Free JAVA

The news about Sun open-sourcing Java under the GPL is very good news. Software is a factor of production: the better quality software you have, the more you can get done. Open-source software is a big win for all companies, because they are no longer yoked by restrictive and pricey software licenses. Small business have access to tools that otherwise would have been out of reach while medium and large businesses can pad their profit margins. Students also win, as they are able to experiment and work with production-quality tools at no cost.

A commentator at digg sums it up:

This is yet another historical stepping stone in the advancement of open-source software, right along with the introduction of the Linux kernel, the formation of Red Hat, and the open sourcing of Netscape. Don’t underestimate the massive influence of Java in the software world–now that it’s going to be open, it’s existence will be *guaranteed* to be around AND relevant 10 and 20 years from now, unlike the Microsoft-endorsed language du jour.This is yet another historical stepping stone in the advancement of open-source software, right along with the introduction of the Linux kernel, the formation of Red Hat, and the open sourcing of Netscape. Don’t underestimate the massive influence of Java in the software world–now that it’s going to be open, it’s existence will be *guaranteed* to be around AND relevant 10 and 20 years from now, unlike the Microsoft-endorsed language du jour.

Open-sourcing Java also ends a weird eccentricity by its corporate owner, Sun. Years back Sun open-sourced OpenOffice.org, giving it away freely, while developing portions of it with Java, which could not be distributed freely. Now with this move, fully-featured copies of OpenOffice and fully-featured copies of the Java runtime environment can be distributed by open-source only distributions, increasing the market-share of both.