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J2EE Journal: Article

Sun Turns J2SE Into Laboratory For New Java Licensing Experiment

It All Depends What the Meaning of "Open" Is...

"We're trying to simplify, as best we can, all the legalistics," Sun Fellow Graham Hamilton told the press yesterday - meaning the 'legalistics' involved in Java application development.

Sun's "Project Peabody" - a codename that no one has yet explained - involves the introduction, in approximately a month's time, of a new license called JIUL, standing for Java Internal Use License; and another called JDL, for Java Distribution License.

JIUL will supersede the SCSL (Sun Community Source License), Hamilton said.

Hamilton, a Sun VP and Fellow in the Java platform team who was the lead architect for J2SE releases 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5, added that Sun's main goal is to "increase the transparency of [its] licensing" with the JCP and the development community at large. 

Sun has also created the JRL (Java Research Licence) - a new license created specifically for universities and researchers who want to use Java technologies as subject matter for learning and research. The JRL is intended for all Java platforms, profiles, and standard extensions currently covered under Java SCSL licenses (e.g. J2SE, J2EE, and J2ME).

"It was written to simplify and relax the terms of the existing 'research' section of the current SCSL," says Sun at its website, adding:

"This license is designed for the research community. This includes schools and universities as well as companies that are interested in investigating new products and services using Java technologies. This research license is only for initial research and development projects, and can be used for projects among peers who have agreed to its terms. If you decide to use your project internally for a productive use, and/or distribute your product to others, you must sign a commercial agreement and meet the Java compatibility requirements."

The JRL is not, Sun stresses, a commercial license. It is only for initial research and development projects. If you decide to use your project internally for a productive use, and/or distribute your product to others, you must sign a commercial agreement and meet the Java compatibility requirements. Developers can send questions related to the JRL to [email protected], and/or post comments on the java-net project forum.

The three new Java licenses interest, but do not overly impress, Burton Group VP and Research Director Anne Thomas Manes, moderator of the "App Server Shoot-Out" Keynote Panel at this year's Web Services Edge 2005 in Boston which can still be viewed on SYS-CON.TV ( in its entirety.

"Sun should have open-sourced Java five years ago," she told a reporter.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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