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Sun finishing up the complete open-sourcing of the Java Platform


It seems that Sun Microsystems is now moving swiftly toward open-sourcing all of the Java platform. At present, all but some 4% of the platform has been opened up and released without constraints. The remaining pieces, which include some sound, graphics and SNMP functionality, will soon be opened up as well.

The reasoning behind this push for completely open-sourcing the Java platform is that it will now be able to be packaged and shipped with Linux distributions, which often only package truly and fully open-source software. This will help push Java usage and development to more places than ever before, and will really hit home with the type of crowd you want using your development platform - open-source developers.

Sun is working closely with Linux distributors like OpenSuse, Ubuntu and Fedora to make all of this a possibility. "We're hoping to see some movement [with the] Linux distributions in the very near future, hopefully by JavaOne," said Rich Sands, group manager for developer marketing at Sun, in an interview on Tuesday. As a side note, JavaOne will take place in San Francisco in two weeks.

Although I am not a developer in the strict sense, I do regularly script things in Python and write small apps here and there. Python is a very powerful language, and I love it to death, but bringing Java to the masses through a truly open implementation of the platform is a huge step toward forming a development core around a truly multi-platform development platform (no pun intended.)

There was once a time when resources in a computer were limited and efficiency in coding was of paramount importance. Today, however, resources are plentiful and hardware is cheap. It makes more sense now to work with a slightly less efficient development platform that can run on any operating system and throw more hardware where needed to increase speed.
This step by Sun can possibly lead to a scenario where most new applications are written once in Java and able to run on just about any hardware. This drastically reduces development time (and cost) for multi-platform applications while at the same time increasing the possible user base of an application. It's truly a win-win situation for Sun and application developers everywhere.

Perhaps in another post I will delve into how the implementation of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) as a virtual appliance that runs in virtualization software like VMware or VirtualBox can result in the eventual removal of an operating system all together? What do you think?

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