Sun Frees Java Platform

In accord with the growing popularity of open standards development tools, Sun Microsystems, Inc. Tuesday announced that it will make the standard edition of its Java 2 Platform free to users.

The Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition is part of the Java 2 family, which includes the Micro edition for appliances and the newly-launched Enterprise edition for servers.

Beginning Jan. 31, Sun (SUNW) will offer J2SE’s source code as well as binary runtime environment, the Java programming language, compiler and class libraries without any licensing or royalty fees.

J2SE originally launched last year with technology to build network software that is compatible across all major platforms. Users then began voicing requests to open the platform to allow any interested developer to use the technology.

In December 1998, Sun answered by offering the Sun Community Source License (SCSL) model for the J2SE, which eliminated source licensing fees, but continued to require that developers pay Sun a small royalty for every application using J2SE they sold or deployed.

Tuesday’s announcement furthers Sun’s participation in open standards, said Patricia C. Sueltz, president of Sun’s Software Products and Platforms. The one requirement Sun has in its new policy is that any modified J2SE code be compatible with Java-enabled devices.

“Sun is committed to maintaining a common sense balance between relaxing Sun’s policies for the use of the technology and maintaining compatibility, which is the heart of Java technology’s value to the industry,” she said.

In addition, Sun also announced a plan Tuesday to offer a Linux version of J2SE, which will be distributed via Inprise Corp.

Financial terms of that deal were not disclosed.

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