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Sun Says Java Source Already Available 304

Posted by Zonk
from the wha-when dept.
mjdroner writes "In an InfoWorld article, Java CTO James Gosling says that source code for Java has been available for 10 years. Gosling claims Java is close to an open source model, though discounts Sun joining the Eclipse Foundation. He goes on to say that Eclipse's endorsement of the standard widget toolkit destroyed interoperability, saying it's based on the windows API, making it problematic to run on other platforms."
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Sun Says Java Source Already Available

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  • Oh yeah? (Score:5, Funny)

    by cosmotron (900510) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @11:36AM (#15309481) Homepage Journal
    Then where is it, behind a door that says "Beware of Leopard"?
  • by null etc. (524767) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @11:39AM (#15309520)
    Moses, come down from the mountain, please.

    Eclipse has shown that the market can indeed rally around Java optimized for Windows. Prior to SWT, remember running Together on cutting edge hardware, and the windows would still take 30 seconds to refresh? No one would tolerate the idea of running Java on Windows for Java's sake, when native apps absolutely destroyed Java apps in UI speed comparisons.

    It's time for the theoretical niceties of interoperability to meet the practical demands of customer acceptance within the Windows market.


    • Although it's possible you have a point, I cannot believe you cite Eclipse as an example - that pos halts and leaves you looking at a blank menu bar more times than I care to count. It's mere existence all but trashed what was a great user experience in Netbeans by causing them to chase the competition with the project-centric crap. Project-centric with no subprojects - utter shortsightedness.

      I don't care what anyone says - your IDE isn't supposed to limit your options for setting up a project.

      And performan
      • Although it's possible you have a point, I cannot believe you cite Eclipse as an example - that pos halts and leaves you looking at a blank menu bar more times than I care to count.

        Never had that problem with Eclipse, though Netbeans leaves me staring at my monitor waiting for something to happen often enough.

        See, this is the problem with Java's "cross-platform compatibility" spiel.

        Even on the same platform, an application may or may not work properly.

        And speaking of Sun's dedication to client side apps, le

        • Idea is pretty big too.

          Regarding eclipse being the first for refactoring support, sorry, no. They just didn't call it that before. Netbeans supported changing a file name in the same manner as the windows explorer - just select the name. Eclipse, you actually have to click the buzzword first: Refactor - rename.

          Netbeans was scuttled in release 4 - it may as well be eclipse at this point - they destroyed everything that was unique and useful about it to drop into project -centric purgatory. Their problem - th
    • by magicjava (952331) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @12:33PM (#15310133)
      Eclipse has shown that the market can indeed rally around Java optimized for Windows. I'm not trying slam SWT, but it hasn't really generated much of a market for Java desktop apps. To be fair, Swing and AWT haven't either, but your complaints about Swing being slow is a bit dated. Swing's pretty crisp these days. The problem really isn't the GUI front-end, the problem is Java as a whole has not made much of an impact on the desktop.
      • Swing is faster than it used to be, but it is still noticeably slower than native applications (or SWT, for that matter). And there are other things: for example, I cannot stand Swing applications on my notebook, because they often do not support text antialiasing at all, and those few which do, lack subpixel smoothing (Cleartype and whatnot) support. This is a serious usability issue - I find unaliased text to look extremely ugly on flat panels.
      • Yes, and the only people that are even slightly interested in using Java to create desktop applications are A) those people that are creating Java-related development tools, and B) those folks working on alternative (ie. Linux) desktop applications. However, thanks to Sun's ridiculous Java licensing Mono gets more actual use in the creation of desktop applications than Java does. SWT helps, to some extent, as it is possible today to create SWT applications that run on gcj.

        Sun is eventually going to come

        • Yes, and the only people that are even slightly interested in using Java to create desktop applications
          Not true. I do all my applications in Java, regardless wether it is Desktop or Server, and all people I know, do the same.

          are A) those people that are creating Java-related development tools, and B) those folks working on alternative (ie. Linux) desktop applications.
          I work on Mac OS X, btw ... most of my friends on linux, however.

          However, thanks to Sun's ridiculous Java licensing this is a /. myth or FU
  • WTF? (Score:2, Troll)

    by bcmm (768152)
    The article seems to have gone down before it could be mirrored, but there is an article on the same story here [tmcnet.com].

