More Sun software taking open source route

Sun Microsystems is taking more of its software into the open-source world, the company announced Monday at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco.

"This will put the debate to rest" about whether Sun is serious about open source, said Joe Keller, the company's vice president of marketing for Java web services and tools.

Sun is moving its Java System Application Server Platform Edition into the community developer model already adopted by the open-source version of the company's operating system OpenSolaris, according to Keller. This means the application server will be available under the CDDL (Common Development and Distribution License).

Dubbed "Project Glassfish," the open-source version of the software will be housed at the Java.net Web site, he said. The application server will support Java Enterprise Edition version 5, which is still in development.

"The significance from a volume and market share perspective (of making the application server open source) is pretty minimal," said Stephen O'Grady, RedMonk senior analyst. "Sun's application server definitely lags behind companies such as BEA Systems Inc. with WebLogic and IBM with WebSphere."

However, what he found interesting about the announcement was Sun's building out of an "ecosystem" of products built on CDDL. "Sun has invested a vast amount of time and energy in revamping their app server," O'Grady said. "A couple of years ago, the code was pretty fragmentary, being the result of different acquisitions. Now they have a fairly solid product." Companies already building on OpenSolaris would be the most likely to be interested in open-source Java Systems Application Server Platform Edition, he added.

To date, developers have downloaded more than 3 million full copies of the proprietary version of Java Systems Application Server Platform Edition at the rate of 40,000 downloads per month, Sun's Keller estimated.

Sun has also finalized its Java Business Integration specification and will be introducing a new community, the Java Enterprise Service Business, on Java.net, Keller said. The specification will also use the CDDL, he added.

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