Sun, as corporate caretaker of Java and, in effect, the Java development community, has taken a back seat to IBM and Oracle in introducing Linux as an option into its product stack, preferring to promote sales of its own Solaris operating system. Linux has always been an option in the Sun portfolio, but it has not been heavily promoted as such. However, during the last 12 months, the company has made several highly public moves to indicate a changing attitude toward the use of Linux in its server and desktop product lines.
The key one was the introduction last summer of the Java Desktop System, in which Java applications run on Linux. With the November announcement that Sun closed a deal with the Republic of China to install as many as 200 million copies of the JDS on Linux over a period of years, the company figured that it may be on the right track.
Sun also announced in December that it is offering full support for OpenOffice, the open source equivalent to its own StarOffice suite of business products. Last month, the open source NetBeans IDE community announced a new roadmap for the NetBeans platform, outlining the 3.6 and 4.0 releases.
And now, we have the Linux-Java portal.
"At our Linux community portal, at linux.java.net, we will strive to create a leading destination for Java technology developers on Linux where they can collaborate and get support for the creation Java technology-based projects for
Linux," Rich Green, Sun Developer Platforms Group vice president, said in a stock statement.
The company said that the new java.net Linux community is designed to provide a variety of facilities and services to Java technology developers who work on or deploy to Linux platforms. Participants in the community will be able to find the software tools and project infrastructure required to support collaborative development projects. The site will provide community-based communication channels such as Weblogs, "wikis" and other interactive features pioneered on java.net. For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"The new Linux Community at linux.java.net is a great place for developers who want to explore Java on Linux," Linux advocate Chris DiBona said. "As Linux continues its explosive growth, the knowledge that java.net conveys becomes increasingly important. This will be an important place to visit if you want to know more about developing and deploying Java solutions on Linux."
Sun's developer tools product line has a long history of Linux support, allowing developers to create, build, and debug applications for Linux as well as for Solaris and Windows. The company said it fully expects to continue this commitment throughout its product line, including the new Sun Java Studio Enterprise, and the upcoming Sun Java Studio Creator, both of which are scheduled to ship by mid-2004.
Sun said it has a "clear roadmap" designed to support its complete line of development tools on Linux by the end of 2004, including Sun Studio, Sun's C, C++, and Fortran development environment. A company spokesman said that it is currently scheduled to give developers features such as: a GUI-based debugger which provides for full multithreaded, multi-process debugging, including applications composed of both Java and C/C++ code; a new performance analyzer to help identify application performance characteristics, including bottlenecks, resource consumption, and code "hot spots"; and the Native Connector Tool, which will bind and encapsulate native Linux C/C++ applications and libraries as Java classes.