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Sun Set To Move On GPL License For Open-Source Java

Sun Microsystems has talked a lot about putting Java into an open-source license. Now it's ready to move.

The company is very close to announcing that it will put the mobile (ME) and standard (SE) editions of the Java platform into the GNU General Public License (GPL), with the Java Enterprise Edition and GlassFish reference implementation (currently open-sourced under Sun's Common Development and Distribution License, or CDDL) to follow, several industry sources said.

The OpenSolaris operating system will continue to be offered under the CDDL, according to several sources. The news could come as early as next week, they said.

The GPL is an intriguing and controversial choice. By requiring derivative works to also be released as open source, the GPL discourages commercial forking -- a consequence that fits well with Sun's stated goal of preserving Java's cross-platform compatibility. However, a GPL license would require those making changes to the core Java platform to freely release their code.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun declined to comment on its open-source Java plans and licensing choice.

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