (53)

  2. Express your opinion[ Go to top ]

    Express your opinion, take this poll:

    http://www.javablogs.com/Jump.jspa?id=108790
  3. Express your opinion[ Go to top ]

    The poll currently indicates 72% of all voters would like to see Java GPL'ed, which sounds very strange, to say the least. Where have you been posting this link ;-).
  4. Buy java out[ Go to top ]

    When you build a new house with some help from other people, do you think you should give up the ownership of your house?

    If IBM wants to get some conrol on Java by asking Sun to give up the control, a reasonable solution would be to buy the ownership from SUN at reasonable price.
  5. Express your opinion[ Go to top ]

    Everything should be free.
  6. Express your opinion[ Go to top ]

    My apologies, someone is clearly stuffing the voting box here.

    I guess if it persists, I'll just have to close down the poll and start anew.

    Carlos
  7. I have no confidence in IBM's Java Support, because they gave up OS/2. IBM should not hinder Sun in the Java field. In a global sight, IBM behaves strange in the Java field. As with the IBM-Software Eclipse, the name solar eclipse tells the intention. Sun's annoyance about that is quite right.
  8. Poll: Will Sun Ever Set Java Free?[ Go to top ]

    Allow me to offer a different poll for more insight into the Sun Java Open Source saga.

    Q: Will Sun Microsystems Ever Set Java Free?

    o Yes, in 1 year.
    o Yes, in 2 years.
    o Yes, in 3 years.
    o Yes, in 4 years.
    o Yes, in 5 years.
    o When hell freezes over. Never.
    o Who cares. Don't know.
    o Other (Please Comment)


    Q: How much longer will Sun's the first-shot-is-free Java era last?

    o It's over in 1 year.
    o It's over in 2 years.
    o It's over in 3 years.
    o It's over in 4 years.
    o It's over in 5 years.
    o Who cares. Don't know.
    o Other (Please Comment)

    Q: How much are you prepared to pay for a Sun Java IP license?

    o US$ 50
    o US$ 100
    o US$ 200
    o US$ 500
    o US$ 1.000
    o US$ 10.000
    o Other (Please Comment)

    Cast your vote and see the results online @ http://viva.sourceforge.net/republic/2004/02/poll_will_sun_ever_set_java_free_is_open_source_java_a_pipe_dream.html

     - Gerald
  9. Benefits ?[ Go to top ]

    If we set aside the benefits and detriments to Sun and IBM, would the Java community benefit a great deal by having and OS Java?

    Can someone help me understand what it would mean to OS Java? Does that mean that everyone would be able to contribute to the JVM source, and that is all, or would there be other stuff as well?

    Does Sun actually make money on developing the JVM? I haven't paid for using it once in my life. Do they sell IP to other companies?

    Sorry if I don't understand exactly what all this means.
  10. Benefits ?[ Go to top ]

    After reading more articles about this, it doesn't seem like there is a good financial reason for Sun not to OS Java. I don't see how the complete control over Java benefits Sun, unless they want people to start paying for it. Sun will just lose options.
        On the other hand Sun seems to be doing a good job of supporting and enhancing java.
        I think Rick Ross said it best :

    "The real problem is not that Java isn't open sourced, since the source is pretty readily available," Ross said. "The real problem is that Sun is perhaps only 5 percent of the Java industry--if that much--yet they have total control of the platform positioning and are doing an inadequate job of promoting it." -C|Net
  11. http://www.computerworld.com/developmenttopics/development/java/story/0,10801,82109,00.html
  12. That's a good one.

    I would expect Sun to reply "Sure, you first".

    I mean, isn't it hypocritical to ask a company to open-source a value-generating product when your own software (WebSphere) is closed?

    Can we please get over this "Open-Source will save the world" frenzy?

    --
    Cedric
  13. I would expect Sun to reply "Sure, you first".


