February 2, 2007

Sun Open Sources Java Content Delivery Server

Sun Microsystems Inc is adding yet one more piece of its Java Enterprise System to the open source community. The addition is the Content Delivery Server a product that came to Sun through the 2003 Pixel acquisition.

Like the other pieces of JES, Sun will offer two versions: the existing commercial product, which will have regular Sun support, plus an open source version where you depend on the kindness of the community.

The main draw of the open sourcing strategy is really to the hearts and minds of third parties, that might be more open to playing around with CDS if they didn't have to buy a full license or work under the confines of normal commercial software agreements. Anyway, CDS is aimed at entities that are selling content, and not necessarily at corporate end users, meaning this is a bid by Sun to draw more third party support.

Content Delivery Server is a mobile content delivery and management platform. Originally aimed at wireless carriers, CDS has been used to selling ring-tones, games, or other multimedia assets to smart phones. In the four years that Sun has owned CDS, it has drawn 14 customers, 13 of whom are telcos.

Sun characterizes CDS as a vending machine type of system, in that it stocks add-ons that wireless carriers can sell to subscribers on demand. It claims that a new market is starting to emerge with content providers who might open a direct channel to wireless subscribers by bypassing the carriers.

At this point, Sun will offer CDS under the same Mozilla-derived Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) that it has used for Java EE and other offerings, rather than the more popular GPL (General Public License). For Sun, the attraction of CDDL is that it is much looser than GPL, in tat it doesn't require contribution of derivative work back to the community.

But just as Sun eventually opened Java ME and SE to GPL, it may eventually do the same with CDS. According to David Bryant, senior marketing director for infrastructure software products, Sun might do the same eventually with CDS.