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Sidebar: Users, vendors debate merits of open-source Java

By Carol Sliwa
June 16, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Some prominent vendors that work on Java standards through Sun Microsystems Inc.'s community process favor Java going open-source. Many corporate developers, however, have divergent opinions on the matter, and some said they think Sun's Java Community Process (JCP) is working out just fine for the evolving technology.
A sampling of the range of opinions follows:
Favor current JCP
Mark Jeffrey, senior programmer/analyst, Anteon Corp., Fort Detrick, Md.: "At this point in time, I don't see moving it to open-source. I think it's fine the way it is. Once you make it open-source, you lose a lot of the control of the security features that are built into Java. From a programming standpoint, it's nice that Java has all these security features built into it."
Trevor Gaffney, programmer/analyst, Choice Hotels International Inc., Phoenix: "I think the community process works fine. Open-source may slow things down a bit because there are too many hands in the cookie jar."
Aaron Jennings, software engineer, Lockheed Martin Air Traffic Management, a unit of Lockheed Martin Corp. in Rockville, Md.: "I think they're doing a good job with the JCP, and now that they're opening the JCP to more people, it's heading in the right direction. If they were to move to full open-source, there could be issues with bringing open-source into these highly designed APIs [application programming interfaces]. We need more stringent control on what the final release of the API is."
Chris Logan, application architect, Iron Mountain Inc., Boston: "The impetus for the maturation of Java is Sun's desire to be a profitable company. If Java goes open-source, I'm not sure what the impetus would be to mature the platform. I'd be afraid of anything so big going open-source."
Mixed reactions
Michael Bechauf, vice president, Java architecture and standards, SAP Labs LLC: "From an innovation point of view, it certainly would be beneficial. A lot of good ideas come out of the open-source initiatives. But you can't use open-source as a model for standardization or developing reference implementations."
Favor open-source
Clement Gomez, senior software engineer, The American Red Cross, Falls Church, Va.: "I think [open-source] helps develop the language. The conversion of ideas makes it better."
Lawrence Anderson, manager of enterprise engineering, enterprise technology services, The American Red Cross, Falls Church, Va.: "For all intents and purposes, Sun has a major control over Java ... Sun loses if Java becomes open-source, because people can pick and choose the best pieces [of software], and they're not the leader in any of these spaces.
"I'm worried about Sun, and I'm worried about a big investment in Sun because

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