RMS, previously, on Sun freeing java

Alex Hudson home at alexhudson.com
Thu Nov 16 07:44:43 UTC 2006

On Wed, 2006-11-15 at 20:59 +0000, Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:
> Stefano Maffulli <stef at zoomata.com> writes:
> > Would it make sense /business wise/ not to release the rest of the code?
> If they have a product with 10 parts, they might want to continue their
> current business model with that product.  So they might free 9 parts and
> keep one token part proprietary.

>From what I've read, it's certain that not all of the Java standard API
will be GPL'd : there will be holes because Sun don't have all the
rights to code. 

However, what is being suggested is that Java SE 6 will be shipped more
or less as-is (this is the next release being prepared, and is
apparently almost ready), while Java SE 7 (which is what is being GPL'd)
would be entirely Free - requiring the "holes" to be filled in.

It will take time for the stack, as shipped by Sun for production use,
comes with equivalent source code. We're probably talking a couple of
years, if we're honest, but I don't see anything on their roadmap which
suggests a medium/long term Free/proprietary mix. So, you could rightly
celebrate this at a number of points: the initial announcement, the
release of the standard VM, the release of the runtime API, the release
of a production version based on Free code - it's just different points
on the road.

It's a bit like when they released StarOffice: the first few releases of
OpenOffice.org and StarOffice were quite different, based on different
code and with different abilities. Over time, that's changed, and
StarOffice is now built from OpenOffice.org, and the proprietary parts
have been replaced by Free alternatives. There are still odd proprietary
bits - a migration wizard, for example - but the trend is pretty

I'm hopeful that this whole process will be a lot quicker with Java too,
since the system is much smaller compared to OOo, and there are already
people working on similar systems - I think community involvement will
be a lot stronger.



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