Shortly after releasing Java, Sun chose to open the code up, allowing thousands of developers to go to work improving it and building applications to work with it.
E-Commerce Times, Sun Hits Street With New JAVA Ticker
Outside of the world of interplanetary travel, over a decade is not a short period of time. In the world of technology, twelve years is actually a very long time. In the world of Java, not even the length of time between when Sun execs said "Java is now open source" and when Sun actually released source code was, by anyone sane's reckonings, short.
While I'm nitpicking (yes, I should be reviewing copyedits to a book, and that makes me crankier than usual), I'm really not sure about the use of the words "open" and "thousands" in that quote, either. They could go either way really.