Sun was quick to deny published reports Wednesday that it plans to open source Java in the next few months. The company is working on the project, but any transition to open source is closer to a year away.
Simon Phipps, chief open-source officer for Sun (Quote, Chart), made a comment he said was misconstrued at the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) in London earlier this week concerning Sun’s efforts to release Java as an entirely open source project.
Sun made the commitment to open sourcing Java at the JavaOne conference earlier this year, but gave no timetable for a release. When asked after his presentation at OSBC by a member of the audience about the progress of preparing the software for release, Phipps said it would be “months rather than years.”
Faster than you could say “bytecode,” other news sites said Java would be open sourced in a matter of a few months. Phipps expressed his exasperation in a blog entry.
As much as the publications jumped to conclusions, Phipps could have been a little more specific as well, like he was in his blog, where he said “it’s double-digit months and not September!”
To be sure, he told internetnews.com, open source Java is coming. It won’t take as long as OpenSolaris, which took five years to pass legal muster. “It will only take months, and we will make it happen as soon as we can. Our intent was to indicate we are very serious to get the Java platform as open as soon as we can make it but acting with due responsibility,” he said.
That responsibility means parsing the four million lines of code that constitute the Java platform and make sure any patent holders are satisfied before releasing the code. Satisfying IP rights is a major holdup for Sun, he said.