Open Source Java Prediction

by Steve Anglin

Sun Microsystems is definitely feeling the pressure to open source the Java programming language. However, they are doing it an API at a time.

The first to go was Servlets and JSP, under an Apache open source license project, Jakarta, in an effort to create a standard implementation for the Tomcat Web Server. There is also the JavaLobby Foundation Applications (JFA) which has open source license to some of JavaBeans (client-side) and Java Foundation Classes. Additionally, at O'Reilly's P2P Conference, JXTA was announced. It will be an open source P2P Java networking API similar to Jini, but with XML integration and improved security (none of which Jini offers at this time).

What's next for open source Java?

Based on my research and an enlightening Q&A at a recent Sun event, more of the following Java API will be open sourced.

  • Expect the Java 2SE as a whole to be open sourced over the remainder of this year and possibly the first of next year. This will include the JFC, such as Swing and Java 2D.

  • The Java Media API will also be open sourced. This includes Java 3D, Java Sound, Java 2D, Java Media Framework, and more.

  • Jini will be under an open source project, perhaps part of the JXTA open source license.

However, the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) will not be in the short-term, according to Sun's VP of Java Software, Richard Green. This makes sense since most of Sun's Java licensing revenue comes from the use of the J2EE.

As far as the Java 2 Micro Edition and Consumer Java API, such as Personal Java, Java TV and Java Phone, it's too early to tell.