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Sun Microsystems

Red Hat Not Satisfied with Sun's New Java License 338

Posted by Zonk
from the talking-coffee-related-smack dept.
twofish writes "According to a Register article Sun Microsystems' new GNU/Linux-friendly Java license does not go far enough for Red Hat. Brian Stevens, Red Hat CTO, says Sun should have open-sourced Java instead. The new license does have the support of Canonical (main Ubuntu sponsor), Gentoo and Debian." From the article: "He says the failure to open-source Java means that it can't be used on millions of $100, Linux-powered PCs envisioned under Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child project, to bring affordable computing to children in developing nations. Negroponte wants only open source software on the machines, according to Red Hat, which is a member of the project."
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Red Hat Not Satisfied with Sun's New Java License

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  • by nebaz (453974) * on Friday May 19, 2006 @04:31PM (#15368999)
    This may not be a popular sentiment here, but I think the statement the failure of open source Java
    means that it can't be used on millions of $100, Linux-powered PC's ... to bring affordable computing
    to children in developing nations
    is a bit of a cheap shot. The way it is stated, it makes Sun look
    like some sort of terrible ogre, that is denying children access to computers, when it is the program
    creator that does not allow Java on the laptops.

    It is similar to the argument people make saying "corporations that make genetically modified food
    are causing people in Africa to starve", in countries that forbid the import of genetically modified
    food. The policy, not the companies making the food, are what is causing the lack of that particular
    food to be used.

    Don't get me wrong, it would be great if Sun made Java open source, but what they have now is not evil.
    The software is free as in beer to use, and as such would add no more cost to the laptops, if installed, it would just conflict
    with the philosophy of the program's founder.

    Also, if you want to write your own JVM, Sun has written books [sun.com] to let you do just that.
    It is not an easy project, it is similar to JBoss in complexity, but JBoss was written. If the CTO at
    RedHat was that concerned about Java not being on the laptops, he could have part of his company work
    on an open source JVM implementation. That company has a lot of resources, and would be more able
    to manage a project of that complexity than several freelance developers in their free time.

    • The way it is stated, it makes Sun look like some sort of terrible ogre, that is denying children access to computers, when it is the program creator that does not allow Java on the laptops.

      Exactly. It's a bit vindictive to say "Sun is preventing kids from running Java", when there is nothing preventing them from freely distributing Java with every kid's laptop, other than their open source only rule that was arbitrarily made by themselves.

      From TFA:
      Negroponte wants only open source software on the machines
      • I am thinking that Negroponte probably doesn't really care, Redhat on the other hand would benefit from a open source java....in this situation I don't see why Redhat/Negroponte are being so anal about it...
      • by masklinn (823351) <`slashdot.org' `at' `masklinn.net'> on Friday May 19, 2006 @05:14PM (#15369309)
        I think the funniest part is that the license seems to have Debian's support... and the Debian guys are just about the "worst" OSS zealots (in Stallman's sense of OSS) you can find, I'd like to get more infos of that from guys who read it but if the debian-legal madmen have endorsed or considered Java's new license "good enough"... duh...
        • by KiloByte (825081) on Friday May 19, 2006 @05:34PM (#15369414)
          No, no one of those "debian-legal madmen" you're talking about endorses that license. In fact, only a single person (although it's the DPL) dared to say that it's acceptable for Debian's non-free section, and even then after a personal meeting with a Sun's person on the DebConf.

          The license has pretty few clauses that are good enough even for non-free; on the other hand, those "zealots" you're bashing typically have problems with one or two issues per license. Sun's piece of crap is actually worse than their previous license.
        • by SnowZero (92219) on Friday May 19, 2006 @05:45PM (#15369475)
          Here's the discussion [debian.org] about it on debian-legal. The new debian package for Sun's Java(tm) is intended to go into non-free, indicating they don't think it's really open source. Furthermore, it seems the debian-legal people were not consulted first, and they are not happy with the license even for a non-free package.
      • I'd be intrigued as to what definition of open-source Negroponte is working to - i.e. is he saying GPL only?

        We know he has rejected free-beer closed source software (i.e. OS X), but it's a bit misleading to describe Sun's licence as 'closed-source'. It's not a binary blob (like many video drivers). You're free to study it, and you're free to implement your own; you could build a computer on a new kind of CPU and OS and compile up a version of the JVM without having to ask Sun's permission. To me that ticks
      • Sadly, the Linux community is sometimes blinded by zealotry in cases like this.

        You had me up until this.
        The community isn't a hive mind. In this case only Mr. Negroponte's opinion here may or may not be considered zealotry because he's made his opinion public.

