“Red Hat Inc is in discussions with Sun Microsystems Inc about launching an open source version of Sun’s Java environment, according to Red Hat chairman and CEO Matthew Szulik.
The Raleigh, North Carolina-based Linux distributor is also lining up a slew of product launches including its new Red Hat Linux Desktop operating system and new versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the Red Hat Network.
Szulik said that Red Hat has been working for five years on open source versions of Java technologies such as Just In Time compilers and Java Virtual Machines in a clean room environment, and has requested the sponsorship of Sun to go ahead with the full-scale project.
“There’s always been an interest in an open source implementation of Java developed in a clean room that adheres to the Java standards,” Szulik told ComputerWire. “We’re in discussions with Sun. We’d like to do this with their support.”
Sun has shied away from calls to launch an open source version of Java in the past, but has contributed other technologies to the open source community, such as the OpenOffice office applications suite and the NetBeans Java development environment. The company has also made it easier for open source Java 2 Enterprise Edition implementations to be tested against the official Test Compatibility Kit without being required to also accept official J2EE code.
Sun might be persuaded that an open source version of Java would help it to compete with Microsoft Corp’s .NET and C Sharp, especially since the Mono project is developing open source implementations of the .NET development framework for use on Linux and Unix.
Szulik said that discussions between Red Hat and Sun had reached a “very serious stage”, but he would not estimate a timeline for the delivery of an open source version of Java.
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