After years of requests and debates, Sun Microsystems is going ahead and releasing Java source code under a GPL license.
It plans to put the code for the programming software under the version 2 of the General Public License (GPLv2), which governs Linux and many other open-source products.
The Sun-hosted Java.net Web site will provide access to Java Platform Micro Edition (Java ME) software for mobile phones and Java Platform Standard Edition (Java SE) software for desktop applications.
Sun already has open-sourced its server-side Java Platform Enterprise Edition software in a project called GlassFish. But it is now making that same software available under the GPLv2, rather than the Sun-conceived Community Development and Distribution License (CDDL).
The nature of the GPL is that additions to software available under the GPL must also use the license. However, Sun is employing the so-called “classpath exception,” a license addition that allows the company to place limits on the software that the GPL covers.
This should help protect the work of programmers and companies that build their applications on top of Java.
This move by Sun is an attempt to build a stronger community, gain more developer followers and to avoid the problems of packaging Java with Linux distributions because of concerns over license alignment.
I’ve personally been one of the supporters of Java becoming open source for a long time, and I think the best way to keep it growing and always innovative is by opening it to the huge community of Java developers. So I think it’s great that they’ve done this at last.
[Source: CNet News]