        Sure it would be great if it was open source, but plenty of linux user's like myself are ok installing software like Sun's VM.

        Sweeping generalizations of millions of individuals are 100% subjective by nature.
        The only thing we know about the linux
      • All the comments in this thread so far have ignored the issue of software redistribution. The audience for the $100 laptop needs to be able to obtain and redistribute all its software freely. For instance, having a place (in a school, a Internet cafe, etc.) where you can connect this laptop and install anything it needs. That won't work unless all the software permits unlimited redistribution with no strings attached.
    • I absolutely agree. In fact, I was just about to post just about exactly what you did (but I won't, for fear of being modded redundant :->)

      The only reason I can see why Negroponte would practically prefer OSS over proprietary software - aside from cost, which for Java isn't an issue - is the ability to modify the source, if necessary.

      Flat out rejecting the use of proprietary software (I apologize if I'm misrepresenting his views..) just because it's not open source (ie. if the software already functions
      • by AuMatar (183847) on Friday May 19, 2006 @04:53PM (#15369178)
        I disagree. The idea is to help raise the third world up, not keep them dependant on the first world. By only giving them free software, we give them the ability to make changes, to adapt the technology to their needs. It also gives them an entrance into the IT market, one of the few tech areas that can be entered into with no formal training and done from anywhere in the world. These are very good reasons to say OSS only. If Java wants to be a player there, that up to them. But OSS only is the right option for the laptop program.
        • By only giving them free software, we give them the ability to make changes, to adapt the technology to their needs. It also gives them an entrance into the IT market

          I'd agree with most of that but see no need for the "only" part. Give them OSS. However, I'd think the goal of such a project would be to expose them to technology. The more you can expose them to, the better of they are. If they want to make changes, etc and learn how to do all that then great they can do that with the OSS provided, but
        • by samkass (174571) on Friday May 19, 2006 @05:51PM (#15369503) Homepage Journal
          By only giving them free software, we give them the ability to make changes, to adapt the technology to their needs.

          That's a good argument, but not a good one for *only* giving them free software. What about the idea of giving them the best tool for the job? Wouldn't that that raise them up a bit? Such as a copy of Eclipse running on Java? Or do you want them to be stuck in emacs/C++ land, thinking that will help "raise the third world up" faster?

          It also gives them an entrance into the IT market

          The absolute BEST way to do THAT would be to load Windows on these machines.

          No, the open source rule is arbitrary, petty, and will ultimately hurt the recipients of these machines.
          • You don't need Sun's official Java to run Eclipse. Eclipse runs just fine using a Free Software JVM. Debian and Fedora both have packages where Eclipse is designed to run that way. Not that Eclipse is likely to run well on the sort of hardware that Negroponte is planning. Emacs, on the other hand, would run just fine on these machines. In fact, if you are willing to use SWT instead of Swing then you can create software that runs well on Free Software JVMs today. Just don't call what you are writing Ja

            • There is no way you can call Eclipse Not Java just because it uses the available Java facilities to interface with the local OS. Eclipse runs in a sun JVM. Anything that is running in a sun JVM is definitely Java.

              I agree that Sun is protecting their Java trademark. They have to after what MS pulled trying to kill off Java. I think they do go further than they really have to with it though.
          • That's a good argument, but not a good one for *only* giving them free software. What about the idea of giving them the best tool for the job?

            What will be the best tool for the job in 5 years? In 20 years? Will Sun still be developing Java for Linux in that amount of time? If so, will it be compatible with these $100 laptops (which will probably not be replaced until the equipment wears out completely)?

            Free software is the best tool for the job when your job has very long-term goals, and Negroponte k

    • Does anyone know exactly what problems Red Hat has with the new Java license? How can Debian, Debian(!) of all distros, support it and not Red Hat?

      • As far as I can tell, Debian doesn't have an official stance on the licensing yet, and debian-legal is quite unimpressed with it. The package was accepted into unstable/non-free prematurely, and has a good chance of being withdrawn soon. The article alleges support that really isn't there.
    • by jbailey999 (146222) on Friday May 19, 2006 @04:50PM (#15369164) Homepage
      Uhh.. Redhat *does* work on a Free Java stack. Look at the commits to http://www.classpath.org/ [classpath.org] and that almost all of the gcj work is done by RedHat folks.
    • I hate to say it, but how the heck do they expect Java apps to run well on this $100 laptop anyway? I like Java, my company works mostly in Java, but it can be a resource hog. How is it that they would even want to run it on these stripped down machines?
      • If I'm not mistaken, the $100 laptop has low CPU power but 1 gig of RAM. Would java run on it? Depends on the java program -- if it requires much CPU, no, but it's RAM-dependent, yes.
    • "Don't get me wrong, it would be great if Sun made Java open source, but what they have now is not evil."

