A New Hope for Open Source and Java

by James Duncan Davidson

Over the past few weeks, discussions between the Apache Software Foundation and Sun Microsystems have reached a fever pitch over several concerns raised by Apache. Apache's position, led by Jason Hunter (author of Java Servlet Programming and one of the minds behind JDOM), requires several changes to the JSPA (the document that members of the Java Community Process sign). Sun has agreed to make changes to the upcoming JSPA revision that address Apache's concerns.

Rob Gingell (Sun Fellow & Vice President as well as Chair of the Java Community Process) has posted a letter on the JCP Website detailing the changes that Sun will be making.

What does this mean? It means that Open Source developers will have the right to implement Java specifications. It's now in writing. It also means that we will see more Open Source Java projects. Maybe even more develoment effort on an Open Source JDK.

Personally, I'm really happy to see this happen. This builds on many of the things that were started when I helped launch the Jakarta Project several years back. From that experience, and from almost daily conversations over the last few months, I know that Jason has put a tremendous amount of effort into this and should be congratulated by all that see him next week at JavaOne. Chuck Murcko and the rest of the guys at Apache should also be given kudos. It's been a heck of a few weeks.

Not that this means it's over. There's no final victory here. This is just a step in the right direction. Hopefully there will be more.

What do you think about this change in the Java landscape?