Sun outlines open source, tools plans, IBM truce

Sun Microsystems President/COO, Jonathan Schwartz, led off the JavaOne conference this week by heralding open source technologies and planned improvements to the company's development tools.

He, other Sun officials and guests laid out the latest developments in Java, including the revelation that IBM is extending its licensing of Java technologies.

The open source release of the Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0, which serves as Sun's productizing of the Java Enterprise Edition 5 specification, was formally announced. The application server is available as part of Project GlassFish.

The open source Java System Enterprise Service Bus also was introduced. It is based on the Java Business Integration (JBI) 1.0 specification. The ESB and JBI play a key role in Sun's strategy for enabling development of SOAs.

An analyst, though, was skeptical.

BI provides onramps and off-ramps to an ESB but is not an ESB technology itself, according to senior analyst at Yankee Group, Dana Gardner.

"It's a little bit of semantic gymnastics to be calling what they're doing an ESB. Only a few months ago they didn't think ESBs were important," he said.

In the tools arena, Sun announced an early access release of the Java Studio Creator 2 tool, featuring support for Asynchronous JavaScript plus XML (AJAX) component programming. Enhancements also focus on ease of use, WYSIWYG design and portlets. To be based on the NetBeans 4.1 tools platform, Studio Creator 2 is due in hard copy shortly, according to Sun officials.

A future release of Java Studio Enterprise, meanwhile, will feature service creation, orchestration and data mapping. An early access program for Java Studio Enterprise 8, with code-aware developer collaboration, begins this summer.

In detailing IBM's renewal of its Java agreement, Schwartz acknowledged that there has been "a little bit of a chill" in the relationship between the two vendors. But IBM and Sun announced an 11-year extension to their Java technology agreement. IBM will continue to license Java technologies from Sun including the Enterprise, Standard and Micro editions of Java as well as Java Card technologies. IBM also will continue participating in the Java Community Process. In addition, IBM will port its DB2, Tivoli and WebSphere middleware to Sun's Solaris 10 OS.

General manager of the WebSphere product line at IBM, Robert LeBlanc, said the agreement showed that IBM and Sun were in Java for the long haul. The existence of eight conference sessions focused on Microsoft technology was noted.

"Who would have anticipated that we would be welcoming Microsoft to JavaOne," asked chief researcher and director of the science office at Sun, John Gage. "So this is a community that's changing."

Sun officials also said the DTrace system diagnosis tool in Solaris would be moved over to Java as well.

The company announced the Sun Ultra 20 workstation, which is a dual-core, AMD Opteron-based system available for $US29.95 per month for a three-year subscription. It will be bundled with Sun tools such as the Studio Creator and Studio Enterprise tools along with C++ and Fortran offerings. The system is available for a 90-day tryout as well.

At a subsequent press conference, Sun Chairman/CEO, Scott McNealy, acknowledged Sun had made some mistakes with its now-10-year-old Java technology. "Sure we made mistakes along the way, I wish we could have monetised all the Java revenue," McNealy said. "But if we hadn't opened the Java world up ... the market opportunities would be nowhere near what they are today. I don't have any huge regrets.

"I don't know any development community ever that has had the volume, adoption and success as an industry that [Java] has." Schwartz also declared the present day to be the onset of the Participation Age.

"The idea behind the Participation Age is that individuals are now participating in the network rather than just observing," Schwartz said. "The Information Age is history. It's over. The idea of all of us as passive participants on the network is just last generation, thank you."

(Elizabeth Montalbano of IDG News Service contributed to this report.)

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