IBM urgens Sun to make Java open source, Sun agrees to talk

A couple of days ago we heard a plea from the open source to make Java open source. Now IBM, one of driving forces behind Java (they developed most of J2EE), urges Sun to open up Java aswell:

IBM has sent an open letter to Sun Microsystems, urging the company to make Java technology open source, CNET learned late Wednesday.

In a letter sent by Rod Smith, IBM’s vice president of emerging technology, IBM offered to work with Sun to create a project that would shepherd development of Java through an open-source development model. If implemented, portions of Sun’s most valuable software asset — Java — would be freely available, and contributors ranging from volunteer programmers to large corporations would submit changes to the Java software.

“Sun’s strong commitment to open-source Java would speed the development of a first-class and compatible open-source Java implementation to the benefit of our customers and our industry,” Smith wrote to Rob Gingell, a Sun vice president. “We are firmly convinced the open-source community would rally around this effort.”

Under the offer, IBM would provide technical resources and code for the open-source Java implementation, while Sun would provide documentation and tests around the Java specifications, which Sun controls. IBM is heavily invested in Java, and the company’s Java-based products have significant market share.

On eWeek we read that Sun agreed to talk to IBM:

Sun officials planned to meet with IBM as early as Thursday to discuss the merits of whether the company should work with IBM on an independent project to create an open-source implementation of Java.

According to Sun, the company is in agreement with IBM’s letter in many ways—and over the last two years Sun has made “significant” Java contributions to open source through The Apache Group; portions of the XML processing engine, through the Web Pack contribution last year; and the Java 2 Enterprise Edition processing engine known as Tomcat. “Sun is closely evaluating the effectiveness of the process,” a Sun spokesperson said.