Sun juggles love of code with need for cash

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Mickos hinted at the battering received in response to Sun's potential plan. "Every time we make a gyration or change to the business model we get a storm of feedback from our passionate users," he said. "The challenge is to absorb that."

Murdock, meanwhile, tried to square Sun's desire to make money with its support for open source.

In his CommunityOne keynote, Murdock said Sun's goal is to create a Debian-like ecosystem around projects such as OpenSolaris that unifies disparate packages and proves a "win-win" for developers.

The money comes from services and support: "We understand the most important thing we can be doing is getting our technologies into the hands of as many developers as possible - removing all barriers to adoption and all barrier to entry... you don't have to pay Sun anything. When you are scaling, when you need help when you need to establish a relationship with the vendor to grow and scale, that's when we make our money."

He also challenged developers to think in terms of open-source versus closed-source software rather than Linux versus Solaris, or NetBeans versus Eclipse: "Yes we are all passionate but lets make sure we channel our passion in the right direction," Murdock said.

Another source of tension remains the JCP, which is still underserving individual members of the community. It's a year since Apache last voiced its displeasure with Sun and the JCP over an "unacceptable" license of the Java SE 5 technology compatibly kit.

Challenged by one developer during a CommunityOne session Monday on OpenJDK Ray Gans, Sun OpenJDK program manager, said it recognized the JCP cannot continue in its present form - just don't expect change soon.

"Does Sun have any thoughts on integration of the community more into the community process," came the question from the floor. "Right now people like myself just want to jump into the code and don't have much say on the specs. Where does Sun want to take the JCP ultimately?".

The answer: Sun wants to make the JCP more open but there are no solid plans., said: "The executive committee is interested in this. The discussion on IP rights still needs to be worked out. Everyone understands this need to change."

Gans encouraged open source developers to work with Sun's engineers on OpenJDK 7 in the meantime.

Dalibor Topic, Sun's recently appointed Java free open software ambassador, urged developers to use the tools they already have at their disposal to change Java specs: join up and vote. "We are not kicking the JCP around, it's got to be a grass-roots thing," he said.®


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