    It doesn't really seem to explain WTF they think they mean, or what they've been taking. Is there somewhere where I can just download the Java source code, modify it, and distribute it, or do I need special permission and a weird license? That's not open source. If that's what they meant by their promise to open source everything, they lied.
    • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Informative)

      That's not open source.

      From your link: "The current model for Java is close to an open source model, Gosling said." So, he's not saying it is.

      And the way that the "Open Source Community" uses the term "open source" is really beyond the plain meaning and historical usage of the term; and only makes sense if you've had your ideological briefing. Java is open source in the sense that the source code is open and accessible. It just doesn't meet the "Open Source Definition".
  • by DrXym (126579) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @11:48AM (#15309621)
    The source code to PGP is available too (for review), but it's not an open source product. Likewise, Java source may be available but it is not open source either. If GNU Classpath filched the Java runtime, you'd hear Sun screaming about it in no time.

    While I can understand Sun want to maintain control of the standard, they've got to open up the source. It sounds a little harsh considering .NET is not open at all (although MS do provide a reference version of their CLR), but it has to be done.

    Sun needs every friend they can get and putting Java into every distribution of Linux is one very good way to make a lot of friends. That means opening it up. Naturally they'd be frightened of some bastardized FrankenJava appearing, but they would still maintain the standards and the trademarks and they could enforce them. Who knows, perhaps opening the source will stimulate the platform once more.

    Another way of stimulating the platform is to embrace Eclipse & SWT. Sun may hate to admit it, but Swing sucks. It's a very nice and flexible API but in practice it sucks. Swing apps run with the grace and speed of a slug. Swing apps look weird even when attempting to look native. At least bundle SWT with the JRE and let people decide which to use. SWT has it's faults too, but it sure as hell transforms the UI experience of Java apps. Aside from SWT I cannot fathom why they won't embrace Eclipse. Eclipse makes Java development easy. The platform has been cursed with crappy tools (especially GUI editors) for too long and it will have to pull its socks up if it wants to compete with Visual Studio.


    • I'm guessing you haven't been programming Java for long. Netbeans was a great IDE until Eclipse came and muddied up the water. The process of mounting source trees and libraries was intuitive and didn't interfere with actual development.

      Eclipse blows chunks compared to the 3.5.1 netbeans. Since then though netbeans ~= Eclipse. Damn shame

      Also, have you tried running SWT on platforms other than Windows?

      And why do you say open sourcing Java is required for distribution with Linux? The only problem with Sun's l
      • I'm guessing you haven't been programming Java for long. Netbeans was a great IDE until Eclipse came and muddied up the water. The process of mounting source trees and libraries was intuitive and didn't interfere with actual development.

        I tried Netbeans and I hated it. What did I hate about it? I can't say with specificity except it tried to be different from any other IDE I've ever used and I want a comfort zone. Judging from the popularity of Eclipse, I reckon a lot of people prefer it too. I also appre

        • Doh, I meant JUnit, ant testing. I do .NET development too but that's by the by.
        • Do you remember what version of netbeans? Post 3.51 is trash. Prior to that, webapp development on it rocked.

          Netbeans autocomplete end-tags by default. In eclipse, it's a plugin. Eclipse used to "forget" that a project was scm's in cvs and I had to rebuild the project more than once. Neither support subproject any more, where netbeans used to be more forgiving about directory structures. You could mount anything.

          And don't get me started about UI development in eclipse and the "overhauled" netbeans. It used
      • Netbeans is not and never was a great IDE. I've tried every version as they came out, and they were always full of bugs, and (more importantly) completely unintuitive. That's why Eclipse is so great, it has many options, but you won't get lost. I do think that the refactoring etc. should be more context sensitive, but that's a specific design choice afaik (keeping the options there for people to find). And I simply hate Swing. I've tried running the Swing demo on my Ubuntu just now, in Gnome L&F, and it
    • When Java 6 is released, Swing will use native drawing on all supported platforms. This means under Linux, your swing apps will blend right into your gnome desktop (at least as much as SWT anyway) and on Windows I doubt any user could now distinguish a Swing app from a native app. Sun has put a lot of energy into making Swing fast and good-looking, now that the supporting Java class framework is mature.

