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November 17, 2006

This is Huge

Sun has released the Java environments as open source under the GPL. This has two large and contradictory implications: evolution of the platform, including to smaller and larger devices as well as for stability and features, will speed up; meanwhile compatibility will decline amongst implementations, unless Sun has either a rigid compliance certification or a well-developed process for ensuring that users have the ability to specify strict compliance when running (ie, do not allow non-standard Java to run). The compatibility issue is key for enterprise installations, and I hope Sun has solved this.

Posted by jeff at November 17, 2006 2:37 PM

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Hey, Jeff.

Hah! Caedroia. Love it, man.

Haven’t seen you comment over at QandO for a while now. Caedroia will be going on my Céilidh Cowboy’s Cara Duinn and I will be checking in frequently.


Posted by: PogueMahone at November 17, 2006 5:19 PM

I hope Sun has solved this

You don't sound very confident. Their track record in the last, oh, decade isn't encouraging. They are a setting Sun in my opinion.

Posted by: queuno at November 17, 2006 6:41 PM

Not terribly confident, no. It is a difficult enough problem solving version control within an enterprise. Solving version control and consistency problems across a large and vigorous open source community, which Java will have, is nearly impossible. And no, Sun's record is not great in this area, though I have to say that my experience with their people is that their general technical skill level (at least in the groups I've dealt with) is well above average for an IT company, so they might be able to pull it out if they have the right people on the problem.

Open source projects could fork the code, of course, specifically to maintain a stable and "accepted standard" version of Java, but the problem would be that there would be many such groups for a while, and picking among them would be difficult. That alone, though, could give Sun the edge it needs to maintain the standard code base, given that large vendors and enterprises would be hesitant to switch to a non-Sun distribution so long as there were many of them.

Welcome, Pogue. I actually have commented on Winds of Change and The Glittering Eye more than anywhere, lately, just because that's where the posts that got me interested were. And clearly, I haven't been posting much here, either. It's been busy.

Posted by: Jeff Medcalf at November 17, 2006 9:20 PM