Father of Java chides open source developer community

Java creator, IT industry heavyweight and CTO of Sun Microsystem's developer products group James Gosling has launched a blistering attack on the open source developer community saying companies that give away software lack financial viability.

In Sydney at the start of a national lecture tour, including an address to Directors of Information Technology at the Council of Australian Universities, Gosling described the economic sustainability of open source as "in a pickle".

"There are all these open source groups that have to figure out what their economic model is," Gosling told Computerworld.

"Everyone that works on these open source projects [must] pay rent and buy lunch...so where does that money come from?

Open source vendors also came under fire, with Gosling sideswiping MySQL, JBoss, and Red Hat: "They say that they are running their businesses based on services.

"These businesses are more hype than reality. If they don't have a [longer term] economic model...they are going to have a really hard time."

Gosling took aim at MySQL, describing its open source database as "still basically commercial, but you can use it for free".

"I actually find it amazing that people consider MySQL to be an open source project given that there is no one allowed to do check-ins. When you look at the licence for MySQL you really do need to feed them money in order to be clean with their licence."

When asked about Sun's stance on open sourcing Java, Gosling described the whole debate as "very weird".

"We have been distributing the source to Java freely since the very first day [and] you can go to our Web site and download the sources, no problem," he said. "In that sense, Java has been open source for a decade."

Gosling said people in the open source world quibble about one clause in the Java licence that disqualifies it from being open source, but is important for maintaining compatibility.

"So we have this licence that says you can only distribute this commercially and call it Java if you have passed the set of tests," he said.

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