      In fact, with Java 6 it is hard to find any compelling reason at all to build SWT apps instead of just u
      • Even a couple of years ago, Apple's customizations to Swing illustrate that Swing was capable of being a first-class GUI citizen. Apple bundles a number of Java apps that are wrapped in a nice app bundle and no one would ever know there were Java rather than some native binary.

        Except they don't have standard menus, are slow to start, scroll arrows don't work normally and tabbing doesn't behave as set in system preferences. Other than that they look pretty much native!

        Under Java 6 on Windows things

        • by ^Z (86325)
          As an everyday user of Swing apps (and specifically jEdit) I assure you that under Java 5 Swing apps *do* look native enough. I have to strain my eye to find very slight differences. Note that many native win32 apps alter their look and feel uch more, "to stand out", probably. Opera on win32 looks less "native" than most Java apps, and newer MSO apps always keep going for some new and rather alien (though cool) look and feel.
      • It isn't FUD. I'm writing an app with swing and the paint / resize delays are painful. Perhaps Java 6 will solve everything but to believe that is to ignore those same promises made with every release. Besides which Java 6 isn't even out yet.

        Swing in Java 5 uses uxtheme on XP and it looks far better than other versions, but it is still superficial compared to a native app. Elements such as the file chooser mimic the common file dialog but behave nothing like the real thing at all. A simple demonstration w

    • MOD PARENT DOWN! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by javacowboy (222023)
      The parent is a troll (possibly an IBM troll).

      Sun paid tons of money and spent years writing the class libraries. Why should they give their work away for free? They license this code to IBM, Oracle and BAE for a significant sum. Why should they give up this revenue?

      Sun has changed the licensing for the JRE to allow it to more easily be integrated into Linux distros. The parent is either ignorant of that fact or deliberately omitting it.

      Sun is less likely to maintain to maintain the standard if they ope
    • The platform has been cursed with crappy tools (especially GUI editors) for too long and it will have to pull its socks up if it wants to compete with Visual Studio.

      I find what you say there interesting. I've used vi then Netbeans in the early days, and Eclipse exclusively for the past two. Recently I had to pick up Visual Studio 2005 to do some .dot and VB hacking of some existing code we had in the office.

      I was not impressed. It completely lacks features that I use almost every five minutes in Eclipse

    • by gluteus (307087) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @01:06PM (#15310522)
      Like just about ANY toolkit, a lot depends on the ability of the developer using it. You can write lousy Swing apps, but if you know what you're doing, you can also write a pretty good one too. You might well argue that it's too difficult to write a good Swing app, but don't conclude from your failures that everyone is doomed.

      One thing that too many people here don't appreciate is that what Sun set out to do is almost impossible to get right the first time. Think about it, a cross platform, highly customizable GUI toolkit that mimics the look and feel of every platform it runs on. With one very major player (MS) set to break it.

      Look at what Apple did with Swing. A Swing app running on OS X can look almost like a native app, without breaking cross platform compatibility, because Apple EMBRACED Java and Swing. What would have happened if Microsoft did the same thing?
  • BUT!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gameforge (965493) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @11:54AM (#15309692) Journal
    I enjoy scrolling up and down 15,000 line source code files as much as the next guy. That's why it's so much fun to look at the GCC sources.

    Occasionally, it's actually useful to see how someone implemented something, for educational purposes.

    But can I modify it, make it work on my new OS and processor and sell it without paying royalties? Maybe, distribute it under the GPL so it can come with FOS OS' in a truly free sense?

    Having source code isn't everything. Back in the old days, there was always source code for everything; UNIX on any of twelve or so different platforms wasn't binary compatible, but source compatible. So if you wanted to make a program and sell it, like PeachTree (yeah it's that old), you HAD to distribute the source code. Otherwise, you'd either have to distribute dozens of different binaries or stick with a single platform, which wasn't profitable.

    It was copyright infringement to make money by changing the code and selling it... and you couldn't give any of it away to someone who didn't have a license to it. And even if you did make modifications, you couldn't use them when the next release came out unless you ported them over each time.

    There's a difference between something being OpenSource and just having the source. Even if it's a free product like Java.

