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Sun's Bauhaus on open sourcing SOA technology

Sun has been busy putting everything from its Solaris operating system to its Java technology into open source. But what about the technology from SeeBeyond that was all proprietary prior to Sun's acquisition of the company in August 2005? We get some answers in part two of a Q&A interview conducted at JavaOne with Mark Bauhaus, senior vice president, Business Integration, App Platform and Identity Management Software at Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Read part one.

The SeeBeyond product hadn't been open source?

That's correct. So, this is all brand new?
Right, yep, it's brand new open source and we'll be steadily, as we are with the whole Sun product line, open sourcing it all over time, as fast as we can clean up the intellectual property and shift development cycle and get it out. So, that's well underway. Is there a time when we can expect all of SeeBeyond's technology to be open source?
I don't know what that whole timeline looks like. When we open sourced Solaris, it took us about three years. So, we knew we were open sourcing for a long time, but it takes that long to get things out. I hear from other people, there's sort of the back chatter that, well, Sun says they want to do this, but it takes years. Do they really want to do open source? How do you address that concern?
I think that concern mostly comes from our competition. Look at our actions over the last couple of years and what we've actually delivered. More than half of the Java enterprise system is already open sourced.

Let me just run down the list for you. Certainly, Solaris, let's put that aside but that's part of the picture. If you look at the application server, which is the reference of implementation for Java EE, open sourced. If you look at our sign-on, the first single sign-on that was ever open sourced in the industry was from Sun. Web services, all that set of APIs, WS-* ability, all open sourced. If you look at all the tooling for Java, across the board, including that which powers SeeBeyond, by the way, all NetBeans, all open sourced. Java Studio Enterprise, Java Studio Creator built on that, just open sourced in the last few months. If you look at JSR tools for Java business integration work, open sourced. Portal, the first step open sourced, that one's going to go through some iterations over the next 12 months, as we open source more and more of it. The Web services interoperability technology with Microsoft, open sourced. I know I'm forgetting to mention some key things out but the bottom line is, we're doing it. And I would challenge any of our major vendor friends to show how much of their code they're actually putting in open source. You have your critics among your competitors, but how do you address the concerns of some of your customers about open source?
We have at least two major constituencies in this regard. Actually, we're doing the first Sun/SeeBeyond Horizons user conference. So, this is carrying on a tradition, of bringing together all the people who do composite application development, SOA-style, together, and we're hearing again there are those who can't wait for open source. They're tired of the rhetoric, they want someone who is a real company standing by and are serious to open source everything. They want the transparency, the community, the participation. They want to see it. And they are excited, can't wait, are jumping for joy. And that's the positive side.

For more information

Sun announces commitment to open source Java

Sun frees its software

The other group you are talking about, who are in IT and are understandably and appropriately risk-adverse. They don't want to risk intellectual property entanglements, which are quite real in this environment. They don't want to risk code that's unreliable and the other concern that I've heard is people say, I don't want three guys in a garage, no matter how smart they are, dictating the next feature you are going to build, because I'm the one paying you. I'm still going to pay you in the future and I want to make sure you are responsive to me. To that group, we are showing by demonstration with open Solaris application server, open sourcing that. Indeed we are applying strong engineering discipline, we are using the same kind of QA, quality controls and criteria to develop and process that we did with Solaris, with Java, with really big software. You have to have that. Sun still has the same process gates that you have to have for run cycles, same automation, same certification, all of it.

Now what this allows us to do is service both communities. The cutting edge, want to be involved open source types can have full access and participate with us. And the people who want commercial software that they can rely on are still getting it out the other side of commercial relationship with Sun. And that's the beauty of it, that's the beauty of open sourcing. The whole company is truly open source, right down to hardware, Sparc has been open sourced as well. The criticism of what we do about open source, it just doesn't ring true.

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