After a lot speculation and demands from the public, today Sun Microsystems will announce the release of ALL of the key Java implementations - Java Standard Edition (J2SE: traditionally run on desktops), Java Micro Edition (J2ME: traditionally run on phones and embedded devices) and Java Enterprise Edition (J2EE: traditionally run in business infrastructure) - using the Free Software Foundation's GNU General Public License (GPLv2), the license at the centre of the GNU/Linux community.
Short of it's release over tem years ago, this has got to be one of the biggest moves for Java and should rapidly increase it's popularity, especially with those that have always have viewed Sun as an outsider (due to the closed nature of Java).
With this move, Sun is no longer an outsider, they are the world's largest contributor to both the free software and GPL communities. Sun is now the free software movement's most significant benefactor.
Now some people may be wondering
What the hell is Sun doing? It's giving away all it's software. How's it going to make any money now? Yes, Sun is giving away it's software, however there's very good sense behind it - the more developers, devices and new services on the internet - the more demand there is for the network innovation Sun sells to the marketplace.
Open sourcing Java is a bold move that's good for Sun's business, Sun's customers and the community , because:
Mark Sun's words in a Wall Street Journal article last week:
5 years from now, this [move to free Java] will be seen as the single most important technical shift ever to have occurred on the internet.
So go on, download the Java Developers Kit and get developing. Oh and before you start going on about how ugly it is and that it doesn't fit in with common desktops, check out the release candidate for Java SE 6. It's pretty awesome.