The Serverside is reporting that Sun is effectively making Java two tiered – an Open Java – and then the latest JDK with all the bells and whistles. See the article here for the almost Machiavellian machinations. These actions by Sun may be motivated by three considerations:
1)The Open Source community (and the whole non-Sun Java Community for that matter) did little for Sun in its hour of need ten years ago when Microsoft effectively killed Java on the browser/client side by distributing an obsolete version of the JVM with their newly market-dominating IE browser, effectively cutting off the latest features oxygen to potential client-side Java users;
2)Making Java Open Source has garnered virtually nothing for Sun. If you go to major Linux distributions the full Sun Open Source software is rarely available and the many Web hosting services that offer a supposedly full Open Source stack using these distributions are seriously Java short;
3)Sun has been told by Wall Street (and why should they be ordering anybody around is testament to the Street’s hutzpah) – you have to make more money from your huge investments in Java. And clearly Sun can see that the most successful Open Source companies do it on a two tier basis. The base system is given away for free and is open source; but there is an extended or full system for which users have to pay for in order to get the a)the operating application or system and b)maybe even a touch more $s to get the source code for. This is the one-version-delayed Open Source model that is picking up steam in corporate Open Source offerings.
The need is to provide additional revenue streams beyond the training, support/management and distribution sources. One must have huge usage to be able to rely on these “pure” Open Source revenue sources. So Sun may very well be willing to see Open Source Java set back a peg or version or two. I suspect if IBM completes the buyout of Sun, this move to bring Java (and other key Sun software assets) out of the harsh revenue conditions of full Open Source. In fact, the general pace of De-Open Sourcing will just quicken.