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The Curious Incident of Sun in the Night-Time 370

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the stuff-to-read dept.
Joe Barr writes "NewsForge is carrying a story by Richard Stallman which blasts Sun's recent Java move, claiming it is deceptive and self-serving, makes Java neither free nor even open source, and leaves him wondering why it has attracted so much attention."
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The Curious Incident of Sun in the Night-Time

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  • Before all the.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @09:59AM (#15394222) Homepage Journal
    Before all the anti-RMS wingnuts come crawling out, RTFA - RMS isn't criticising Sun for not opening Java, he's criticising the community & the media for their confused reporting (or endorsement) of the story (see Open Source Java? [slashdot.org] for a typical example).

    [mildly offtopic] - Does anyone know what the significance of the title stallaman chose? It's too close to the book [randomhouse.co.uk] to not be a reference, but I'm just not getting it...
    • I think RMS is referring to his autism in the title... : p
    • by oscartheduck (866357) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @10:05AM (#15394281)
      From the amazon.com [amazon.com] review: "He takes everything that he sees (or is told) at face value, and is unable to sort out the strange behavior of his elders and peers."

      Perhaps RMS is suggesting that a lot of people took the overhyped media version of what occured at face value, instead of looking into it for themselves and seeing whether this was truly an open source license?
    • by tehcyder (746570)
      [mildly offtopic] - Does anyone know what the significance of the title stallaman chose?
      It might be referring to the original Sherlock Holmes phrase that the later book borrows its title from (i.e. the curious incident was the fact that the dog did not bark in the night). So the analogy would be that people are missing the point by criticising Sun. Or something.
    • by moranar (632206)
      It's a reference to the original utterance of that phrase by Sherlock Holmes (in "Silver Blaze", I think). The curious incident of the dog in the night-time was that the dog didn't bark.

      I suppose he refers to his opinion (haven't read the article yet to call it fact) that Sun has actually accomplished nothing while everyone is celebrating because it seems like something. If this is the case, I would actually use a better fitting metaphor.
    • by Otter (3800)
      I'm not familiar with the book you're linking, but presumably its title is itself a reference to the Sherlock Holmes story where Holmes notes the significance of the dog that didn't bark in the night. Maybe Stallman is honoring Conan Doyle's birthday?

      Incidentally, why have we suddenly started commemorating Sir Arthur's birthday this year? I can't recall anyone ever mentioning it before.

    • Why is he confused by this?

      The media does this ALL the time. Does he only notice this when the media reports on something he doesn't agree with?

      Well welcome to the club, RMS. If this happened more often on topics like this that you're upset about biased reporting on, you'd understand why so many other people in this country are ticked off at the media.
    • With his title, RMS is quoting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short story, "Silver Blaze," where the exchange between Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson goes as follows:
      Watson: "Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
      Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
      Watson: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."
      Holmes: "That was the curious incident."
      He actually uses this quote in the essay.
    • Maybe it's a viral marketing gag for the upcoming movie based on the book. ;-)
    • I agree with your assessment of the article.

      For me, what would be nice is if RMS would not spend the first 75% of his dissertation criticising Sun, but actually criticising those who are the actual targets of the dissertation.

    • by Frankie70 (803801)
      Does anyone know what the significance of the title stallaman chose?

      It's a Sherlock Holmes reference.
      The curious incident was that the dog didn't bark.

      Rather co-incidentally, it was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's birthday a couple of days
      back.
  • What is Sun's new contribution to the FLOSS community? Nothing. Absolutely nothing

    Life, perhaps. No? I thought only Microsoft was run by the undead.

  • Understandable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @10:02AM (#15394257) Homepage Journal
    I think Stallman is missing that there are a lot of commercial interests in Java that are very happy about the ability to bundle Sun's virtual machine. In addition, Sun is now in talks with those same community leaders to see about relaxing the Java licensing further so that it can meet the OSI's requirements for Open Source. (Of course, the forking issue is going to be a major sticking point...)

    That being said, his position is equally valid. From his perspective, he's only interested in Java being "free" as in shiny boots. My own frustration with Mr. Stallman, however, is that he doesn't really seem to work with companies like Sun to see if their interests and his own can coincide. So he spends his time on an attempt to replicate a complex system that he lacks the resources to properly follow. (Don't get me wrong, GCJ is nice, but I doubt it will ever "catch up".)

    Even more frustrating is that many of the other OSS "leaders" (*cough*de Icaza*cough*) feel it necessary to start brand new projects out of a sense of NIH syndrome rather than help support the platforms that are actually needed by the industry. (i.e. Java) The result is that the OSS community has managed to fragment its efforts and has had a much harder time catching up than it should have.
    • he's only interested in Java being "free" as in shiny boots.

