13 Nov .NET and Java Open Source Engagements

Today’s headlines signals a seismic shift for developers and software development world-wide.
Both Microsoft and Sun Microsystems, the driving forces behind .NET and Java are fully engaging with the open source world for what I believe to be very different reasons, but what are likely very similar goals: increasing their platforms pervasiveness, availability and accelerating their platform adoption by spiking the all important developer mind share.
A quick review of the headlines: Microsoft’s engagement with Novell, is a significant boost to the Mono effort. For those of who don’t know what Mono is, it is the .NET runtime that stands the best chance of making the .NET Framework a success on platforms other than Windows. The official endorsement from Microsoft, plus the additional financial and technology backing could quickly yield palpable results. Miquel de Incaza provides probably the best insight into this new partnership.
Next up: today, most major news outlets are reporting Sun will be adopting the GPL as the basis for open sourcing the Java platform. Interestingly the classpath exception will be made available, which should give corporations sufficient latitude to define the limits of the GPL’s effect on their application.
The impact here is clear: open sourcing Java should have the effect of spurring adoption in the Linux sphere, while Microsoft’s overtures to Novell could finally place .NET in a position to address a shortfall that Java has enjoyed since it’s inception; true cross platform runtime support.
Taken from a neutral stand-point, these two developments should yield positive results; the effort that will succeed will likely hinge on who can get their respective new initiatives up and running first…

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