    Sure, how about:

    Apache xalan
    Apache xerces
    Apache SOAP
    Apache Log4j
    Eclipse

    Is that enough to start or should I keep going?
  14. Craig:
    > > I would expect Sun to reply "Sure, you first".
    >
    > Sure, how about:
    >
    > Apache xalan
    > Apache xerces
    > Apache SOAP
    > Apache Log4j
    > Eclipse
    >
    > Is that enough to start or should I keep going?

    Please keep going, you forgot about 100+ products branded "WebSphere" in your list.

    --
    Cedric
  15. Please keep going, you forgot about 100+ products branded "WebSphere" in your list


    I don't understand your comment. All of the products I listed started @ IBM and were open sourced. So, if Sun's response to IBM about open sourcing Java is "you first", then this is their response. IBM is a big supporter of Open Source Java projects, is Sun?
  16. ....is Sun?[ Go to top ]

    IBM is a big supporter of Open Source Java projects, is Sun?

    Just a little list of things that spring immediately to mind and although they may not have been started or incubated at sun, they have put a lot of resources into getting them into OS or works collaboratively with OS

    OpenOffice.org
    Grid Engine
    Netbeans
    Tomcat
    JXTA
  17. You are still not talking about the 'Websphere' group of products, Craig!
    Why cant IBM open-source them, all of them?
    Because the bread and butter for several thousands of IBM's employees comes from that! Get over this 'java should be OS'ed' deal! I dont see it happening, unless Sun Micro is going bankrupt and they want to offer it as a death wish to IBM!
  18. You are still not talking about the 'Websphere' group of products, Craig!


    You are correct. I am not talking about Websphere. I was providing a list of projects that started at IBM and have been donated to the open source community. IBM is a big contributor to the open source community, that was my response to Cedric's original post.

    > Why cant IBM open-source them, all of them?

    Because that would be dumb.

    > Because the bread and butter for several thousands of IBM's employees comes from that!

    Very true.

    > Get over this 'java should be OS'ed' deal!

    Yeah, see, I'm not in favor of it. I don't understsand how Sun stands to gain from it.

    > I dont see it happening, unless Sun Micro is going bankrupt and they want to offer it as a death wish to IBM!

    I totally agree.
  19. The difference is that Java is an infrastructure component. Such things are inherently helped by being open-sourced.

    The argument that Sun would be financially hurt by open-sourcing Java is a complete non-starter. You need look no further than Sun's own software portfolio. Sun's entire development software product line is based around open source technology (NetBeans), yet they still make money from it. Their Java Desktop System is based around open source technologies (Linux, Gnome, etc), and they're making money on it. The reference implementation for servlet containers (Tomcat) is open source, but there's still obviously a healthy market for application servers. Infrastructure components such as Java should be open source, but that does not preclude commercial products being built around them.

    Further, I've read interviews with various Sun execs over the years that suggest that Sun isn't against open-sourcing Java. They just don't have the interest to work out the logisitics of doing it.
  20. Furthermore, Sun stands to benefit from providing an open-source version of Java, because it will enable Linux software distributors to bundle Java and configure it so that users/administrators can have a Java-capable system out of the box. The license on the current JRE/JDK does not permit inclusion in a GPL'd Linux distro. The bundling would help the Java world and the Linux world. Linux can run more software out-of-the-box, and increases in Linux/Java adoption rates will spur sales of development tools. Sun can keep control of Java, or it can allow Java to become ubiquitous and spur creation of markets which will provide a lot more revenue to Sun (and the other Java vendors) than what it's seeing now.
  21. Sun is more active in Open Source than IBM if you consider lines of code donated.

    Go to http://www.sunsource.net to get a test for where Sun is active.
  22. Websphere Open Source[ Go to top ]

    Hi Cedric,

    IBM will Open Source Websphere (at least many components of them). Check this link:

    "IBM will contribute a complete set of basic J2EE and Web tools to the eclipse Web Tools Platform project. The contributed tools are the results of significant development effort over several years within the context of the IBM WebSphere Studio product family. These tools are immediately useful in themselves but also provide a framework that runtime vendors and tools developers can extend in the future. These tools will make a significant contributition to the completeness and appeal of the eclipse platform and will help build a thriving J2EE developer community around eclipse."

