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Ubuntu Users Get Java Surprise

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Ubuntu has long been associated with many shades of brown, the colors of humanity which the distribution and its community embraces. But in today’s release of Ubuntu 7.04, a new color will be added to the palette: the color purple.

That’s the color often associated with Sun Microsystems, which has partnered with Ubuntu’s vendor Canonical to release a complete, free-of-charge Java stack for Ubuntu users. The stack is made up from Sun’s J2EE offering GlassFish, Java SE (JDK 6), Derby-based Java DB 10.2, and the NetBeans IDE 5.5.

While Java components have been around for quite some time, this will be the first time users will be able to be able to easily download and install this stack. They’re all just an apt-get command away.

Specifically, the stack’s packages will be made available in Ubuntu’s Multiverse repository in today’s release.

This is not an unexpected release, since industry watchers has long known about the plan, beginning when Sun and Canonical announced their partnership in 2006.

“What we’re announcing is a continuation of the Sun-Canonical partnership which began last Summer, when Java was open sourced, and slightly before that when the JDK was released under the DLJ–the distribution license for Java–which allowed it to be placed into Linux distributions,” explained Ian Murdock, Chief Open Source Platforms Officer at Sun.

Indeed, as recently as November of 2006, it was publicly known that Java would be released with Ubuntu as some point. The only question was when. The partnership seems to gone well enough that the Java stack was ready to be included in the very next six-month Ubuntu development cycle, culminating in the today’s 7.04 “Feisty Fawn” release.

The potential for this release is significant, since adding a J2EE application server to a distro is enough to raise some questions about a possible face-off with the Red Hat/JBoss combination. But both Sun and Canonical are emphasizing the developers more, and the enterprise application deployers less.

“The current model for Linux installs is to just rummage around and find the components for the Java stack,” said Jeet Kaul, Sun’s VP of Developer Products and Programs. “What you are going to get now is a fully integrated, optimized for Ubuntu, Java stack in a single location.”

While Kaul emphasized the developers’ benefits, he also recognized the other components of the stack had some positive uses. “This stack, which includes GlassFish is enterprise-ready and high performance. While our focus is on developers, they can start with working to build applications and be ready to deploy them.”

“I can’t think of another environment where it will be as easy, simply, to pull down all the tools that you would need to develop,” added Chris Kenyon, Business Development Director with Canonical. “Another huge benefit is that as new stuff gets done in the GlassFish community and NetBeans, it’s instantly available.”

With the availability of the tools in this stack, it’s a natural assumption to wonder if this is the beginning of Ubuntu being positioned up against other enterprise servers that have their own application stacks, such as Red Hat and JBoss. When the question was brought up, this possibility was recognized as a possible user choice, but being in the middleware space wasn’t something Canonical or Sun embraced.

“I certainly think that having this set of products available on Ubuntu is great for people who want a choice when they’re making those decisions,” Kenyon replied. “But when you look at where Ubuntu is likely to be on the server in the next 12-24 months, we see the fastest-growing area of deployments of Linux servers still to be around edge-of the network stuff–file servers, print servers, Web servers–and that’s where Ubuntu as a server product is still very good.”

This article was first published on LinuxPlanet. To read the full article, click here.

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