There’s a lot of confusion about what Sun actually intends to do when they use the term “open source java”. We shouldn’t confuse the Java SE standard with the Java SE reference implementation.Check out Sun’s (new) Open Source Java page. If you look at the “OpenJDK” paragraph in the communities section, you’ll find that Sun is referring to open sourcing Sun’s implementation of Java SE. It doesn’t mention anything about governance of the Java standard, which is much more important to open source Java if you ask me. Now if you look at the “OpenJavaEE” paragraph, you’ll notice that they somehow tie GlassFish (Sun’s JEE implementation) to the governance of JEE:

“The community governs the development of specifications, technologies, and products that work together to provide enterprise-level solutions under the Java EE paradigm.”

Now call me crazy, but (1) doesn’t the JCP govern JEE and (2) wouldn’t a true open community like the Apache Geronimo community be a better place for the implementation and governance of JEE? Why is open source JEE so closely tied to Sun controlled efforts? I thought this was a community story.

Based on what Sun appears to be trying to pull with JEE, I have fairly large reservations about what open source Java SE (implementation and governance) will really look like in the end.

[UPDATED 2006-11-13: This post is getting a lot of hits, so I wanted to point readers to more recent posts on this topic]:

  1. Sun Gets Press and Maintains Control
  2. Matt Asay believes Sun gets it – But what is it?