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Computer server and software maker Sun Microsystems said that it had begun to make its Java technology an open-source software project available for free on the Internet. The announcement represents one of the largest additions of computer code to the open-source community - and it marks a major shift for a company that had once fiercely protected the source code used in 3.8 billion cell phones, supercomputers, medical devices and other gadgets.
Making Java an open-source project allows programmers from around the world to examine, modify, fix bugs and contribute new features in Java's underlying code. It requires that any changes be made public. All the Java source code is expected to be released by March 2007. The move covers all Java technology, which includes software that runs on handheld devices, personal computers and servers. Analysts said the decision would likely extend the life of Java, which was released more than a decade ago, and boost business for the company.
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