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Sun To Open-Source Java

Sun Microsystems on Tuesday said it plans to open-source Java once it works out the logistics.

"At this point, it's not a question of whether. It's a question of how," said Rich Green, Sun's recently returned software chief, in an opening keynote address at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco.

The announcement drew cheers from the audience, although Sun gave few details about how or when it will transition Java to open source. Much of the platform's source code is already publicly available, and significant chunks of Java have been released under Sun's Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) open-source license. Advocates of open-source Java seek greater community control over the platform's licensing and development path.

Decisions about Java's fate won't happen within a matter of days, but the process of working out the open-sourcing details won't be endless, Green said in a press briefing after the keynote. Despite emphasizing that all options are under consideration, Green suggested that Sun isn't likely to hand over its key Java intellectual property to an independent organization.

"Intellectual property is Sun's lifeblood, and generating new IP is what we're all about," Green said. "I'm not sure that would be the best model for ensuring that, but it's certainly something we'll consider."

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