Sun Goes Large for Open Source

By Susan Kuchinskas (Send Email)
Posted Jun 28, 2005


On Monday, Sun Microsystems flung open the doors to its code with an extension of its open sourcing initiatives.

Code releases for application and enterprise server are only the beginning, execs promise.

The announcement, made at JavaOne, Sun's annual developer conference, included the open-sourcing of its application server and enterprise Java technologies, along with the introduction of a new spec for business integration. Executives promised more code will follow.

Sun  announced the release of code for Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 and the Java System Enterprise Server Bus (ESB). John Loicano, Sun executive vice president for software, said the two projects would let developers help create the next generation of app servers.

Sun will make the latest builds available every night. The company will include the Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0 with an upcoming release of the Solaris 10 operating system.

The Java ESB, based on the Java Business Integration specification 1.0, is an open specification for using Java in service oriented architectures (SOA). It includes an extensible platform architecture and a service assembly that defines an SOA application.

"We're realistic. You can choose .NET Web services or Java Web services. We'll do anything we can do to grow and expand the possible market for our products and services. If we don't go open source, they might go to Microsoft. We have a hard time making money when someone buys a Microsoft desktop." — Sun CEO Scott McNealy

The community project, Open ESB, will be hosted on Java.net. Sun announced a host of enterprise infrastructure providers that have signed on to deliver SOA platforms and tools based on JBI, including Cap Gemini, Pervasive Software, and Tibco Software. Sun plans to deliver its first JBI offering with Sun Java Enterprise System 5.0 in Spring 2006.

"We'd like to do for integration what J2EE did for application development," Loicano said.

Sun released the code for the app server and ESB under the CDDL license, which is the same one used for Sun's OpenSolaris project. The CDDL license allows for the addition of new code while preserving compatibility, Loicano said.

"The CDDL license is the most flexible and most appropriate for allowing the developer community to intermingle code," Loicano said. "It allows for patent protection and full indemnification, while preserving maintenance techniques to ensure compatibility moving forward."

Open source seems to be a new weapon in Sun's fight to stay alive -- and Sun executives clearly defined Microsoft as the enemy.

"We're realistic," Sun CEO Scott McNealy said. "You can choose .NET Web services or Java Web services. We'll do anything we can do to grow and expand the possible market for our products and services. If we don't go open source, they might go to Microsoft. We have a hard time making money when someone buys a Microsoft desktop."

Sun president and COO Jonathan Schwartz added, "Open source and free software isn't about no revenue. It's about no barriers to revenue. We're making the broadest market opportunity possible."

He said Sun expects to make money from support of its open source software, while open sourcing will increase Java adoption. "The issue isn't whether or not they use Java," he said, "but whether the barriers to use the whole platform will be higher than they should be. There will eventually be open source implementations of every piece of software on the planet."

Sun released its Solaris code in June.

"You will see us moving up the software stack, making more and more parts of it open source, Loicano said. "The intent is to open source all of it." He said there was no timetable for further code releases.

Sun offered plenty of tools for the developers. The Sun Java Web Services Developer Pack 1.6 is a Web services toolkit that acts as a preview of Sun's forthcoming SOA products.

The company updated its Sun Java Studio Creator and Sun Java Studio Enterprise development tools, integrating Creator with the NetBeans IDE and adding support for Enterprise JavaBeans components. Java Studio Enterprise 8 will include service creation, orchestration and data-mapping capabilities; Sun hopes to provide an early access program for the toolset this summer.

Loicano said the company wants to be more open in its environments, so it created JDK.Net, providing source-code access to Java SE.

"It's not just about the source code, but about us creating a community giving code back, making improvements and enhancing the capabilities," Loicano said.

The next edition of Java Enterprise Edition, Java EE 5, will include simplified common coding scenarios, new utility classes and helpers, and new APIs and services. It will include Web services metadata, a persistence API and JavaServer Faces for easier creation of Web applications.

Loicano cheered the troops with stats showing the growth of Java: 2.5 billion Java devices worldwide; 708 million Java-enabled phones; and 4.5 million Java developers. "Java is growing at an accelerated rate," Loicano said.

In his keynote presentation, Schwartz announced that the company had extended its Java technology agreement with IBM  for an additional 11 years. IBM will continue to use Java technologies in its middleware and Web services products, including WebSphere, IBM's application server. IBM will port its middleware to Solaris 10 on the Intel and AMD x86 architectures.

Graham Hamilton, Sun fellow and vice president, gave conference attendees a look at the technology roadmap for Java Standard Edition (SE). Version 6.0 is expected to ship in summer 2006. It will include direct support for XML and support for dynamic languages. Hamilton promised streamlined development and easier administration.

Yasushi Nishimura, director of Panasonic R&D of America, announced that Panasonic will adopt Java as the interactivity standard for its Blu-Ray disc player devices. He showed a prototype player in which the audio/video playback and menu were controlled by Java.

"We believe the next big market for Java will be the digital AV world," Schwartz said.

Finally, Sun announced its fastest 64-bit workstation with a "cell-phone pricing model." The Sun Ultra 20 Workstation with AMD Opteron processor running the Solaris 10 operating system ships with Sun Java Studio Enterprise 7 and Sun Java Studio Creator 2004Q2.

"It's one of the fastest workstations on the planet," Loicano said. "The performance screams."

Sun is promoting the workstation with a Services Subscription program: Sign up for three years at $29.95 a month and get the workstation free. The Ultra 20 is $985 without support.

This article was originally published on internetnews.com.

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