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Sun Answers The World's Most Boring Question

Before announcing yesterday that it would release Java under an open-source license, Sun's executives might have considered the matter very carefully. They might have debated the pros and cons of open-source Java; invited outside experts to weigh in on the matter; and then settled on a carefully-timed plan for getting the job done.
Before announcing yesterday that it would release Java under an open-source license, Sun's executives might have considered the matter very carefully. They might have debated the pros and cons of open-source Java; invited outside experts to weigh in on the matter; and then settled on a carefully-timed plan for getting the job done.

But they didn't. Rich Green, Sun's prodigal software boss, said yesterday about Sun's decision to open-source Java: "At this point, it's not a question of whether. It's a question of how."

Actually, if it was a question of "how," we would still be waiting.Here's what we know so far: Java will, in the not-too-distant future, be available under an OSI-approved open-source license.

Here's what Sun knows about its plan, that it hasn't told us yet: nothing.

In fact, I'll bet that the entirety of Sun's open-source master plan for Java consisted of the following steps:

Step One: Wait for the ink to dry on Scott McNealy's resignation letter.

Step Two: Send an intern downstairs to make sure McNealy's parking spot is empty.

Step Three: Jonathan Schwartz and Rich Green flip a coin to see who gets to make the announcement.

Taking care of the details on this improv act won't be a problem, mostly because Sun has more experience organizing, launching, and managing open-source projects than almost any other for-profit organization on the planet. Even if Sun's lack of planning was a problem, the alternative -- another JavaOne event filled with day after day of inane, pointless yapping over the open-source Java "debate" -- was probably too hellish to contemplate.

As one analyst, Red Monk's James Governor, said yesterday, "I hope Sun moves onward with it quickly, because I'm really bored with the question." Amen, brother.