Sun CEO Scott McNealy has started off his company's JavaOne conference in usual fashion - goading his competitors while at the same time promoting his own products. This time, he "extended an open invitation" to Microsoft and Red Hat to join the Java Community Process (JCP).

At the same time, he made clear that Sun was not going to relinquish control of Java and turn it open source, because, er, someone needs to be in charge. Or presumably the whole thing will fall apart.

The JCP is the talking shop for the Java platform and while McNealy had to note that Sun and Microsoft have been working closely together recently, he couldn't resist prodding it and Red Hat. "I encourage both of these organisations to come to class and to participate and to contribute," McNealy said.

Sun and Microsoft have been working on efforts such as directory interoperability, to allow users to log into both .Net and Java environments simultaneously. An announcement about that is expected this summer, McNealy said.

Sun has been a good steward of Java, McNealy said, defending the company's decision not to open it up under an open source format. "Somebody's got to be in charge or nobody is," he said. And guess who that person is? He criticised IBM for making the suggestion, pointing at IBM's own lack of open-source contributions.

McNealy defended Sun's shaky financial position, finding the stat that the company has had 22 percent year-on-year growth in server unit volumes the past three quarters. Sun is not going away, he stressed. The company has about $7.5 billion in cash in the bank and an installed base that has provided $131 billion in revenue to Sun to date.

Strong words, but Sun still posted a net loss of $760 million for its third fiscal quarter of 2004 and a net loss of $125 million for the quarter before that.

Other events at JavaOne:

  • McNealy and Sun COO Jonathan Schwartz argued that JavaCard technology used on PCs could solve the virus problem on Windows PCs by providing multi-factor authentication. "We haven't played this up a lot but no one's written a virus in Java," Schwartz said. Not yet, anyway.
  • McNealy, responding to a media question about the effects of offshore outsourcing on Java programmers, said Java already is in use all over the planet. "I don't understand what offshoring means. There's Java programming going on all over the planet," he said. Which is as good a feint as he has ever managed.
  • McNealy and Schwartz downplayed the impact of Sun's plans to provide its Solaris OS through an open source format, saying many parties are just not interested. "I haven't run into one customer that thinks we need to open-source Solaris," McNealy said. "It's a wonderful tempest in a media teapot," he added.
  • McNealy urged attendees to fight to maintain stock options, which he said may go away because of congressional action.