      Is it non-Free? Yes? Then it is evil. I'm not RMS, I don't even practice what I preach (I dual-boot Windows and Fedora), but an ideal is at least something to hold on to and strive for.

      Free as in freedom is the way to go. Don't accept anything less as the optimal solution - doing so just leads us further down the path where Free software becomes the exception, not the norm.

      -Erwos (displaying his idealist
    • It is similar to the argument people make saying "corporations that make genetically modified food are causing people in Africa to starve", in countries that forbid the import of genetically modified food.

      Ever heard of terminator seeds? Seen any of the research about how they can spread to contaminate non-patented crops? Corporations that make GM food are causing people in Africa to starve whether countries allow the import of their crops or not.

  • by sfjoe (470510) on Friday May 19, 2006 @04:33PM (#15369015)
    Sun never said the new license was the final step. Contrarily, they said they are going to progress slowly:
    "No date has been set for open sourcing Java but Sun is anxious to get more developers involved in the JCP and using NetBeans to get their feedback."
    What's this bonehead complaining about?
    • Sun never said the new license was the final step. Contrarily, they said they are going to progress slowly:
      Twelve years and counting...
    • by sbrown123 (229895) on Friday May 19, 2006 @07:28PM (#15369933) Homepage
      I take their (Sun's) message as not a tentative step but rather a step to see when, or if, the OSS community will bite. They will also probably do something like they did with OpenOffice and make developers agree to a JCA in order to contribute code. If you are not familiar with this contract I'll summarize it for you: it legally negates the LGPL that comes with OpenOffice, prevents forking, and allows Sun to close source the codebase and claim all work as sole IP owner. People are sometimes so blinded by their hate for Microsoft that they ignore that Sun is really just a competitor that wants to be more of the same.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19, 2006 @04:33PM (#15369019)
    I guess it's a good thing they won't run Java.
  • by NSash (711724) on Friday May 19, 2006 @04:34PM (#15369020) Journal
    "He says the failure to open-source Java means that it can't be used on millions of $100, Linux-powered PCs envisioned under Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child project, to bring affordable computing to children in developing nations. Negroponte wants only open source software on the machines, according to Red Hat, which is a member of the project."

    Well then that's Negroponte's problem, not Sun's. There's nothing in Sun's license that would prevent someone from bundling the JVM with whatever hardware you please.
  • by Tester (591)
    I suppose Debian has only accepted it into non-free?
  • by ZSpade (812879) on Friday May 19, 2006 @04:34PM (#15369022) Homepage
    Not a Charity. I think it would be fantastic if they opened up for everyone. But they have to look out for ol' number one first, or there won't be any Sun at all. I'm sure they could make it work though, this just isn't their priority, and shouldn't have to be. Red hat may not be happy with it, but last time I checked, Redhat's glee doesn't fill Sun's coffers.
    • I think it would be fantastic if they opened up for everyone. But they have to look out for ol' number one first, or there won't be any Sun at all.
      OK, so explain how making the binary available as a no-charge download contributes more money to their bottom line than releasing it as open source or free software would.
      • explain how making the binary available as a no-charge download

        For the last time, Java has the source available [java.net]. It just isn't "Free Software" in the sense that you can't release your own binaries or fork the code.
        • For the last time, Java has the source available. It just isn't "Free Software"

          Yes, so please explain again how it will hurt Sun's bottom line to go the extra step of making it open source. They've gone more than halfway there, but they're not going to get the real benefits of open source without finishing the job.

          in the sense that you can't release your own binaries or fork the code.

          In other words, it's not even CLOSE to being open source. Being able to release your own binaries is one of the s

      • Easy, they still hold the exclusive license this way. No matter what anyone does with it, it still belongs to them, and so they hold a level of control over their product. I could be wrong, maybe I'm misunderstanding, but I'm sure I'll be corrected if so. That's the beauty of posting at slashdot. If you post something in the wrong, you will no doubt be corrected, and learn.
  • Honesty? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19, 2006 @04:34PM (#15369027)
    Okay ... Redhat is a competitor to Sun. Redhat is supporting an alternative Java implementation. Doesn't that make it likely Redhat has a slanted viewpoint, and would be presenting a slanted viewpoint?
    • Redhat isn't trying to make money on alternative Java implementations. They're doing it because the Sun implementation isn't available to them under licensing terms they are willing to accept. If Sun's Java license were open source (or better yet, free software), Redhat would likely not be investing nearly as much money and effort to develop an alternative.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19, 2006 @04:35PM (#15369040)
    Java technology is still free to download and develop against. Why exactly does it not being fully OSS prevent it from being on these laptops? It sounds to me like another example of OSS zealots taking their passions too far. You're going to prevent technology from being put in the hands of those in need, just because you don't agree with their license?
    • by bjarvis354 (319402) on Friday May 19, 2006 @07:46PM (#15370014) Homepage
      Obviously you haven't ever tried to install Java on GNU/Linux running on anything else that an x86. The real reason is that as long as Java license is so restritive as to only allow it to be distributed as binary only, it will suck using it on other archs...funny since it was promised as the solution...remember "write once, run anywhere"?
    • by kosmosik (654958)
      Because you've already sayed it - *still*. It is stil free for download. But it is *possible* to cease that - and that is why it is not compilant. Because you are dependent on one vendor. Point.

