Enterprise Linux Log

Nov 6 2007   1:23PM GMT

Red Hat makes Java contribution — what was the hold up?

ITKE ITKE Profile: ITKE

JavaIt took them about a year, but Red Hat finally got on board with Sun Microsystems and Java this week when it announced that it signed Sun’s contributor agreement that covers participation in all Sun-led open source projects by all Red Hat engineers.

We covered the news angle at SearchEnterpriseLinux.com, and today the Business Review Online’s Jason Stamper gives the news a fresh spin at the CAOS Theory blog:

The only question really is why it took Red Hat so long to make this move. As The451 Group’s Raven Zachary noted (in our article — J.L.), until now Red Hat has been a little coy about fully backing Java, choosing instead to work with BEA Systems on JRockit for optimization on Linux.

What’s changed of course is the open sourcing of Java, which has made it simpler for Red Hat to use it in its Linux distribution and related tools, Zachary said. The question remains though, what took them? Sun officially open sourced Java a year ago (emphasis mine).

I’m sure it was a variety of things: pride, business acumen, the intricacies of working collaboratively with a competitor who wants to bury your OS and replace it on the server with his own. But the question kind of lingers in the air like a whiff of freshly brewed coffee, doesn’t it? (indirect pun totally intended)

One Slashdot commenter also wondered about this partnership earlier this morning, saying:

“With all the ‘openness’ going on with Java these days will things get even more complicated? I have three important commercial apps that run on Java, all three have their own run time environments that are incompatible with each other. I have no end of trouble with jre and firefox. I can’t count how many times I’ve had problems with classpaths trying to run Java stuff. Will the OpenJDK mean another runtime? As in Blackdown, Sun, Open?”

There’s no doubt that this partnership is a good thing for Red Hat Linux and for Java. Nevertheless, these persistent little questions remain. I don’t know if RH dragging its feet has too much effect on the end user, but still, we’d like to know what the delay was all about.

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