    What can you legally do with it? What separates it from being truly open source? I'd read the article, but it seems /.'d at the moment.
    • What differentiates Java from open source?

      You are not allowed to create your own Java and your own Java distributable unless it's Java certified. This prevents malicious entities from destroying the Java platform by fragmenting it. It's worked on Microsoft.
      • It's worked on Microsoft.

        No it didn't.. MS took their J++ toolkit and java runtime/ JIT (which historically was the best out there) and refactored it as .NET.

        Now the industry is HUGELY fragmented. Previously there were MS VB,C++ programmers, UNIX C,C++ programmers, web finatics including perl, python, lisp, php and various ASP. And finally you had EJB programmers (which could have been a combination of any of the above).

        Now we are back to solid windows-only solutions (.NET) and UNIX only solutions (java).
    • Not to get into a semantic war, but I think you're confusing FOSS (Free Open Source Software) with plain old OSS (Open Source Software). I believe the difference is in what you're describing
      • Well, I'm no expert on source code licensing, but I always take OSS to be the 'free' kind (like Linux). The word 'open' kind of has an up-in-the-air meaning these days, like with Open*L or OpenSuSE, both of which are 'Open' in a 'Free' kind of way. I look at Java as a pay-for product that comes with the source code (like many smaller libraries and applications), except that the product costs $0.00 and thus you can have it and the source code for nothing.

        But if what you say is politically/semantically corr
  • This is great news, I always wanted to remove that pesky garbage collector....
  • "It's been there for years," Sun CTO Ned Baker replied, "just grep your /java/bin directory for the string 'malloc(all);' and you'll find it."
  • by fm6 (162816) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @12:17PM (#15309954) Homepage Journal
    Half the issue here is that everybody (including the Slashdot editors, natch, but a lot of other folks as well) is very sloppy with the terms "Java" and "Open Source"

    Java is not the Java Development Kit, or any other specific peice of software. To Sun, "Java" is a trademark, so they can't even use it as a noun. But the rest of us can get by with thinking of Java as a collection of specifications: the Java language, the Java class libraries, and the Java VM spec. None of these is software — software can only be a implementation of Java.

    That might seem like a silly distinction, until you remember that Sun is not the only vendor for Java implementations. Not only are there commercial implementations, but there are open source implementations of all [gnu.org] three [sourceforge.net], specs [kaffe.org]. Of course, these all lag way behind commercial implementations, as open source clones are wont to do.

    Anyway, when people say "Sun should open-source Java" what they really mean is "Sun should open-source their implementation of Java."

    Which brings us to:

    "Open source" is not software where the source code is freely available. It software where you can obtain the source code provided you agree to a license. That license specifies that you must make any changes to that source code available to anybody else who agrees to the same license.

    And here's a non-legal issue: if you're serious about making your product open-source, you don't just throw the source code over the wall and say "go crazy!" You make a serious attempt to fold contributed code back into your main source tree. That's a serious administrative cost, and a big reason so many companies are unwilling to OS their products.

    • by Raul654 (453029) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @12:42PM (#15310252) Homepage
      "Open source" is not software where the source code is freely available. It software where you can obtain the source code provided you agree to a license. That license specifies that you must make any changes to that source code available to anybody else who agrees to the same license. - This is not true. An open source licenses is one that lets you freely copy, distribute, and merge the code into your own projects. There are a number of open source licenses that do not attach themselves to derivative works, such as the Berkeley and MIT licenses (which are even freer than the GPL, in the sense that they have fewer strings attached)
    • Funny how someone who tells us to define our terms uses the WRONG definitions! You are describing "copyleft" which is s subset of Open Source. Much of Open Source software has no requirement that you agree to a license, no requirement that you give back, no requirement to make changes available. X.org is one example. Apache is another. FreeBSD and cousins are yet more examples.

      If the source code is freely available to use as you want, then the software is Open Source. Java is not Open Source because you can
    • That license specifies that you must make any changes to that source code available to anybody else who agrees to the same license.
      You have been misinformed.

      If you DISTRIBUTE your changes, you must also supply your source changes.

      You're perfectly free to keep your changes private.

      • You have been misinformed.

        If you DISTRIBUTE your changes, you must also make your source changes available.