      Free or not - same like being pregnant - you are or you are not. Java is not (free).
  • I seriously doubt (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rbanffy (584143) on Friday May 19, 2006 @04:36PM (#15369046) Homepage Journal
    I seriously doubt the current implementation of Java would fit inside a 400 MHz x86 computer that's designed more to be energy-efficient and small than to be fast.

    If Java is to run on the OLPC computer, it needs a smaller, simpler implementation. Sun provides all information neccessary to build one. It's up to Red Hat or any one other than them to make it.

    And, BTW, teaching Java to kids?! What do you want? To scare them away?
    • "And, BTW, teaching Java to kids?! What do you want? To scare them away?" Yeah, teach them C++ instead.
    • Perhaps they could use a subset of the Java libraries? If J2ME could run on several kilobytes on a mobile phone, what prevents another API subset to work on the specs you mentioned?

      Java on the OLPC computer makes a lot of sense. That way the organizers can use any hardware and software configuration, ( even change the HW and SW in future models if they find cheaper alternatives) and not worry about re-developing applications. also, tons of educational Java applets would be instantly available to the new mac
    • Re:I seriously doubt (Score:2, Informative)

      by bill_kress (99356)
      Except for certain math co-processor functions used for 3-d graphics, Java is rarely less than 50% as fast as C and often significantly faster.

      If that seems counter-intuitive, consider that java compiles into machine code (at run time) that is run time-optimized.

      For instance, if it notices that it's frequently calling a series of functions with a certain set of values and those functions don't change state, it could calculate the return and skip calling the function altogether.

      Although that may not be an ex
      • Java is rarely less than 50% as fast as C and often significantly faster.

        This claim is made in every Java-related thread. In fact, with every thread, the claim gets more extravagant. You're the first person I've seen assert that it is often faster, or significantly faster.

        So, where's the proof, please? Which scientific, peer-reviewed study are you referring to that demonstrates that Java is "often significantly faster" than C?

        All I see in your post is fantastic claims supported by fast talking and handwa
        • by rpdillon (715137) * on Friday May 19, 2006 @06:38PM (#15369705) Homepage
          I read GP's post as saying that it was rarely less than 50% as fast as C, and often significantly faster [than 50% as fast as C].

          Which is to say, Java is typically somewhere between 50%-100% the speed of C. Specifically, this would mean it is typcially NOT as fast as C.

          Not sure what you were saying, but this seems to be a _very_ reasonable claim, and perhaps a bit conservative. You can certainly craft some scenarios where Java could be faster, and I expect Java to typically be faster than half the speed of C.

          Even in the java benchmark revisited, where the author is out to prove a point that Java is slow, Java performs fairly well (often better than 50% as fast as C using g++), and even sometimes being the fastest or in a dead heat with C (methcall and heapsort). This completely ignores that Java's performance will often be best in more complex applications, when it's own internal optimization can really pay off. Certainly, there are likewise instances where Java can be shown to be much slower than C as well.

          Anyway, I can see your point in general, but I think so all the "extravagant claims about Java peroformance posts" to respond to, you picked the wrong one.

  • Debian? (Score:3, Informative)

    by TopSpin (753) * on Friday May 19, 2006 @04:38PM (#15369059) Journal
    The /. post mentions "support" from Debian, Ubuntu and Gentoo, but nothing more. A press release [sun.com] from Sun contains a quote from Anthony Towns:

    "We are really pleased to see Sun's increasing involvement in the free software community, from the opening of the Solaris Operating System source and now the re-licensing of Java technology to be compatible with GNU/Linux distributions, and are looking forward to building stronger ties with the Sun community in the future", said Anthony Towns, Debian Project Leader.

    Marketing speak from Debian? Anyhow, it does confirm that Debian is convinced this is open enough "to be compatible."