      Dang it. I got confused about my "Free" metaphors. He's only interested in Java being "free" as in the "Declaration of Independence". "Free" as in shiny boots is the other side of "free". Sorry for the mixup.
    • "GCJ is nice, but I doubt it will ever 'catch up'"

      I don't care if it 'catches up' that much. So long as it remains free. As in shiny declarations.

    • Re:Understandable (Score:3, Interesting)

      by iggymanz (596061)
      Why would open source leaders support a proprietary platform? This issue isn't NIH, it's that they want freedom. And they're winning, Sun is in trouble if you haven't noticed, open source is growing.

      Free Software doesn't need Sun, but Sun uses and distributes Free software. Sun should work with RMS, his type of software is * gaining * market share. If Sun doesn't shape up real soon they will soon become go out of business, leaving proprietary java in a mess, and another popular de-facto java won't have
      • Re:Understandable (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) *
        Why would open source leaders support a proprietary platform?

        Good question. Why are they supporting .NET then?

        Sun should work with RMS, his type of software is * gaining * market share.

        Java already gained it and owns the industry. I'm not sure what your point is.

        If Sun doesn't shape up real soon they will soon become go out of business, leaving proprietary java in a mess, and another popular de-facto java won't have to "catch up" to sun's.

        Lots of hyperbole, little substance. Sun is still profitable (even if
        • Good question. Why are they supporting .NET then?

          because it's not a proprietary standard

          http://msdn.microsoft.com/netframework/ecma/ [microsoft.com]

          • Re:Understandable (Score:3, Insightful)

            by AKAImBatman (238306) *
            because it's not a proprietary standard

            Neither is Java.

            http://www.jcp.org/en/home/index [jcp.org]

            Like it or not, the JCP is a REAL standards committee with thousands of members [jcp.org] whos only goal is to standardize Java and Java-based technologies.
            • Re:Understandable (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Jason Earl (1894) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @11:42AM (#15395206) Homepage Journal

              The primary difference between .NET and Java for Free Software hackers is that Mono is usable right now, while gcj and GNU Classpath is not. The Free Software crowd doesn't really care about standards, sure it tries to follow standards when they are applicable, but these folks primarily care about Free Software. Mono is unequivocably Free Software, and Mono is usable today. gcj and GNU Classpath are also Free Software, but they aren't nearly as usable as Mono. This set of facts leads lots of folks to fall into the "Java trap" which is basing Free Software on a proprietary platform.

              Had Sun released a Free Software version of Java before Mono became popular there would be very little Free Software written in C#. However, thanks to Sun's short-sightedness lots of Free Software hackers are taking a look at the available platform choices and are choosing Mono over Java. Sun's own "Java Desktop" has more C# in it than Java. If one of your prerequisites for choosing a language platform is that the platform has to be Free Software then Mono is the clear winner. Unfortunately for Sun, the Free Software community is becoming a very important segment of the computer industry. A large portion of the software that makes Sun hardware a worthwhile purchase is Free Software. Sun should be doing everything in its power to make Java the best platform for Free Software development in the world. Instead Sun is trying to guarantee that it retains the upper hand in the Java world, even if that means that Java gets surpassed by other platforms.

              • Going to the Apache site, I see tons of projects in Java and very little with mono.
                Perhaps, its because people can take the Jakarta projects and use them on WebSphere, Weblogic, Sun One (or whatever its called today), Oracle App Server, or almost any other J2EE server. Developers are using free software on proprietary servers in huge numbers. Perhaps, just perhaps, the majority don't really care about the license issue. If they did then maybe there would be a lot more people working on the CLASSPATH project

          • "Good question. Why are they supporting .NET then?"

            because it's not a proprietary standard

            http://msdn.microsoft.com/netframework/ecma/ [microsoft.com]


            You are confusing .NET with the CLR and C-sharp. .NET includes a huge volume of libraries and also other languages (VB.NET) that haven't been submitted to ECMA.
    • Re:Understandable (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chanc_Gorkon (94133) <gorkon&gmail,com> on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @10:21AM (#15394446)
      Mono is a GOOD project and it allows you to port .Net apps relatively easily from Windows to Linux. What's wrong with that??
      • Who said there was anything wrong with Mono? I said their was something wrong with all the fragmentation in the OSS community that prevented them from getting their Java legs under them earlier. With de Icaza there was a constant "Not Invented Here" problem he had with Java. So then he goes and copies Microsoft.

        Am I the only one who finds his logic suspect?
    • Re:Understandable (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      My own frustration with Mr. Stallman, however, is that he doesn't really seem to work with companies like Sun to see if their interests and his own can coincide. So he spends his time on an attempt to replicate a complex system that he lacks the resources to properly follow. (Don't get me wrong, GCJ is nice, but I doubt it will ever "catch up".)

