07 March 2007

Sun's Darkstar Joins the GPL Light Side

Sun continues its progress through the ranks of open source supporters, hurtling fast towards top-spot as Richard Stallman's Number 1 friend. The latest move is the open sourcing of its Project Darkstar:

Sun Microsystems, Inc. announced plans today at the 2007 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco to open source Project Darkstar, a ground-breaking online game server platform written entirely in Java technology, at the 2007 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The company also announced the opening of registration for the Darkstar Playground, which will enable developers to create a wide variety of games that can be provisioned through a single server platform.


"Project Darkstar is proving to be an important technology foundation in the exploding multiplayer online game marketplace," said Chris Melissinos, chief gaming officer, Sun Microsystems. "By open sourcing Darkstar technology, we will help enable the widest possible market for online game developers and remove their burden of having to build enterprise-grade server solutions, leaving them to do what they do best—build great game experiences."

Game developers can download the latest version of Project Darkstar at www.projectdarkstar.com. This new release of Project Darkstar features a simpler programming interface for increased productivity; plug-in APIs to facilitate integration of third party extensions; and enhancements for scalability , robust performance, and fault-tolerant operation. The source code for Project Darkstar will become available under a GPL license in the coming months

Aside from underlining Sun's support for the GPL, this announcement is also interesting for the light that it shines on the increasingly mainstream nature of online games. The fact that Sun has such a project is surprising, but open-sourcing it makes a lot of sense in an increasingly competitive market. For one thing, it bolsters Java, which stands at a critical juncture in its development. If Sun can build up enough momentum behind it, Java could well enjoy something of a second coming.

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