  • by Eric Smith (4379) * <eric AT brouhaha DOT com> on Friday May 19, 2006 @04:41PM (#15369083) Homepage Journal
    This license isn't even remotely "GNU/Linux friendly". It's neither "open source" nor "free software". It's "The Emperor's New License". Sun wants to have their cake and eat it too; they want the benefits of open source without actually opening the source.
    • by 0xABADC0DA (867955) on Friday May 19, 2006 @04:59PM (#15369219)
      Well if you actually RTFA, Red Hat wants to hack the JVM so that it supports real-time features. So in other words, they want their own Red Hat Realtime Java fork. Wtf up with that? Sun gives them a distributable Java and they say they also need to hack up their own version of it.

      It sounds like Red Hat has it's cake, now it wants to eat Sun's too. Me, I just want emerge not to bail when it gets to java.
      • Well if you actually RTFA, Red Hat wants to hack the JVM so that it supports real-time features.

        What's wrong with Red Hat wanting to add real-time features?

        So in other words, they want their own Red Hat Realtime Java fork.

        So?

        If the hypothetical Red Hat version passed the Java conformance testing, they could call it Java. If it didn't, they'd have to call it something else. Either way it doesn't hurt Sun.

        It's entirely possible that Red Hat might do a good job of it, and Sun might choose to inclu

    • It's neither "open source" nor "free software"
      The Stallmans (and apparently Nicholas Negropontes) of the world aside, it STILL, and always has, counted as free-as-in-beer.

      Jeezus, people, get over this self-righteous trip about source code. As an SE, I appreciate having source code available, but will in general just run what works.

      And that best describes 99.999% of the planet - They don't care about your BS philosophies. They just want a cool app to edit their digital pictures. A solitaire clone.
      • by Eric Smith (4379) * <eric AT brouhaha DOT com> on Friday May 19, 2006 @05:21PM (#15369339) Homepage Journal
        Jeezus, people, get over this self-righteous trip about source code. As an SE, I appreciate having source code available, but will in general just run what works.
        That's EXACTLY why it would be better for it to be open source (or free software). Then we could actually hack together a working Java plugin for Linux on 64-bit Athlon64/Opteron platforms, since Sun is apparently unwilling to do so. That's just ONE example of how the current closed-source JDK is deficcient but could be fixed if it was open source.
  • I mean, I know why, but it's going to run like shit. I'm not saying that Java programs are slow or anything, but running Java on top of your OS is just adding weight and complexity, and we're talking about systems with extremely minimal specifications anyway. The machines don't need to run every program out there and Java on the web (as transmitted to browsers) is likely losing importance what with the whole AJAX thing.

    Just the windows install for the latest JRE is 7.1 MB. That's the compressed package. It probably blows up to be twice that size. Java also has some noticable memory consumption overhead. Is it worth it on more capable systems? Sure. Is it worth it on this little toy computer? Hell no.

    • You're basically responding to Java as it was originally marketed years ago: web-distributed and "write once run anywhere". Nobody believes that shit anymore, not even Sun. Nowadays, Java is just a software platform.

      You attitude towards the "weight and complexity" of Java is also out of date. Early versions of Java had a reputation (deserved, alas) for being bloated and slow. But nowadays, the Java runtime isn't any heavier or more complex than most of the runtimes you need to run most of the software out

      • You will need the C and C++ runtimes to run any decent selection of non-GUI software, so they will be there anywhere. Is there any software considered a must-have on a linux system that requires Java that would run acceptably on that hardware? there's a lot of Azureus fans out there but these things don't have any storage to speak of and Azureus is slow on just about any system...
        • The real point is this:

          Why would the $100 laptop want Java when it has Smalltalk?

          Java was designed as a cut-down version of Smalltalk with C++ syntax. Since the $100 laptop is not aimed at people with C++ experience, this ceases to be an advantage (Smalltalk syntax is clearer). Oh, and Smalltalk already has a much nicer development environment than anything available for Java.

  • Money. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Friday May 19, 2006 @04:44PM (#15369100) Journal
    If Sun fully opensources Java like Redhat wants them to it will result in Sun losing millions per year in license fees from IBM and others. This will harm Sun, one of Redhat's major opponents.
    • Re:Money. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Eric Smith (4379) *
      If Sun fully opensources Java like Redhat wants them to it will result in Sun losing millions per year in license fees from IBM and others.
      I don't think so. The reason that IBM and others pay license fees is that they want something more from Sun than just to download the binaries and sources, which Sun lets them do without paying any fees.
  • What are the terms of the DLJ license that Sun has created for this? What part of it is Red Hat not happy with? The article doesn't seem to mention any of these details, except that Sun has changed to this new license, and that Red Hat doesn't think it goes far enough.

