James Gosling and Graham Hamiliton introduced modifications to the Java platform’s licensing structure and terms on Wednesday. The main change is the introduction of the JRL, Java Research License which is geared to supporting contributions to the Java language from the community. It’s still not open source as Sun is still in control, but it’s opening the door for some flexibility at least.
I personally don’t think that Sun should release Java as open source – to do so would introduce the possibility of the language branching in many different directions. Although initially this may seem like a good idea to encourage innovation, at the same time you would end up with a platform with many incompatibilities, and the great benefits of Java (write once, run anywhere) would be gone.