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Sun considers opening Java code

Cliff Saran
Sun is considering the merits of relinquishing control of its Java programming language following a week in which both IBM and the open source community put the supplier under pressure to do so.

Sun developed Java in the early 1990s as a cross-platform programming language. But although it is one of the preferred languages on all platforms except Microsoft, Sun has been criticised for having too much control of the language.

Sun is likely to meet with IBM in the next week to discuss a proposal put forward by IBM to develop an open source version of Java.

According to IBM, an open source Java would allow Linux distributions to include the Java tools environment with the Linux operating system kernel.

Bola Rotiba, senior analyst at Ovum, said, "Including Java with Linux distributions is a good idea, as it will provide a development tools environment for Linux."

Last month, in an open letter to Sun chief executive Scott McNealy, Eric Raymond, president of the Open Source Initiative, said, "Sun's insistence on continuing tight control of the Java code has damaged Sun's long-term interests by throttling acceptance of the language in the open source community."

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