        It's a subtle distinction, but you don't have to supply the source; you have to supply the source on request. That request could well be an FTP, HTTP or CVS connection, for example, but the implication of what you said is that you have to ship source with binaries, which is not the case. (Of course it's often easier to do so, but it's your choice).
    • Thanks for trying, but as it's already been pointed out, open source licenses don't tend to place any restrictions on obtaining or using the code. You need only to agree to the license in order to redistribute.

      The GPL goes so far as to explicitly state as much.

      Anyhow, on to your main point, I think most people around here believe that having a complete, open source implementation of the latest version of the Java specs would be extremely beneficial to Java and the Java community as a whole. So, we can't q
  • Although Sun has been generous with their source and created great opportunities for clever developers, Java has generated the need for a new cross platform OO language. The decision to implement generisity using type erasure has irrepairably damaged the run-ime integrity of the language. This will become more and more apparent as people become better aquanted with the new specification. Hopefully the open source community will build on the experience gained through working with Java to create a new truly t
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yes, Java is opensource.
    In fact you can get the source code, if you accept to sign a licence restricting you to distribute a modified version or reuse the code elsewhere.

    So basicaly: the source is availabile (it's opensource) but not reusable freely (it's not free software).

    Sun executives often do this confusion when interpreting the F/OSS calls for a free java.

    Meanwhile, linux distributors don't make the same mistake: that's why (java being considered non-free) you won't find the Sun jdk/jre in the redistr
  • I have no problems with SWT-using apps like Eclipse and Azureus on GNU/Linux for either x86 or x86-64.
  • What language is it written in ? Thanks.
  • by bill_kress (99356) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @03:42PM (#15312240)


    Java developers, meanwhile, want to preserve interoperability and reliability, which is maintained by the current rules governing Java, Gosling said. To be certified as Java-compliant, software most undergo a test suite.

    "They really like the fact that we're very compulsive about the whole testing thing," Gosling said.


    Exactly. I think that the people calling for Java to be open sourced don't get the concept. Honestly, I think they must all be either people who are against java just because they have a platform they prefer (A very common occurrence among engineers) or they are trying to destroy the advantages of Java (Simplicity, slow and deeply considered addition of new features, compatibility) in order to make it easier to sell a competing product.

    The fact is, nothing will be gained from open-sourcing Java that you can't get by evolving the existing license (for instance, sun is modifying it to be able to ship the JDK with other products). On the other hand, much will be lost. Sun has been a creator and beneficial guardian of this language, and has crafted it into something that many users just love.

    Now, many people don't need Java. For instance, if you are making a smallish website, you are just stupid if you try to use java--use ROR or .net technologies that just slide together.

    However, if you have a project with an architect, a handful of software engineers and dozens of programmers working on a huge code base at the same time I don't think you can pick a better platform.

    If you are not in java's target audience, please SHUT THE HELL UP about it having to be open source. You don't have to feel bad about java not being appropriate for you! I give you permission to go use a scripting type of tool and solve your problem much quicker, but don't try to mold my favorite tool into something that fits your job just because it has a cool name and you think you should be using it because everyone else is.

    Those of us who really need java like it pretty much as it is--slow intelligent improvements, fewer terse, confusing or overloaded language features and a large number of users more interested in making readable/reusable code (as opposed to the users who just want to get the job done with write-once code). Overall it's just a good, solid, readable language, leave it at that.
    • by Ozwald (83516) on Friday May 12, 2006 @12:10AM (#15315459)
      Clearly you're as clueless as Sun.

      Why is everybody say "it works on my version of Linux"? What about the BSDs? Smart phones? Embedded devices? My own crackpot system using vacuum tubes? We don't want it all open source, all we want is the C code opened, changable, and distributable. The stuff that's platform dependant. Give me this, and I'll know that your JSP web page will work on my server (which it doesn't).

      Sun: You said you had a write-once-run-everywhere platform. Well? Where the hell is it? Do you really think we want the source so we can screw it up? We want what you promised, write once, run on my platform. And as long as I cannot build it for my platform, then it's of no friggen use. And no, you can't make OSS and third parties fill in the gaps, that's when you get the write-once-test-everywhere/lowest common demoninator fiasco that we have now.

      Oz

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