Red Flag may bundle Sun’s Java technologies

Chinese Linux developer Red Flag Software Co. Ltd. is likely to bundle key Java technologies from Sun Microsystems Inc. with its Linux offering, according to an executive of Sun.

A formal announcement of this deal, if finalized, is likely to be made at Sun’s JavaOne conference in San Francisco in June, said Matt Thompson, director of technology outreach at Sun on Thursday. He spoke on the sidelines of a Sun technology conference in Bangalore, India. Red Flag could not be immediately reached for comment.

A distributor of Linux based in Beijing, Red Flag is likely to redistribute Sun’s Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and the NetBeans tool set for Java, according to Thompson. “The goal would be for them to be able to ship an entire solution for developers within one packaging,” said Thompson. “So they will ship NetBeans, the Java Runtime Environment and the operating system in one package.” Another package for IT users will have only the JRE, he added.

Thompson, however, cautioned that Sun’s deal with Red Flag was not finalized, and is still at an advanced stage of negotiations. The discussions are focused on how Sun and Red Flag can work together to support users of these Java technologies, he said.

Sun, of Santa Clara, California, is also talking to other Linux distributions about including Java technologies from Sun. “Most of them don’t want to ship [a product that doesn’t carry], as they see, it a true open source license,” Thompson said. Unlike Linux, which is available under the GNU General Public License (GPL), NetBeans source code is available under a variant of the Mozilla Public License, and Sun has its own separate licenses for its JRE.

“In China they are looking at providing solutions, and not just a Linux distribution,” said Thompson. “The Chinese open source community is not about open source as an answer but about enabling solutions.”

The Chinese government is not behind open source because they believe open source is the best way to do something on theoretical terms, but because it will enable the Chinese IT market to get ahead by building on what has been already been done, which is the key value of open source, Thompson added.

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