Sun Changes Java Licensing Rules

Sun Microsystems Inc.
Tuesday made several revisions to its licensing model for the Java
programming language that it says will speed its adoption.

Alan Baratz, president of Java software at Sun, said the new model is
designed to give developers easier access to source code, speed innovation
and bring more commercial Java products to market.

“Our goal has always been to foster industry participation in the usage and
development of the Java technology, while preserving a unified platform.
The new model achieves that balance while opening participation to anyone
and enabling collaboration among the participants. This guarantees far more
rapid innovations than ever before possible,” Baratz said.

Java source code will still be made freely available for research and
education efforts and the Java Runtime Environment will remain free to
software programmers and developers who incorporate it into their products.

The new model also:

  • Allows businesses to use and modify the source code for commercial
    software development.
  • Allows others to make enhancements to the source code without turning
    those enhancements over to Sun.
  • Enables businesses to modify and freely share compatible source code
    with other businesses.
  • Gives licensees the right to package Java platform class libraries with
    virtual machines from other licensees.

“We are sharing our source code with companies and individuals committed to
compatible implementations of the Java platform. This new model is an
investment in the future of our customers. Under this new model, we don’t
make money unless you make money,” Baratz said.

Sun is also modifying its development process to allow more third-parties,
including non-licensees, to participate. Non-licensees will be allowed to
participate in the expert group and licensee review process. Third parties
will be allows to lead development initiatives as long as those adhere to
Sun’s published application programming interface.

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