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If IBM owns Java …

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n the last few years, Sun Microsystems has warmed up to open-sourcing its software. In 2006, Sun opened up Java, and in 2007 it open-sourced most of Solaris under the GPLv3. Smaller, side projects, like NetBeans, the Java-based IDE were open-sourced as early as 2001. Sun has also long allowed developers at least some say in the progress of Java, through the Java Community Process. Historically, though, Sun has had a well-documented love/hate relationship with open source.

IBM has had a closer relationship with open source, but it wasn’t always that way. In December of 1998, IBM realized that it needed to take a closer look at open source thanks to its customers beginning to pick up Linux. Before that, according to Peter G. Capek of IBM Research, IBM handled open source on a case-by-case basis.

At first, IBM software developers were “skeptical that the quality of the open-source software produced could be sufficient to be relevant to us and our customers.” But, the company quickly discovered the benefits of open source software:

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