In the wake of Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems, analysts and industry commentators have been predicting the emergence of a more commercially aware version of the Java programming language and platform.
The first signs of this may have surfaced at the company's JavaOne developer conference this week, with the announcement of a new Java Store to showcase applications in front the 800 million desktop Java technology users worldwide.
This consumer-facing storefront has been developed in response to what Sun says is the increasing number of Java developers who have embraced its technology, but have been frustrated at the lack of a clear route to monetisation of their software.
Built to house Java SE (standard edition) and JavaFX rich internet applications, the company hopes that both corporate Java shops and small software start-ups alike will be able to reach a widening customer audience through this new channel.
The Java Store will begin life as a private beta programme before its full international roll-out. Developers can submit applications to the store's 'Java Warehouse' and, if selected by Sun, their software can progress upward for distribution in the Java Store, where it can be delivered to end-users via the Java Runtime Environment (JRE).
Sun says the Java Store will contain personal productivity, business and entertainment software presented in a straightforward user interface that allows users to install applications by dragging them directly onto their computer desktop. Consumers can sign up for a chance to participate in the Java Store private beta programme and developers can submit applications for the Java Warehouse.
This news announcement followed a keynote speech 'handover' by Sun chairman Scott McNealy to the man he described as "the next leader of the Java community, Mr Larry Ellison". Ellison joined McNealy on stage at JavaOne to comment on his hopes and aspirations for the future of Java.
"Oracle has invested more in Java (in terms of dollars) than anybody else. I am determined to expand the Java community and to encourage the Open Office group to build rapidly now. If you want to know more about the future for Java, then just look at its past. I expect very few changes apart from an expanded level of enthusiasm for Java from Oracle," said Eillison.
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