Sun's open sourcing of java is not a one night task. It has been on news for quite long now. java.net even had polls to see what developers community thought about it and also under which license it should be given out. Now it's finally open under GPLv2! But what surprised me was the license which they have used.With the conterversy of GPL versions arround I really didn't like the choice of license. But that's not all!! What made Sun to open source java?
A little investigation what is happening arround will give you a picture. Through my hunt I feel the main reason for Sun to open source java was the pressure from the open source community to open it up. The pressure was in the form of open source implementations of the J2SE. One such project is Harmony of Apache Software Foundation. The Harmony project site says "Apache Harmony is a top-level project of the Apache Software Foundation! See below for more information". And the big news is they plan to complete the implementation of Java SE 5 JDK by mid 2007. It can run servers like Tomcat,Maven etc. The license under which its distributed is Apache License.
Now its not just the Apache group that's under hard work! GNU is also comming up with its own implementaion of Java SE! Its called GNU Classpath. but the problem is its behind as we have implementation of 1.4 only. But they warmly welcomes the Sun's open sourcing of java.
So Sun Micorsystem is under pressure by these two open source java implementation because they will become more popular and may even become better than Sun's own implementation. Another reason is, at present no Linux distribution have sun's J2SE.The user have to install a copy by downloading from Sun's site. By making Java open source, you will now get to see the Sun's JDK with many major distributions like Novell,Red Hat,Open Suse, Fedora etc...
So what's the effect of it all on developers? Developers are going to be more involved in Java's development and tune it. One good example is the new Java JDK ie JDK6.So as a developer : KEEP PROGRAMMING ! :)