One giant leap, two small steps
2006/11/12 21:01:04 -08:00

It’s been a long time coming.

Sun is open-sourcing its entire Java stack—ME, SE, and EE—under the GNU General Public License, version 2.

The license choice—which has taken many by surprise (gotcha!)—is a giant leap. For more on the big picture, including a link to tomorrow’s webcast announcement, please see

For the JDK we’ve taken two small steps with this announcement:

  • We’ve released two key components of the JDK into open source: The Java programming-language compiler (javac) and the HotSpot virtual machine. The rest of the JDK, modulo encumbrances, will follow in the first half of 2007.

  • We’ve created the OpenJDK project on to host the code for these components and the foundation for the community around them. This project is part of the new OpenJDK Community.

These may be two small steps in the big picture, but they sure seem giant to us. We know we’re not going to get everything right the first time, so please do let us know what we’re doing wrong and how we could do better.

Thanks Taking just these two small steps has been a tremendous amount of work over the last six months. I’d like to thank those members of the open-source Java community who so generously offered their advice and wisdom to us during that time—it was a huge help. I’d also like to thank my partners in crime at Sun, Ray Gans and Rich Sands, as well as the whole OpenJDK team, for working so hard under such intense pressure to get all of this stuff done in time.

What comes next? Now that we have these two steps behind us my own primary focus over the next six months or so will be in two main areas:

  • Governance For now we’re using an interim governance model in which Sun engineers act as proxies for non-Sun contributors, but in the long term we want to have non-Sun committers. What’s the best open governance model for a project whose primary goals are to continue to evolve the platform while also shipping high-quality, fully compatible releases in a timely fashion?

  • Infrastructure Our tools and processes are specific to Sun and must be adapted for open development. We’ve chosen to go with Mercurial for source-code management, but we still need to figure out how to open up the bug/RFE database, our process tools, and our development process itself.

So it continues. Watch this space, among others, for updates, opinions, and questions, and don’t be shy about letting us know what you think.

Warning: Many of the links in this entry will not be live until 6:00am PST tomorrow, Monday 13 November.