    More info with nice screenshots - They really look VERY nice ;-):
    http://www.cs.huji.ac.il/~dar/wdt/ibm.html

    Cheers,
    Lofi.
  23. Websphere Open Source[ Go to top ]

    The thing with IBM's open sourcing is that they are eager to offer additions to their Websphere platform. While some of this stuff is useful alone, the backdrop is always something called websphere. Many people do not care (including me), but it's still something you should notice. Some of it is marketing, some of it is lock-in, commercialized open source I guess.

    >>
    "IBM will contribute a complete set of basic J2EE and Web tools to the eclipse Web Tools Platform project..."
  24. Open source WebSphere ?[ Go to top ]

    Good,

    People could fix it! Wish they had done back in WS 3.0.x days, when there were so many workarounds that IBM could not keep pace writing the Redbooks.
    Can not wait for Open Source CICS, MVS, DB2 and MQ Series ...

    IBM is the traditional king of vendor lock in. While Open Source has some advantages, I do not how IBM's call could be seen as credible. Its all about control: Sun has more control of Java then IBM, so IBM is calling on then to relinguish control.

    To quote from Thin Red Line: "It's all about property".

    Michael
  25. You're not following IBM, then...[ Go to top ]

    IBM is the traditional king of vendor lock in. While Open Source has some advantages, I do not how IBM's call could be seen as credible. Its all about control: Sun has more control of Java then IBM, so IBM is calling on then to relinguish control.


    If you don't see it, then you haven't been following IBM's involvement with open source at all. Sure, 70s and 80s IBM was a monster, but that's no longer part of the culture. They know any attempts at lock-in are going to get an icy reception with their customers, so they are embracing and promoting open architectures, particularly Apache HTTPD, Linux, and Java. IBM's call for open-source is credible because that is how IBM makes money now: selling hardware and support services for open architectures.
  26. Websphere Open Source[ Go to top ]

    WSAD != WebSphere
  27. Thats not a reasonable list. Most of the projects you listed are owned by Apache except for Eclipse, IBM just made contributions to the other projects.
    Sun has made contributions to some of these as well.
    And in addition Sun has already opensourced

    Netbeans
    OpenOffice.org
    JXTA

    and a whole bunch of other projects listed here.

    http://www.sunsource.net/projects.html
  28. IBM does, historically, have a vested interest in Apache projects

    http://www.apache.org/foundation/press/pr_1999_06_30.html

    This is not anti-IBM, but please don't make out that apache projects are the result of a tremendous amount of altruism....
    ....all companies need to make money, the make products, they form and break strategic allianes and they invest in other areas and companies - it's the way of the corporate world.
  29. I mean, isn't it hypocritical to ask a company to open-source a value-generating product when your own software (WebSphere) is closed?


    IMHO that's not a good comparison. If anything, Sun should go back and tell IBM to open source Smalltalk. Except that Smalltalk is not exactly exploding.

    > Can we please get over this "Open-Source will save the world" frenzy?

    IBM did open up Eclipse, and BEA opened up XML Beans (thanks, BTW - it rocks.)
  30. Crazy ...[ Go to top ]

    Sun will never, and should never, make Java open source. Java and Solaris are Sun's greatest inventions. Why should they be open source? How does that help Sun? Is Oracle's database OS? Is IBM's WebSphere OS? Is MicroSoft's Windows OS?

    As a owner of Sun stock, I hope that they milk Java for all it's worth.
  31. Crazy ... everything for free[ Go to top ]

    As an owner of Sun stock why don't you suggest that Sun stops giving away JSDK/JRE for free? Why don't you suggest that Sun should stop supporting free application servers? This way they could earn more money. Today noone is forced to use Solaris. As an owner of Sun stock why don't you suggest Sun to stop producing JSDK/JRE for Linux. This way Sun Solaris would earn them more money. Maybe there's a connection between this free offer and Java's acceptance in industry and in education?
  32. To me the question is, if they open up Java, will it progress faster or slower?