    Anyone have the details, please?
  • CC No-No? (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by Doc Ruby (173196)
    Recently I've seen arguments [open-xchange.org] that the Creative Commons license is incompatible with Debian distribution, even if the code accompanying the CC content is GPL. That same argument seems to fault the CC license for its anticommerce clause [open-xchange.org].
    • CC isn't a monolithic license, but rather a package of licensing options. CC-sa (share-alike) is essentially the same as GPL, CC-by is roughly the same as the old 4-clause BSD license, etc. Certainly CC-nc (non-commercial) would be inappropriate for inclusion in a Debian system, since many commercial outfits run on Debian. So it just depends on which CC license is used; not all CC licenses are created equal, and certainly not all are GPL compatible or meet the Debian freedom guidelines.
    • Repeat after me- there is no such thing as a Creative Commons license.

      What we have instead is a set of licenses. Some count as open source. Some do not. There's even a CC licenses that allows the user no rights- basicly it means the data is completely proprietary. You can't copy it, use it, or modify it.

      SO when you want to talk about a CC license, specify which one you mean. Otherwise no answer is possible.
      • Repeat after me: "click before talking".

        I did specify which license, by linking to the arguments about it. The second of the two linked pages even quotes the specific license's clause.

        Having several CC licenses, only one of which is under discussion, does not mean that there is no such thing as a CC license. It means there are several such things as a CC license.

        If you want me to take your advice, earn some respect by dropping the obnoxious, unearned condescension, the arrogance of ignoring the content you'
  • a whole lot of "peer pressure" in all areas of the industry against Sun's Java technology. The current "you should open-source it" demand doesn't sound new to my ears, I'm pretty sure I've been hearing it for years.

    Although a platform in and of itself, Java is built on its own Object-Oriented language, and most people expect languages to be public-domain-ish, like C++, which is still a tremendously popular language despite its relative age and quirks.

    However, when it comes to C++, there is no "official" imp
  • by suitepotato (863945) on Friday May 19, 2006 @04:55PM (#15369194)
    Red Hat is dead on the money with this. Unless Sun goes OSS for Java 100%, then it is still attached to the closed-source world and that causes certain problems.

    More to the point, why do so many people have their hats on so tight that they can't think straight when it comes to Sun? Like Netscape and Oracle, people are willing to overlook a huge number of idiocies in certain companies in the name of united hate towards Microsoft as if Microsoft was the only closed source software publisher. In the end, THAT is what this about because even if every byte of Java's code was naked to the world, it isn't going to be any less slow or bloated. Fixing Java and spreading it is NOT what this is about.

    Sun has plenty of baggage but positioned Java as if they could have their cake and eat it too: uber-cross-platform but closed source. Everyone should buy into it as if it came from the masses organically instead of top-down from Sun, as if it was open when it wasn't, and adopt it while shouting crap at Microsoft about Visual Basic, and so forth.

    So now the OSS community which has so many coders so deeply psychologically invested in Java and the potential future, despite that future to date falling abysmally short of any of the initial propaganda, finds that they can't ignore the chickens who came home to roost and are laying eggs all over the sofa and desk.

    Time to get with it and either pressure Sun or let the issue drop and come up with a totally OSS cross-platform language. Oh, I forgot. We have them but we still hold this childish fascination with the legend of Sun as competition for Microsoft when they are demonstrably not and their flagship OS Solaris is being kicked aside for SuSE, Ubuntu, and Fedora Core here, there, and everywhere. If the OSS community wants to continue this idiot face-off with Microsoft, the it needs to stop clinging to the apron-strings of companies that are in the end not one bit different.

    Whichever way Sun goes on this, the OSS community can't let that be an influence or controlling factor in anything. Life must go on, Java or not. Not as though I use it for more than KoLMafia [sourceforge.net] anyhow. Give me something that is fast, open, and cross platform that lives and dies by its own credentials and value. NOT something crappy being clung to for psycho-political reasons.
  • Sun still afraid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bobs666 (146801) on Friday May 19, 2006 @04:57PM (#15369207)
    In the previous article article [slashdot.org] Sun was asking for help "... how to best ... prevent forking and fragmentation".

    It seems They are afraid some one will provide better support for java then Sun. Perhaps the worst possibility is that Micro$oft will provide that support. :p

  • by icepick72 (834363) on Friday May 19, 2006 @04:58PM (#15369213)
    "He says the failure to open-source Java means that it can't be used on millions of $100, Linux-powered PCs envisioned under Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child project,"

    Well ahem, if that's his only good argument ....

