System News
Jini Technology Goes to Apache
Sun Hopes Open Source Will Revitalize the Architecture
April 24, 2006,
Volume 98, Issue 4

JiniTM technology is being revitalized, reports Jim Hurley, community lead for Jini.org, who revealed that Sun Microsystems is handing the architecture over to Apache, making it a more open and accessible technology for individuals not familiar with it and eliminating the perception that the Jini CommunitySM is a closed society by changing the licensing structure from SCSL to open source. All of this is being done in concert with efforts to drum up interest in JavaSpacesTM technology. An email from Hurley announcing these developments was circulated by Joseph Ottinger on TheServerSide.com.

Hurley summarized the rationale for this new emphasis on Jini technology thus:

The need to go more open

First, Sun changed the licensing model from SCSL to open licensing and is now shifting to the Apache License, Version 2.0. This was done in the expectation that it would arouse interest in a larger group of developers than had previously involved themselves with Jini technology. Unfortunately, Hurley notes, interest did not increase markedly.

- The need to change the impression that Jini.org is a closed group -

The perception apparently continues that Jini.org has a "gated" look, fostered by old SCSL licensing structure. The task is to convince open source developers that Jini technology and Jini.org are truly an open source technology and Community, Hurley asserts

The need to create an open source development model for the JiniTM Technology Starter Kit

There has been much interest and debate on revamping the Jini Technology Starter Kit, Hurley continues, and with the license change last year, it seemed to the Jini.org group that an open source development model was the inevitable and right direction to go with the technology.

The need to become more competitive

Sun has charged the Jini technology group with the task of leveraging the technology and expertise to further some of Sun's key strategies and product initiatives, Hurley writes. This change in emphasis will integrate the efforts of the Jini technology group more closely with the overall Sun strategy for the current, rigorous business climate, he says.

The need to reignite the creative fire in the Jini Community and at Jini.org

The vitality of the open source community is sought as a means to aid in the continuing evolution and growth of Jini technology, Hurley says. The community needs new developers finding and adopting the technology to help create new invention and opportunity.

As a result of theses considerations, a four-step plan was devised for achieving the desired changes:

  • Propose Jini technology to the Apache Software Foundation (apache.org)
  • Decommission Jini.org on June 30, 2006
  • Create a "new Jini.org" site starting in July, 2006, to which project owners can move their projects and other content in an effort to continue sharing. Java.net may become the host site. There is also a need for a site where new developers could get an overview of the technology and better understand how and where it's used, and (potentially) by whom. The idea is to redirect the Jini.org domain to this new site.
  • Hold the 10th Jini Community Meeting in September 2006, sponsored by Sun. This would continue the history and culture of gathering together each year to reconnect and learn what's happening with Jini technology and in the Jini Community, Hurley asserts. Continuing this tradition is vital, given the level of change currently underway, he adds.

Hurley also announced that part of the Sun Jini technology team has already started "becoming users" by working in the Sun Grid space, delivering an early (0.1) release of a project on Java.net called "Compute Server," which will enable JavaTM technology developers to easily and efficiently use the Sun Grid Compute Utility as a platform for the distributed execution of parallel computations. It leverages Jini and JavaSpaces underneath. Hurley invites readers to view the work.

And, Hurley promises further emails to keep readers in the Jini Community apprised of further changes in the technology. "

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