“One of the biggest questions on the table right now is, how can we open the code, invite participation from everyone with the interest and the skills to do so, and still respect the work and ongoing contribution of the existing developers? Many of them have spent a decade or more making the Java source code excellent. We can’t just dump the code on the street and invite applications for the role of owner for each module. That would be hugely disrespectful, dishonouring the developers who have devoted themselves to the code. And yet neither can we just assert that no help is needed.”
Simon gets to the heart of a matter here, and the fact is, Sun is going to have to break some eggheads’ shells. “Innovation happens elsewhere” – well, now more fresh ideas can be driven into the core platform, which will mean upsetting some people. I think upsetting a few Sun engineers however should do Java no harm at all.
This is an area where the “developer self-interest in writing code they want to use” is tested. When people don’t want the code you wrote, after ten years of stewarding it, what happens then? A corrolary of freedom to leave…