Sun opens Java as open source under the GPL license

Now, Sun has released both the Java Platform Standard Edition (Java SE) and the Java Platform Micro Edition (Java ME) as open source under the terms of the GNU General Public License in version 2 (GPLv2).

The GPL, which was created in 1989 and which is so popular among the free and open source software (FOSS) community, received a subsequent revision in 1991, being published as GPLv2, and is used among other products in the Linux operating system, at the base MySQL AB data file and Samba print and file server project.

Sun decided to release Java last May, and since then company executives have been weighing with their partners and developers the type of license that might best meet their needs.

According to Laurie Tolson, Sun vice president for Java development products and programs, “GPL is the right choice.” According to Laurie, the move should not be interpreted as a failure of the CDDL licensing model, but rather that it would have taken more time to convince developers to adopt a new type of open-source license than necessary.

Compatibility has been a key aspect in Sun’s decision to choose the GPL for Java. In particular, the manufacturer hopes that GNU / Linux distributions such as Debian and Unbutu will be able to include Java as part of their operating systems in order to bring the development environment closer to new markets.

Currently, the plan is to offer the open-source versions of Java SE and Java ME under the GPLv2 license; But Sun is open to the possibility of adding other types of open-source licenses in the event that Java does not achieve rapid penetration under the GPL model. Additionally, Sun will continue to offer commercial versions of its Java technologies for those users who require support.

Sun has also committed to providing a type of dual license for Project GlassFish, its open-source application server initiative based on Java EE (Java Platform Enterprise Edition). In development since June 2005, GlassFish has been available under the CDDL license type. By the first quarter of next year, GlassFish will also be available under the GPLv2 license to make it easier for developers to distribute its versions of Java SE, Java EE and Java ME.