Open source Java is on the horizon following support for changes to a Sun Microsystems-backed industry body overseeing development of the platform and programming language,writes Gavin Clarke
Java Community Process (JCP) members have voted to alter the community's structure, officially supporting open source implementations of Java. Called JCP 2.5, changes were approved on October 29.
The first instance of Java expected to be open sourced under these changes is the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) 1.4 platform, which Santa Clara, California-based Sun said is due in the first quarter of 2003.
The Apache Software Foundation is working on ports of Java Server Pages (JSP) and servlets, JCP program office director Onno Kluyt said. Apache could not be contacted at the time of going to press.
Apache has been a critic of restrictions at the JCP that made it difficult for open-source groups to participate. Under an agreement announced with Sun at JavaOne in March this year, open-source implementations of Java standards were permitted.
Apache, along with components such as Jakarta for running Java on servers, is a major feature in the landscape of server software, and Sun had wanted Apache's cooperation.
Kluyt told ComputerWire that as of October 29, organizations and individuals who lead Java Specification Requests (JSRs) must allow development of compatible independent implementations, enabling someone to use the Apache-like license and yet still remain compatible.
While this was possible under the old JCP, this process was not guaranteed and JCP members depended on the goodwill of a specification in making open source implementations possible.
"A specification lead could license the reference implementation and test kit together, so if you wanted a clean-room implementation you had to get the source code from the specification lead which tainted the code," Kluyt said.