    Because in the end if boils down to leadership, not just means. Perhaps IBM would like to start leading in certain areas of the Java language? I'd be curious to know which ones.
  33. yeah right[ Go to top ]

    Of course IBM wants to opensource Java. They are heavily investing in Java but they do not have control over it. At the same time they are competing with Sun with their Java products. Now, IBM is a big and influential company and they have money to effectively control 'opensource Java'. More resources you have, more you can contribute, more you control the product. From Sun's point of view, it's a pretty bad idea.
  34. yeah right[ Go to top ]

    Of course IBM wants to opensource Java. They are heavily investing in Java but they do not have control over it. At the same time they are competing with Sun with their Java products. Now, IBM is a big and influential company and they have money to effectively control 'opensource Java'. More resources you have, more you can contribute, more you control the product. From Sun's point of view, it's a pretty bad idea.


    You said it all. This is what is happening. What would Sun, whose hardware biz has tanked, benefit from relinquishing control of a valuable commodity that it rightfully owns? IBM, others who've banked upon java are, with good reason, concerned. But from a business perspective Sun would be foolish to do it. IBM knows that.

    Mike
  35. sun is out[ Go to top ]

    sun is gooing out of business....
    I would still like to code java.
    .V
  36. sun is out[ Go to top ]

    Don't worry Vic, if they fall a bit more, we'll buy them.

    Peace,

    Cameron Purdy
    Tangosol, Inc.
    Coherence: Clustered JCache for Grid Computing!
  37. sun is out[ Go to top ]

    I cannot agree that sun is out of business. Sun is alive and well with several new products. This year they offered sun java desktop system and star office (the saddest thing for Microsoft). They are offering rave (and it seems it’s amazing). They offered new cpu and in near feature will offer so much better thing. They get big china (server + desktop + mobile) and some other countries. They adds x86 support to hardware line. They offered java enterprise system although it lakes windows support. And so much more. So I think this year will be a new breath to sun and its employees.

    But it will be foolish to OS java in favor of IBM and Microsoft.
  38. who controls the compatibility?[ Go to top ]

    If sun admits open-source java, who controls the compatibility of Java? Maybe somebody will hurt Java again as Microsoft. I think nobody wishes to see so.
  39. - Free implementation?
    - Free specification?
    - Freedom to implement the latest spec without paying a license fee?

    obs: "free" as in free speech
  40. I strongly support what Ronald is saying.

    I have been following the discussion on Open Source Java since the Eric Raymond letter and I feel that all the discussion so far are without direction and inconclusive because all the various issues ronald brought up have been muddled into one big mudpool.
  41. I just wish this nonsense would stop.

    There is no way I would trust Java to open-source control.

    a) There is a great risk that Java would a mess - answering to every developers developers whim. You cant keep everyone happy AND keep something simple. OSS projects have a history of not saying "no".
    Even with Sun's stewardship, I am none too keen on some of the knee-jerk additions to JDK1.5... brought about largely by C#...

    b) There is a great risk that Java would get hijacked. Any company with a fair degree of funding control over open source projects... erm, IBM?

    Now, to be fair, there are some legitimate complaints about how Sun has handled particular JSR's - but on the whole, its shedloads better than any other standards effort that has gone before.

    Can anyone answer the question: "What tangible benefit would OSS Java bring?"

    Will it save a boy down a well?

    -Nick
  42. it is IBM who is the wolf[ Go to top ]

    Nick: "Any company with a fair degree of funding control over open source projects... erm, IBM?"

    Exactly, you are right on track.

    Clemens Vasters (Microsoft Regional Director for Germany):
    "If Sun were actually to open-source (that's a verb now, is it?) Java as IBM demands, IBM would finally own it. They've got more resources and they'd throw them at the problem, easily taking away the leadership in the Java space. Sun would just be sitting there, watching in disbelief what happens to what used to be their stuff. That's really what IBM wants and I am amazed how clever they are about it."

    http://staff.newtelligence.net/clemensv/PermaLink.aspx?guid=02a7cbe1-1c4a-4b83-8b90-d2a22fbd9df5

    I just wish this nonsense would stop too (to think that MS have any interest in Java whatsoever anymore)

    Regards
    Rolf Tollerud
  43. As I have written in the past, so long as there is no lofty altruistic pitch being made,
    enterprises supporting OSS is OK. Java (J2SE) is surely a candidate for open source. It has become an essential part of infrastructure these days. Good number of non-MS based solutions rely on Java. And, no vendor charges for the JVMs.