  • Sun got burned pretty bad by Microsoft when Billy boy and his corporate thugs decided to use their monopoly OS to hijack Java. I don't blame SUN for moving slowly with license changes. It was only their license that stopped Microsoft.

    As far as Java being Open Source, hasn't Java source code been available for years? Are we talking open source or GPL'd?
    • > As far as Java being Open Source, hasn't Java source code been
      > available for years? Are we talking open source or GPL'd?

      We are talking about Open Source. "You can look at the source but only if you agree to this restrictive contract" isn't Open Source.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Just read the Java license. One of the things limiting the distribution of the JRE is that you're not allowed to ship other products which change or replace certain parts of the JRE. Guess what software like gij, fastjar, kaffe and the likes are doing ? Other than this limitation I see no obstruction what so ever to ship Sun's JRE with your average Linux distribution. I mean; gimme a break, I can even package up the entire JRE with my (open source) software in order to make it act like a stand alone execut
  • Leave Java Alone! (Score:5, Informative)

    by wizardmax (555747) on Friday May 19, 2006 @05:16PM (#15369315) Homepage Journal
    I'm really tired of people railing on Sun for not open sourcing Java. Leave Sun and Java out of it. Its semi-open source and it works! No fragmentation. Works on multiple platforms. What else do you want? You want a fully open source language? Use Python. One of the things I absolutely love about Java is that there is One Java. One JVM (that anyone really needs). I don't have to deal with many different JVM's with different problems. Simply this, look at Linux, its good and all, but its 80% done and will never be done. I don't want that to happen to Java too. Simply, leave my Java alone.
    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday May 19, 2006 @07:46PM (#15370013) Journal
      What else do you want?
      I want a working Java browser plugin for x86-64 Linux systems.
      One of the things I absolutely love about Java is that there is One Java. One JVM (that anyone really needs). I don't have to deal with many different JVM's with different problems.
      You'd be surprised at how many people use IBM JRE in enterprise rather than Sun's one, for example. And IIRC there were other major players, too. Sun never tried to restrict the ability of other companies to make compliant Java implementations, quite the opposite. Nor will keeping the source closed help - sooner or later, either CGJ/Classpath or Harmony will get to the point where they will be comparable with the latest Sun implementation.
  • Try leaving politics aside and do what benefits the most people.

    Is Red Hat still a viable business? I am just curious - I don't use their stuff.

    Also, didn't Red Hat buy JBoss? Why on earth would they not be strongly motivated to ship with built in JREs?
  • man... (Score:2, Insightful)

    What next, are they going to refuse to include the linux *kernel* because it doesn't use the latest version of the GNU license? Maybe they will throw in some crappy hurd kernel, then make their users go compile the linux kernel themselves if they want that... Then they can complain about how much linus is hurting open source software by not using the license they want.

    Where do they get off demanding that sun or any company release its software under any particular license? Sun is *already* giving away their
    • Re:man... (Score:4, Informative)

      by expro (597113) on Friday May 19, 2006 @05:51PM (#15369497)

      What next, are they going to refuse to include the linux *kernel* because it doesn't use the latest version of the GNU license? Why would they do that. The kernel is free software whereas Java never has been anything like free software.

      Where do they get off demanding that sun or any company release its software under any particular license? They only control the nature of what they ship

      Sun is *already* giving away their software for free. Only in the limited sense that Internet Explorer is "free". It comes with very limited freedom and lots of strings.

      Red Hat and others should consider themselves lucky that it gets to sell software that it didn't even write in the first place. Luck had nothing to do with it. It is free by design, and were it not free, it would not have received the contributions.

      The people that are acting to *prevent* anyone from getting access to java are the linux distro makers who refuse to put java in. It has been Sun's decisions to restrict its freedom from the outset, which is why many people who cared most about Java have abandoned it for better alternatives.

      This is nothing but an inconvenience for users. Who seriously does not go ahead and install sun java anyway? There are any number of languages with a free or open source base whose users do not just go ahead and install Java, and their numbers will continue to swell as long as Java is proprietary.

      Who is not inconvenienced by the fact that most distros refuse to integrate it into their package management scheme? Apparently Sun is not inconvenienced, and it is their call to make the license free or proprietary.

      There's literally no reason that red hat, ubuntu and others couldn't package sun java. Only if you are someone who can't tell the difference between Free / Open Source and proprietary software.

      They only do it out of a desire to strongarm sun into using a different license which will not provide any benefit to their user base. Their current user base or their potential user base? The Sun directions have greatly restricted the former. You may be right that those who care about programming and distribution freedom have already moved on which is why there is no one asking for it any more. I stopped asking quite a while ago and ported away from Java.

