It’ll be very good that the Java trap won’t exist any more. It will be a thing of the past.
I have spent the majority of the last seven years working in Java and am currently involved in a tech startup that is using Java to model its business processes. From my perspective Java’s license is rather irrelevant – whether it is JCP or GPL – the cost of implementation to me will remain the same. In other words GPLing it won’t make it more free to me. It was already unrestricted enough for my purposes.
Opensource is important. I have always found great business value in repositories such as Apache’s jakarta, db, ant, etc which has opensource libraries for a huge range of common business problems. Since nearly all development work I have done is server side the differences between licences, such as BSD or GPL, have not been an issue.
Opensource’s main value is in the organisation of production. Open-source is so efficient a production mechanism it reduces the margins in that area of the economy to $0 – effectively wiping out those markets. Browsers are a good example. I can recall paying $40 for Netscape’s browser. Ten years later I have the choice of multiple browsers, both opensource and proprietary, as well as the half-half ones like Apple’s Safari: and none of them dare charge me for the browser software itself.
There was a time when large amounts of money had to be paid for compilers and libraries. That day is long past. Languages, compilers and supporting libraries have become a commodity market. There is now a flood of powerful opensource languages with feature full libraries. Maybe Sun is just catching up to market realities by changing Java to opensource.
I suspect the benefit for majority of Java users will get from opensourcing Java is in the production methodology. That will be a second-order effect which is transparent to the end-user. From my point of view as a developer, I will be watching closely but at this point, I cannot see any changes I will need to take in my approach to Java.