    Given this, it is certainly good for the industry, if all players pool their resources and ensure a highly robust and compatible cross-platform version of Java.

    Cheers,
    Ramesh
  44. That's not true of Linux. Linus has a demonstrated history of saying no unless there is a compelling reason to say yes.

    Java is important enough that the JCP will maintain ownership of what makes it into Java. The benefit to open-sourcing it is that it WILL get a free piggy-back ride on EVERY copy of Linux distributed.
  45. Why SUN should open source the Java? What is business interest for SUN to give up control of something that still holds it afloat? Why IBM don’t open source Websphere, or Oracle open source their database product?

    The only reason to open source something is to trap the users into the technology and then start charging for support or undermined the competitor with the free software. There is no free lunch and I doubt that ever will be. Of course, personally as developer and consumer I like free stuff but let’s not forget that somebody paid for that, we just happened to enjoy the side effect of some bodies intrigue.
  46. The rationale is fully explained in other comments within this thread, if you would just read them. But here's the nutshell:

    1) Lack of viable open-source JVM prohibits bundling with Linux, which is the fastest-growing server operating system. Open-sourcing it would enable distributions to install Java without forcing the user to go download it.

    2) The JVM itself is not a money-maker for Sun. It is a core infrastructure component that would benefit from the collaborative development model, so that each individual vendor doesn't have to invent their own version of the wheel. It frees resources to more pressing needs, like performance.

    3) Sun is not opposed to open-sourcing Java (and the news came out today that it actually agreed to talk with IBM about it). I read an interview with Gosling where he said that Sun's not opposed to open-sourcing Java, but they're not going to put a priority on it.
  47. Robert: 1) Lack of viable open-source JVM prohibits bundling with Linux, which is the fastest-growing server operating system. Open-sourcing it would enable distributions to install Java without forcing the user to go download it.

    How does it prohibit bundling? Please explain, since several distros do bundle it. I disagree with most of the other points that you wrote, but the rest were just opinions, so they can't be proven right or wrong. But on bundling, it's either legal or it's not, I would assume, and some are doing it and others have announced that they will, so why do you claim that they cannot?

    Peace,

    Cameron Purdy
    Tangosol, Inc.
    Coherence: Clustered JCache for Grid Computing!
  48. How does it prohibit bundling? Please explain, since several distros do bundle it. I disagree with most of the other points that you wrote, but the rest were just opinions, so they can't be proven right or wrong. But on bundling, it's either legal or it's not, I would assume, and some are doing it and others have announced that they will, so why do you claim that they cannot?


    The Sun JDK/JRE cannot be bundled as part of the distribution, due to it having license terms that are incompatible with the GNU General Public License. The products that bundle it do so on an extra "Commercial Applications" CD, which is not technically part of the Linux distribution. The installers, therefore, typically don't install the Sun JVM by default...they opt instead for Kaffe, which is based on Java 1.1. It'd be much better for everyone if there were a JVM based on a current version of Java that could be rolled into the base distribution install process.
  49. Robert: The Sun JDK/JRE cannot be bundled as part of the distribution, due to it having license terms that are incompatible with the GNU General Public License.

    That does not sound correct. The GPL doesn't dictate what can and can't be on the same CD (or hard drive or whatever) with other GPL applications.

    Robert: The products that bundle it do so on an extra "Commercial Applications" CD, which is not technically part of the Linux distribution.

    Technically, the "Linux distribution" is just the kernel ;-)

    I've seen what you're describing, but I just figured that was because they ran out of space. (Several of the distros I've played with have 3 or 4 CDs.)

    Robert: The installers, therefore, typically don't install the Sun JVM by default...they opt instead for Kaffe, which is based on Java 1.1. It'd be much better for everyone if there were a JVM based on a current version of Java that could be rolled into the base distribution install process.

