In a move that promises to have developers foaming at the mouth everywhere, Sun has decided to make available the source code for Java. Exactly how this will materialise remains a mystery - will the Java programming language become completely open source? What moves will be in place to ensure that Java remains compatible with other technologies? Regardless of how this comes out in the wash though, this is definitely a welcome move.

Open source advocates, such as Brian Behlendorf, chief technology officer of CollabNet and co-founder of an open source server software Apache, claim that it is easy to release something like Java under an open source license. However, Behlendorf believes that remaining competative on an open source basis will prove much more of a challenge than competing on a purely proprietary IT business.

When exactly this will happen is also a mystery. Rich Green, Sun's new executive vice president of software, claims that it is hard to nail down a date.

When analysts and reporters later pressed Green for details on Sun's plan to open source Java, he said it's impossible to peg down a date because "this has to be done as a group. The community process is critical. . . . I don't expect this to be an endless endeavour."