IBM and Sun Microsystems have a new favorite weapon in the public wrangling over Java development leadership: The open letter. IBM's Rod Smith, vice-president of emerging technologies for the company's software group, fired off the latest salvo Wednesday, jumping on Sun technology evangelist Simon Phipps' suggestion at the recent EclipseCon that IBM give its Java implementation to the open-source community.
IBM has for years encouraged Sun to open-source Java, and Smith took advantage of Phipps' comment to once again push that agenda.
"Here is the offer: IBM would like to work with Sun on an independent project to open source Java," he wrote in a letter e-mailed to Rob Gingell, "IBM is ready to provide technical resources and code for the open source Java implementation while Sun provides the open source community with Sun materials, including Java specifications, tests and code."
Sun did not have an immediate response to IBM's tossed gauntlet. The company fired off its own open letter on Java development recently, when it reiterated its decision not to join the IBM-backed development efforts around the Eclipse open-source platform for software tools integration.
Sun has also used open letters for some more overt taunting of Big Blue. Sun software head Jonathan Schwartz posted last month on Sun's Web site a memo offering "free advice" to IBM in response to rumors that the company is looking to accelerate internal adoption of Linux desktops.
"There appears to be no real commitment to Linux. Are you, or aren't you, moving your desktops?" Schwartz wrote. "To help IBM with your transition, we can offer a desktop for every one of your employees -- with a free right to use the desktop at home -- for (US)$50/employee. Consider this a formal quote from Sun. But only if you're willing to buy in volume."