    I agree, I just don't see (yet) what that has to do with the license.

    Peace,

    Cameron Purdy
    Tangosol, Inc.
    Coherence: Clustered JCache for Grid Computing!
  50. The GPL is a very strict license. It regulates, based on license, what you can and can't bundle with GPL code. The most basic restriction is that any software bundled with a GPL'd product must be offered under a free software license - the source must be available, and it cannot impose any additional restrictions pertaining to distributing/changing the software than the GPL does. The JRE's current license is not even arguably a free software license
  51. Linux, GPL and Sun JDKs[ Go to top ]

    Robert: The GPL is a very strict license. It regulates, based on license, what you can and can't bundle with GPL code.

    The GPL does not use the term bundling at all. I've read / used / distributed the GPL. You can find a copy of the GPL in any GPL'd product, or even on the web.

    Robert: The most basic restriction is that any software bundled with a GPL'd product must be offered under a free software license - the source must be available, and it cannot impose any additional restrictions pertaining to distributing/changing the software than the GPL does. The JRE's current license is not even arguably a free software license

    Actually, what the GPL says is as follows:

    GPL: In addition, mere aggregation of another work not based on the Program with the Program (or with a work based on the Program) on a volume of a storage or distribution medium does not bring the other work under the scope of this License.

    I'm not trying to be argumentative; I just feel that this particular claim is incorrect, and I would like to have it clarified here in public if my understanding is wrong, because I have been claiming for a long time that there is nothing in the GPL that prevents the Sun JDK (for example) from being distributed on a "Linux" install disk.

    Peace,

    Cameron Purdy
    Tangosol, Inc.
    Coherence: Clustered JCache for Grid Computing!
  52. And if Sun is bought?[ Go to top ]

    I still think posters here are under-rating the buyout issue.

    For all that they lack perfection (and I could rant about how), it's still true that Sun's commitment to open standards has been astounding. They give the world java specs, jsdks and jres, they sponsor a community-ownership (JCP) process the equivalent of which I have never seen anywhere else.

    And if Sun is bought, or goes bankrupt, or suffers a major change in management (this year, next year, in five years)? What then? What happens to Java?

    This is not idle speculation: computer geeks know well how fast success can turn to failure in IT.


    Sean
    (all of which points out how valuable a property the Java IP is, and so why Sun won't just give it away - and why I wish they would).
  53. Sun considers joining the group too?

    Peace,

    Cameron Purdy
    Tangosol, Inc.
    Coherence: Clustered JCache for Grid Computing!
  54. Juz think abt it...[ Go to top ]

    making Java into pure,holy open-source sounds good, but in the long run it might do more harm than benefits... think abt Linux - it's great, has growing market share, still it wont beat windows, atleast in near time. The reasons are clear - customers are attracted by TCO and other long-term benefits, but at the same time worried abt compatibility issues, migrating/rolling back if needed, en all.. As there are so many versions, u cant guarantee one app./product developed in Red Hat can be migrated to Suse.. or any other. That's one of the reasons holding back Linux, and other clones of Unix too..( i donna howm many agree with this, but i feel this is main... the unexpected success of Java also reflects the same, due ot it's right once,run anywhere capability) Sun has done good so far.., they hav brought Java to the level no one had imagined about..and it's better they continue to keep control.. Juz coz they are doing bad now, does n't mean that IBM shud take over, or even accede contrl to open-source community.. Even with this smallest level of control, there are variations in j2ee deplymnts.. Those smart folks at Sun havn't been successfull in marketing, but innovative than any one else in industry...
       Wisdom says Stay united to beat the common enemy (yo all know,who it is :-)
    Making Java open-source may spread java faster initially, but then at some point.. too many variations in market may go in benefit of more the devil..( shud i say the name? ;-)

       btw, dont think I'm against IBM, but juz read the below link.. it may give some idea..
    http://techupdate.zdnet.com/techupdate/stories/main/A_wolf_in_sheep's_clothing.html?tag=zdfd.left