Sun executive reveals more open-source plans for JavaFX

A Sun executive says the company is working to open source more key parts of its JavaFX development toolkit.

A Sun Microsystems executive has provided a glimpse into the company's future plans for open sourcing JavaFX, its recently released technology for building RIAs (rich Internet applications) for the desktop, mobile devices and other platforms.

Sun's corporate image is grounded in its embrace of open-source software and some components of JavaFX, including the JavaFX compiler and elements of graphic libraries, are now available under the GPLv2 open-source license, according to the official JavaFX FAQ.

But other key components are still proprietary. Sun is now working to change this, according to a recent blog post by Jeet Kaul, vice president of the Client Software Group.

"There are some dependencies on licensed code that cannot be open sourced. We are working towards decoupling the dependencies so that the non-proprietary portions can be open sourced," Kaul wrote. "We will put the core runtime out in the open over time."

Kaul did not spell out the nature of the dependencies. A spokesman for Sun did not immediately respond to a request for more information Tuesday.

Sun will also publish specifications for new file formats associated with JavaFX, "shortly," Kaul said.

Kaul's blog post came in response to those questions and others posted by Java developer Osvaldo Pinali Doederlein.

The Sun executive also provided an updated road map for JavaFX, writing that the mobile platform -- now in beta -- will be released "by March" and a visual designer tool will be available in the middle of next year.

While JavaFX will compete with a range of other RIA toolsets, such as Adobe's AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) and Microsoft's Silverlight, Sun is banking that Java's pervasive market penetration will give it an edge.

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Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
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