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Sun shines with Java

Sun Microsystems expects the decision to make its Java technology available as free software to have a major impact on the Middle East market.

Sun Microsystems expects the decision to make its Java technology available as free software to have a major impact on the Middle East market.

The company recently announced that the first pieces of source code for its Java Platform Micro Edition have now been released, representing one of the largest source code contributions ever made.

Sotirios Papachristos, senior director software EMEA at Sun — who this week flew into GITEX to meet with channel partners and clients — believes Java will now become even more pervasive in the region: “The Middle East is a region where a lot of development is going on. We believe the impact in the region will be huge as technology will be much more accessible to customers in general. The thinking behind the decision to open source Java is that volume drives value. By bringing the barriers down, additional services can be developed and consequently more people will be able to use it.”

Over 3.8 billion devices are currently enabled with Java technology, including mobile phones, smart cards and enterprise applications. Papachristos claims the release of Java code is a natural move for Sun given its increasing commitment to the open source community: “The [Java] technology is at a mature stage after 11 years of continuous development and usage. If you go back 10 or 12 years, Sun has actually been a major player in the open source area. We open sourced NetBeans and Solaris, and now you are seeing it with Java. Eventually you will see other products being open sourced too,” he declares.

By open sourcing its implementation of Java, Sun hopes it will spawn a new generation of services and applications in verticals such as finance and telecommunication. That will be clearly communicated to the horde of visitors that Sun expects to its stand this week.

“We have a significant customer and partner base in this region, and GITEX is the ideal opportunity to meet with them,” explains Papachristos. “We have a lot of focus on the Middle East as it is an important and strategic region for us. The region has a growing economy and the IT market is expanding significantly.”

Sun employs more than 150 people in the Middle East and claims its software business is currently growing at a double-digit rate.

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