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This announcement has tremendous implications for servlet and JSP developers, as well as the Java community at large. It means we'll soon see Apache -- a server with more than 50 percent of the Web-server marketshare -- in the position to always support the latest version of servlet and JSP releases.
This agreement also allows for a more consistent servlet and JSP implementation across all Web servers because the reference implementation source code will be available to everyone, including other Web server vendors and servlet engine vendors.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the announcement is that it marks the first time Sun proprietary Java source code will be available under a license as unrestrictive as the Apache license. With the Apache license, individuals and companies are be free to use the source code for nearly any use without royalty payments of any kind.
What are the full implications of this new unrestrictive license? According to Sun and Apache developers near to the project, work will continue on the servlet and JSP source code following the open Apache process, under the project name Jakarta. (This was the name of the Sun conference room in which the majority of the meetings leading up to the agreement took place; not coincidentally, it's also the name of Indonesia's capital.) Under this process, all the Jakarta code will be downloadable for free, meaning it will be free to use, modify, and incorporate into other projects without royalty fees. It will also be possible to submit changes to the official Jakarta source code back to the Jakarta Project, subject to review by the group of developers who are actively participating in the project. The details of the process are still being finalized. The rules will likely be similar to those stated in the Java Apache Constitution. (See Resources.)
Sun states it will continue to release updated versions of the JavaServer Web Development Kit as the reference implementation for servlets and JSP, and that the JSWDK code will come from the Jakarta code.
The Jakarta Project will be divided into a number of projects involving Java. Sun's code will be the basis for two of the projects -- one for servlets and one for JSP. The servlet portion has been given the name Tomcat (the previous codename for the JSDK 2.1 project inside Sun). The JSP portion tentatively has been given the name JoSPer. Other projects currently under the Java Apache umbrella are likely to be integrated into Jakarta.