Sun Set To Move On GPL License For Open-Source Java
November 8, 2006 Leave a comment
I looks like I may have been wrong when I said that the license for Java would probably be the CDDL. Much to my surprise, it looks like Sun will be releasing it under the GPL. From the article:
Sun Microsystems has talked a lot about putting Java into an open-source license. Now it's ready to move.
The company is very close to announcing that it will put the mobile (ME) and standard (SE) editions of the Java platform into the GNU General Public License (GPL), with the Java Enterprise Edition and GlassFish reference implementation (currently open-sourced under Sun's Common Development and Distribution License, or CDDL) to follow, several industry sources said.
So it would appear that both the J2ME and J2SE platforms will be released under the GPL. In a recent poll the most requested license by developers was the Apache license (a BSD derivative), but to be fair the comments show a fundamental lack of understanding about the GPL in a couple respects. In general, GPL misunderstandings seem to be fairly common and the cause of a lot of developer concern. When (if?) this announcement is made official, it will be interesting to see how the java developer community reacts. As for the actual license choice, I think it makes sense in a lot of regards. The GPL will prevent any closed source commercial forks and the trademark will give Sun full control of what is called “Java”. It will protect them from the embrace and extend tactic that has been tried before. Additionally, I'd guess they will dual license (a la MySQL AB) which could help add more revenue to the bottom line. If the license is indeed GPL I'd expect fairly quick uptake by the various Linux distributions. I'll post another update, including community response, after we get the official word from Sun.
Sun, Java, GPL, Open Source