      If I was a shareholder, I would punish them severely for this nonsense, as it doesn't serve any kind of business end that I can see, and is more reminiscent of the behavior of the FSF than a for profit company. Someone needs to remind them that they are obligated to pursue the ends of their users and their shareholders before anything else. Of course, and by the same logic, they really should be packaging Visual Basic, instead of Java in the first place.

  • > The new license does have the support ... Debian."

    This is not true. The package has been added to Non-free (without adequate discussion IMHO) but it may not stay, and it most definitely will not go into Main.

    This package is far from Free, and may not even be legal for Debian to distribute in Non-free.
  • by rrwood (27261) on Friday May 19, 2006 @05:52PM (#15369511) Homepage
    I've been at JavaOne this week, and on the first day, Jonathan Scwartz and Rich Green publicly stated that it was "not question of if, but how" in regard to open sourcing Java. Go check Google [google.com] if you don't believe me.

    This seems a pretty strong statement from Sun-- particularly compared to the waffling they've done in the past with respect to open source and Linux, yadda yadda. Given the conversations I had with various Sun-folk at the conference, it's pretty clear that there is a very strong pro-OSS camp within Sun, and we should be patient just a little bit longer.

    And speaking of open source and Java, that was one of the big themes at JavaOne. Pretty much all the big name orgs here (Sun, Oracle, IBM, BEA, etc.) made a number of announcements about their open-source contributions. I know the debate on open source involves subtle and unresolved arguments, but apparently the powers-that-be at these corporations are convinced enough to buy in (quite literally, since they are ponying up serious money to fund the work). Of course, as profit-driven machines, they are doing it because of the anticipated return on such an investment, but that's still cool by me, since I love free speech/beer as much as any SlashDot AC, and will take any vindication of the same from just about anywhere I can get it....

  • by notaprguy (906128) on Friday May 19, 2006 @07:48PM (#15370020) Journal
    BEGIN RANT. I'm not the biggest fan of Sun or Java. Java has become, to borrow Scott McNealy's famous description of Windows, a giant hairball. But for Redhat to get on their high horse and complain that Sun has yet to offer Java under an open source license stinks. What has Redhat ever innovated? They take software developed by the open source community, add some tweaks, and sell it for good money. Sun invented Java, spent large amount of money developing it and they can and should do whatever the hell they want with it. If they decide to license the sourcecode freely, great. If they don't, that's their business. Redhat should stick to their knitting...which is leaching off of others innovations. END RANT But seriously, I rarely if ever flame on Slashdot but these guys are rediculous. I promise to be more politic next time.
    • by vga_init (589198) on Saturday May 20, 2006 @04:22AM (#15371327) Journal

      They take software developed by the open source community, add some tweaks, and sell it for good money.

      It's tempting to think like that. Actually, Red Hat subsidizes a very large amount of open source development, including kernel developers and other folks that do good work on some of the most essential parts of GNU/Linux. They make great contributions to the community--they are the community.

  • by joeytsai (49613) on Saturday May 20, 2006 @07:58AM (#15371736) Homepage
    If you consider RedHat and their recent acquisition of JBoss, their response to Sun is quite understandable. After all, previous versions of Java were even less free than they are now and I don't remember RedHat saying anything. Why do they say something now?

    Before, the status quo was actually more palatable to RedHat - no free Linux distribution could legally distribute Sun's JDK/JRE and everyone complained. This also meant that there was a lot of interest in creating a free software Java solution - gcj, harmony, classpath, etc - something that RedHat has invested a lot in. Plus, RedHat could still support Sun's Java through RHEL.

    Also, everything that JBoss has created is all open source, but all of it requires Sun's Java. I seriously doubt any of JBoss' major clients runs any part of JBoss on gcj. I think RedHat's next move was to start migrating JBoss' components so they could run on gcj as well, further providing momentum to the free software Java solution as well as moving the largest open source Java company (and its highly deployed Java Application Server) towards a non-Sun Java.

    Now the circumstances are a bit different. I think Sun is hoping (and RedHat is dreading) that Java is now "free enough" - without being free software. Now all the distributions can legally provide Sun's JDK/JRE - even Debian, which is more or less the standard (though it is in the non-free section), and consequently Ubuntu, which is now the crowd favorite. Since perhaps the biggest complaint about Sun's Java has now been diffused, there's likely to be a shift in attitude towards free software Java. Why bother? But this is exactly the situation that RedHat doesn't want to be in. I really doubt they want to support gcj while essentially still endorsing Sun's Java through JBoss.

    Obviously, this is all my speculation, so I could totally wrong. But it makes sense to me.

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