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O'Reilly Comments on Sun Java/Open Source Announcement

December 8, 1998

In response to Sun's announcement today that Java will be released under a new open source-like license, O'Reilly & Associates' president, editors and authors are available for comments and have made the following statements:

Tim O'Reilly, President/CEO, O'Reilly & Associates:
"One of the most powerful things about Open Source is that it pulls itself into niches. Someone has a very specific problem to solve, which doesn't seem to matter to anyone else, but eventually goes on to become very important. For a new technology like Java, letting the user community extend it to meet specialized needs expands the boundaries at which innovation can occur.

"Java is one of the key technologies for the future of computing, with its support for networked, smart devices. Moving toward Open Source, Java will bring us that future much faster, and with more interesting surprises."

Robert Eckstein, author, "Java Swing":
"This is a tremendous opportunity for Java. The Community Source License bestows Java with the more appealing aspects of the Open Source model, significantly widening the braintrust that can further develop Sun Microsystem's Java platform. This agreement also helps to ensure that Java flourishes in a homogeneous environment that both commercial and non-commercial entities can reap benefits from."

Stig Hackvan, Open Source developer; author, "Open Source Licensing":
"Although the Sun Community Source License (SCSL) is clearly an important step towards a more cooperative relationship with users of Sun technology, it is also clearly not an Open-Source(tm) license. One important feature of the Open Source Definition is that users of open-source software are free to change it in any way deemed necessary. Sun's license is directed at maintaining control of the Java technology standard, however, and so the SCSL compels licensees to keep in step with Sun's standard, both now and in the future."

Mike Loukides, editor, O'Reilly Java series:
"I have long believed that Java was the most important new software technology on the scene, and that it offered a new paradigm for building widely distributed computing systems. It is also clear that the Open Source community has development skills and energy that are unsurpassed by anything in the commercial world. Bringing the two together has immense consequences. It means that Open Source applications developed under Java can immediately run on Windows and commercial UNIX systems, in addition to Linux, without a lengthy porting effort. Java benefits because it can tap the energy and expertise of Open Source developers--a talent pool that can't be matched."

Contact information and biographical information for the above individuals:

  • Tim O'Reilly, President/CEO, O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., publishers of books about open source software, the Internet, Java, and Windows: O'Reilly brought together the first Freeware (Open Source) Summit, April, 1998; his company has hosted the annual Perl conference, this year to include Linux and Apache; the company earns approximately 50% of its income ($40 million, 1998) from open source-related books and services. Contact: Ellen Maremont Silver, (707)829-0515 ext. 322; silver@oreilly.com

  • Robert Eckstein is the author of the recently released book, Java Swing,and he is currently working on a book about Java Commerce for O'Reilly. He also writes for JavaWorld magazine. Contact: Lisa Mann, (707)829-0515 ext. 230; lisam@oreilly.com

  • Stig Hackvan is an Open Source developer who has worked on projects ranging from XEmacs to Linux. Currently he is focused on intellectual property issues and tools for facilitating cooperation; his book "Open Source Licensing" will be published by O'Reilly in the spring. Contact: Stig Hackvan, (707)987-8754; stig@hackvan.com

  • Mike Loukides is the Java series editor at O'Reilly & Associates. Contact: Lisa Mann, (707)829-0515 ext. 230; lisam@oreilly.com"

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