There was a small press event up in San Francisco this evening where Rich Green, Laurie Tolson (my boss), and Alan Brenner talked about open-sourcing the JDK and also (surprise!) Sun’s implementations of the Java ME CLDC and CDC platforms.
Some of press coverage is already available, but here’s a capsule summary:
- Yes, we really are going to open-source the JDK.
- We’ll release a couple of significant components by the end of 2006. (Calendar year, not fiscal year.) We don’t know exactly which ones yet, but the javac bytecode compiler and the HotSpot VM—among other things—are on the table.
- The rest of a buildable JDK will be released in early 2007. Not all of the code will be available under an open-source license. Some nontrivial bits of encumbered code—that is, code to which Sun does not have the rights to ship as open source—will have to be shipped in a separate package for now. Over time we hope to replace all the encumbered code with open-source code—and yes, we could certainly use some help with that!
- We don’t know which license we’re going to use yet. We do know that it will be an OSI-approved license. We also know that any particular license choice is going to disappoint some people, but we don’t see any way around that.
We’re not doing this in isolation—in order to succeed we want to learn from successful open-source projects how best to go about this. To that end we’ve already started conversations with a number of well-known folks in the open-source world (up at OSCON a couple of weeks ago, for example), and you’ll see more transparency as time goes on. Just today, in fact, we launched a new Open-Source JDK portal where you can learn more about our progress and also participate in an open forum.
So it begins. Watch this space, among others, for updates, opinions, and questions, and don’t be shy about letting us know what you think.