Java May Benefit from IBM-Sun: Page 2

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Sun's View

Sun however disagrees with the assessments made by others that the JCP is not open.

"Sun remains fully committed to an open, transparent, and democratic JCP, and we support the efforts that are being made to reform the organization in this direction," Jeet Kaul, senior vice president of Java engineering at Sun said in a statement sent to "Java's success and ubiquity are a direct result of the collaborative development processes that the JCP embodies and of the hard work and resources that its members have contributed over the years."

Kaul noted that there are 6.5 million Java developers around the world and more than 7 billion devices powered by Java technology. As such, he notes that maintaining compatibility is critical to the continued success of the Java platform.

"The organization is open to all, and now has more than a thousand members, including corporations, individuals, Java User Groups, open source communities, and other non-profit organizations, Kaul stated. "We encourage everyone who is interested in the future of Java to join and to participate in the process."

IBM Sun has its own issues

With a potential acquisition of Sun by IBM in the works, the Java development process could be profoundly impacted. SpringSource's Johnson commented that a possible acquisition of Sun by IBM could potentially help to resolve some long standing issues. Among them is a dispute with the Apache Foundation around intellectual property.

"However, while Sun’s stewardship of the JCP certainly doesn’t keep everyone happy, I think there would be more questions over IBM’s legitimacy as the organization making the rules for Java," Johnson said. "With groups like OASIS, the Eclipse Foundation and the OSGi Alliance becoming more important to enterprise Java, the thought of IBM controlling the JCP might encourage a number of companies to ensure they don't have all their eggs in the JCP basket, accelerating the decline in the relative importance of the JCP to the Java ecosystem."

Overall though, Johnson thinks an IBM acquisition of Sun would be a net positive for Java. In his view, the uncertainty about Sun’s ability to survive in its present form is a mild drag on Java.

Mulesource's Mason argued that IBM has shown itself to be a thought leader in Java. Furthermore, he argued that IBM has the agility or the brand required to get Java adoption moving in a positive direction again.

Red Hat's Sharples declined to comment on the potential of an IBM Sun acquisition because his company has a standard policy not to comment on rumors.

"That said - there's a very real chance that Java could come under the control of another company," Sharples said.

"Should that happen, we can only hope that Java's new guardian sees the value in continuing to grow the Java ecosystem and that they view open source and collaboration as the best way to encourage collaboration and fuel growth."

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Tags: Java, open source, IBM, iPhone, Sun Microsystems

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