Sun Microsystems took a step toward making Java open source by opening its Java 3D version along with its 3D desktop, Project Looking Glass, at its annual JavaOne conference last week. The company also reconfirmed its commitment to open sourcing Solaris for X86.
CEO of Make Technologies, an application developer of standards based architecture solutions, Michael Hagerman, said he suspected this could be Sun’s way of getting its feet wet before taking the full plunge into open source with Java.
He said his company had lobbied Sun for about six months to make Java open source, but suggested Java 3D would make less impact going open source than its J2EE, J2SE and J2ME siblings.
Make is not alone in urging Sun to open source Java. IBM has also been pushing Sun in the same direction.
These first open source moves have won praise from Hagerman in addition to other Sun customers.
“I’m really happy about Looking Glass being open sourced because we were looking at using it in one of our upcoming projects,” COO and founder of Catalyst Realtime, Joseph King, said.
Catalyst was spending time and energy trying to emulate Looking Glass but could simply use it now that it had gone open source, he said. King was unsure whether open sourcing Solaris on X86 was a good way for Sun to compete with Linux. He suggested Sun should embrace Linux rather than turning to open source Solaris.
But there was more than open source on Sun’s mind at JavaOne. The company launched the second beta of its J2SE 5.0 — formerly known as Project Tiger — which features better ease of use, new application monitoring and management, plus more support for PC rich-clients.
Additionally, Sun made available its Java Studio Creator, which is specially designed for enterprise developers new to Java. The visual development tool was built on Sun’s NetBeans Integrated Developer Environment (IDE), executive vice-president of Sun software, John Loiacono said. The tool runs on Solaris, Windows, Linux and Mac operating systems. Users can receive Java Studio Creator free with a purchase of a $US99 Sun Developer Network subscription.
Features of the tool include data-aware user interfaces that automatically connect to data sources dragged on to them. The interfaces provide quick, visual access to SQL queries and enable the creation of J2EE 1.3-compatible Web applications that run on any Web server supporting JavaServer Pages 1.2 software.
Make’s Hagerman said Java Studio Creator would help developers reduce the amount of time it took to produce Java code.
“Java is everywhere,” Sun president and COO, Jonathan Schwartz, said.
Sun also said it was moving from a pay-up-front business model to a subscription-based pricing model. In this new subscription world, users would pay for Sun’s software and services and receive the hardware for free.
Sun CEO, Scott McNealy, unveiled a gimmick to get users excited about this pricing model. Sun put up 12 AMD Opteron servers running Solaris 9 on eBay, the online auction site, with a starting bid of one cent.
The auction, which ends July 2, includes a three-year subscription to Java Studio Enterprise plus three years of SunSpectrum Silver support.
Users can view the auction at www.ebay.com/sun. McNealy said the package was worth about $US9000.
Attendance at this year’s JavaOne conference was the largest turnout ever, according to McNealy.
He said that there were up to 4.5 million Java developers in the world, a figure that was growing at about 30 per cent per year, kyboshing the possibility that Sun’s light is fading.
“We aren’t going anywhere, we’re rock solid,” McNealy said.