Who Cares About Sun Open-Sourcing Java?

17 05 2007

James Gosling: “There are real wars. And it’s really hard to be friendly to the open-source community because if you’re friendly to this camp then you’re viewed as an enemy by that camp. And one of the things we got stuck on was that we really like the Apache folks, but we also rather liked the GPL guys. And the Apache folks were very angry at us for picking GPL. But we had to pick something. If we’d picked the Apache license, the GPL crowd would be upset with us.”

I’m with Geir on this one: Sun could be friendly to everyone. It’s not like “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Moreover, painting the relationship between the ASF and FSF as a kind of war is a bit over the top, isn’t it?

Gosling confirms again that he’s not particularly smart when talking about Open Source, as already mentioned here and here. However I’m happy to learn that he changed his stance from this:

We’ve got several thousand man-years of engineering in [Java], and we hear very strongly that if this thing turned into an open source project—where just any old person could check in stuff—they’d all freak. They’d all go screaming into the hills.

to this:

But it feels like we’ve gotten to a point where the developer community is strong enough and feels strongly enough about consistency and interoperability and quality that market pressures will keep things on track. And those that try to misbehave will have issues with the market.

even though it took almost exactly two years.

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