Sun to Open Source More Java Code

SAN FRANCISCO — Sun Microsystems  said it plans to publish the first bits of the Java platform under an open source license in October, with the rest due next year.

The Santa Clara, Calif., systems vendor will release the JavaC compiler and the Hotspot virtual machines by the end of the year, said Laurie Tolson, vice president of developer programs and products at a company event late Monday.

Alan Brenner, vice president of mobile and embedded systems at Sun, added that Java ME would also be released as open source by the end of the year.

The rest of the code will be open sourced in 2007.

Sun hopes to release nearly all of the Java as open source by the next JavaOne conference, with a few minor exceptions for copyrighted code that Sun does not own, Tolson told, echoing the company line on why open sourcing the code takes time.

Copyrighted code has been one of the tricky sticking points, Rich Green, executive vice president of software at Sun, told in a recent interview.

Sun is also debating which Open Source Initiative (OSI) model it would use, and is soliciting input from developers.

Programmers can offer feedback to Sun through a new Web site here.

Sun has been under pressure to release Java as open source for some time, and has already has made a good deal of the Java code available, including developing Java SE 6 in an entirely open fashion.

Earlier this year, the company was forced to deny that an open source release was imminent.

Simon Phipps, chief open source officer for Sun, said then what Tolson said at this event: that Sun had to examine all of its code to see what it could release as open source.

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