Open Source is all about reputations, so in light of today's great annoucement about Sun finally revealing its licensing choice for open source Java, I thought I'd take a few moments to highlight some of the people who have been working for years to push this effort slowly, relentlessly forward. I'm intentionally not mentioning everyone (because I can't remember everyone), but if I did leave someone important out, please ping me and I'll fix it. Not all of these people still work at Sun, in fact some of them never did. Hey, what can I say? Sometimes it takes a village :-). Many of the folks on this list risked their jobs to carry forward the belief that Java wasn't really open until it was Open Source. Special mention to the long list of folks in the last timeline entry, who have been pulling all-nighters for the last few weeks to get it all to this point.
Should probably mention again that I'm still mourning the loss of the custom of team member attributions in the "About Box" of software programs. Up until 1997 this was a cherished practice at Apple at least. Every software release included a "credits" listing somewhere in the user interface (usually the About Box, but sometimes there was even an Easter Egg somewhere in the software with a picture of the team). IMHO this was stopped because every time software was released, everyone on the team got a recruiter cold-call. Personally I think its a crime that individual contributors aren't recognized when they contribute to something great. So, here goes. A probably imperfect list of contributors to the process that has today yielded Open Java.
Open Java Attribution Timeline
1995 June First JavaOne draws many more attendees than expected. Java is a hit! (Javasoft Team)
1996 June The start of the GCJ project at Cygnus, now Red Hat, (Per Bothner, Andrew Haley, Tom Tromey, Anthony Green added by Mark Wielaard, date edited by Per Bothner)
1996 Nov 22 Kaffee Project start (Tim Wilkinson; added by Mark Wielaard).
1998 Feb GNU Classpath 0.00 (Geoff Berry, Jim Blair, Brian Jones, Paul Fisher, Aaron Renn and John Keiser; added by Mark Wielaard)
1998 Jini Project announced, first use of SCSL license (Dick Gabriel, Emily Suter, Ingrid Van Den Hoogen, Bill Joy, Ken Arnold)
1998 Dec Alan Baratz announces Java SCSL source project in New York
1998 Dec IBM releases the Jikes source-to-bytecode compiler as its first open-source project (as noted by Dave Sheilds...still working on a list of contributor names)
1999 Feb JDK first released under SCSL (Calvin Austin, Marla Parker, Stans Kleijnen, John Kannegaard, Danese Cooper)
1999 Tomcat released to Apache (James Duncan Davidson, Jason Hunter, Jim Driscoll, Tomcat team)
2000 Pat Sueltz joins Sun as EVP of Software, hires Simon Phipps away from IBM. Kannegaard, Gosling and Mitchell move to SunLabs.
2000 Mar GNU Classpath and libgcj merge, plus the birth of the GNU Classpath exception (Anthony Green, Tom Tromey, Paul Fisher and Richard Stallman added by Mark Wielaard)
2000 NetBeans Java IDE released under Sun Public License (Brian Behlendorf, Evan Adams, Will Snow, Danese Cooper, NetBeans team)
2000 Apache joins the JCP (George Paolini)
2000 Richard Stallman speaks at internal Sun Java Technical Speaker's series and to internal Java Open Source Study Group
2001 First meeting about Apache concerns with JCP (Roy Fielding, Brian Behlendorf, James Duncan Davidson, Jason Hunter, Rob Gingell, Rich Green, Graham Hamilton, Tim Lindholm)
2001-2002 Continuous negotiations for modication of JCP rules to allow Apache to legally participate (Jason Hunter, Doug Lea, Rob Gingell, Jonathan Nimer)
2002 Mar Apache Compromise announced at JavaOne (Jason Hunter, Rob Gingell, Scott McNealy, Tracey Stout, Danese Cooper, Jim Grisanzio). Marc Fleury complains that it doesn't help JBoss.
2002 Oct Apache member for JCP changes to Geir Magnusson
2002 Pat Sueltz moves to EVP of Support, leaves Sun 1 year later
2003 Jonathan Schwartz becomes EVP of Software
2003 Aug Geronimo project (Open J2EE under ASL) begins at Apache (Geir Magnusson, Jeremy Boynes, Dain Sundstrom, Geronimo team)
2003 June java.net unveiled at JavaOne (Ingrid Van Den Hoogen, Daniel Steinberg, Nancy Abula, Tim O'Reilly, Brian Behlendorf, Danese Cooper, Dick Gabriel, Emily Suter, java.net team)
2003 Oct Linux Kongress in SaarbrÃ¼cken, Germany - Start of Kaffe and Classpath cooperation (Dalibor Topic, Mark Wielaard, Sascha Brawer added by Mark Weilaard)
2003 JSPA finally revised to allow legal compliant open source implementations of Java specifications (Cliff Allen)
2004 Richard Stallman posts the "Java Trap" article on the FSF website
2004 Jonathan Schwartz becomes COO & President of Sun, Rich Green departs for Cassatt (joining Rob Gingell)
2004 June JavaOne'04 - JAX-RPC, JAXB, JSF available under JRL/JDL. Their TCKs are available too. (added Eduardo Peligri-Llopart)
June 2004, Sun Open Sources the first part of any Java Edition: JavaServer Faces, which is part of the Java EE platform (added by Ed Burns)
2004 Nov Free Runtime Summit at MIT brings together GNUClasspath, Kaffee, Mono, Apache, RedHat, Novell, Intel, IBM, CA, Sun on the subject of the need for a Free Java (Karen Bennet, Karen Tegan at RedHat)
2005 Mar Danese Cooper leaves Sun
2005 May Harmony project (Open J2SE under ASL) begins at Apache (Geir Magnusson, Mark Weilaard, Dalibor Topic, Bruno Souza, Danese Cooper, Harmony team)
2005 June at JavaOne Sun releases its J2EE Reference Implementation as Project Glassfish under CDDL (also noted by Eduardo Peligri-Llopart)
2006 June Rich Green comes back to Sun, Jonathan Schwartz asks him onstage at JavaOne how long it will take to open source Java?
2006 June at JavaOne GlassFish ships Java EE 5 fcs (noted by Eduardo Peligri-Llopart)
2006 July Graham Hamilton and Jeff Jackson move from Java to Solaris group, Laurie Tolson takes charge of JavaLand
2006 July Peder Ulander constitutes team under Simon Phipps to support future Sun Open Source activities. Team shifts into high gear for Open Java project
2006 Nov Licensing Announcement. (Tiki Dare, Herb Hinstorff, Melissa Mograss, Alan Stern, Damien Eastwood, Chris Nadan, David Marr, Tim Bray, Ray Gans, Tom Marble, Mark Reinhold, Simon Phipps, Emily Suter, Laura Ramsey, Terri Molini, Sara Dornsife, Rich Sands, Ken Drachnik, Patrick Finch, Jean Elliott, Ingrid Van Den Hoogen, Rich Green, Jonathan Schwartz)
2007 May Apache Harmony leader Geir Magnussen posts open letter to Sun about problems Apache.org has experienced trying to negotiate access to the JCK
2007 June at JavaOne Sun announces completion of posting Java code to the OpenJDK project