JavaOne: Ericsson makes “quantum leap” to open source

Sun Microsystems is collaborating with Ericsson to support development of Java-based server applications that can run on wireless networks.

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Sun Microsystems is collaborating with Ericsson to support development of Java-based server applications that can run on wireless networks.

Speaking at Sun’s JavaOne 2007 conference in San Francisco, the two companies said they will contribute to the GlassFish open-source community.

This is a group devoted to developing server applications based on the Java Enterprise Edition platform, which Sun open sourced a year ago, said Rich Green, Sun's senior vice president for software.

GlassFish is primarily focused on enterprise-level applications, but the collaboration with Ericsson will allow it to expand into applications delivered on mobile networks.

Specifically, said Green, the agreement will make available to GlassFish the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) portion of the IP multimedia subsystems (IMS) protocol to deliver Java applications over wireless networks.

Under the agreement, Ericsson will contribute parts of its server development to GlassFish, including a variety of tools and expertise to support developer communities. Ericsson may also allow developers to test their applications on a live IMS-based network.

Like other companies at JavaOne, Ericsson sees that wireless devices are more ubiquitous than desktop PCs and mobile is where the company's energy should be directed.

"We realise that in developing new services around IMS that will change the way people live their lives, we can't do that on our own," said Martin
Harriman, vice president of marketing and business development for the multimedia business at Ericsson. "This is a big step for us [and] we've never worked like this before."

Green also emphasised the significance of a company like Ericsson with deep roots in the traditional telecommunications market embracing the open-source concept.

"For them to say the leading-edge technology that is going to power their next big round of business is going to be in open source is this huge quantum leap for a company like that," Green said.

Ericsson and Sun have the same motivation to support the open-source community, Green said. If open-source developers create novel applications that encourage people to buy mobile devices, that will spur demand for more of the network equipment Ericsson makes and more of the servers Sun makes.

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