      However, he seems to have achieved more towards realising his dream that many of us considered possible when he started.
    • Re:Understandable (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mrroach (164090) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @11:26AM (#15395068)
      Miguel de Icaza recently had a blog post that explained this pretty well, I think:

      As I mentioned in someone's comments section, broaldy speaking there are two large groups of contributors to open source software: free software kind, the activists, the idealists and the pragmatists, scratch-their-own-itch kind.

      Open Source Java moves slower because it lacks the second group of contributors. That group is happily using Sun's Java. Mono on the other hand has been able able to benefit from contributions of the second kind. The day Microsoft releases .NET for Linux/Unix is the day that Mono looses a big chunk of the second kind of contributors.


      So while you are right that Java is needed, free Java is not needed. Mono, by virtue of being free and needed at the same time, stands to gain.

      -Mark
    • Re:Understandable (Score:3, Informative)

      by miguel (7116)
      We started Mono for our own reasons (you can read the rationale I wrote around the time of Mono's launch here [myrealbox.com]) and I have expanded on that a number of times ever since.

      Free Java was making its own inroads and there were several people working on various angles of it (Kaffe, the Transgaming company, Classpath, Japhar and much more). The fact that a full Java later struggled is a topic worth debating, and I have put some thoughts in a recent blog post here [tirania.org].

      Now, that being said, I am amused by your sugge

  • I agree the Sun announcement is somewhat unclear and misleading. They are still not giving the community what they are looking for...
    The desire is for Java that the open/free community can hack on, improve and get the features they are looking for into the core implimentation. This is still not possible.
    • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @10:29AM (#15394542)
      > ...can hack on, improve and get the features they are looking for...

      And that's exactly the problem. 20 minutes after Java goes "free", some idiot will start adding pointers to it. Sun's stewardship of the language is the only thing preventing this.

      • by petermgreen (876956) <plugwash.p10link@net> on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @10:33AM (#15394569) Homepage
        not if they wan't compatibility with existing jvms they won't.

        If you can make a pointer system that gets past the bytecode verifier then there is nothing to stop you implementing it now. Free java compilers are not in short supply its the libs that are the issue.

      • And that's exactly the problem. 20 minutes after Java goes "free", some idiot will start adding pointers to it.
        Right. As you will note, the open-source implementations of Java all have been extended to use pointers, as have all other languages with open-source implementations. . . . Wait, that's not true?
        • Below is a representation of your head, and above, the grandparent's point:

          (Grand parent's point) ---> (whoooooooosh)

          (your head here)

          But why listen to the grandparent? I for one can't wait for there to be a million different versions of Java that aren't cross compatible, with various open and closed source projects using specific copies of each one, resulting in mass confusion.
          • I got the point.

            What I was doing was disagreeing with its validity, and alluding, through sarcasm, to facts in the real world which suggest that the concern it articulates is empirically unsupported.

            I for one can't wait for there to be a million different versions of Java that aren't cross compatible, with various open and closed source projects using specific copies of each one, resulting in mass confusion.

            Whether Sun open sources its implementation of Java is pretty much irrelevant to whether or not this

      • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @11:00AM (#15394829)
        Yeah, that's why I never use Python, Ruby, Scheme, Lua, Perl, Sed, Awk, m4, sh, batch files, etc: Someone might add pointers to them one day, and if that happened, I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to control myself, and then I might end up falling off the no-pointers wagon. I just can't accept that risk.
      • Yeah, Free languages like python, perl, ruby and php are incredibly fragmented.

        You want to be able to rely on something unified like Java ( and sablevm and kaffe and jamvm and microsoft java and ibm java and gnu classpath and gcj and jikes and apache harmony and jupiter ).
  • Honestly... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Otter (3800) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @10:05AM (#15394278) Journal
    Honestly, this story got so much hype because a) The Community is too dense to grasp that Java source code has been available for years, no matter how many times it's explained to them and b) Stallman's musing that "Perhaps because people do not read these announcements carefully." applies to, say, editors at various open-source news outlets at least as much as to "people" in general.
    • Re:Honestly... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @10:25AM (#15394496) Homepage Journal
      a) The Community is too dense to grasp that Java source code has been available for years, no matter how many times it's explained to them

      No, that's just your average Slashdotter. When the last story was posted, I was shocked at the caliber of people who didn't know about Java's source code. The fact that the source has been available for about 7 years makes this incredibly frustrating.

      Most of the OSS "leaders" are well aware of the SCSL and JRL. They don't like the SCSL because of fears of "contamination" by reading the source code. (Sun's lawyers are often terrible at writing licenses. They seem to add in every boiler-plate requirement in existence, even if it isn't the intent of Sun Microsystems Corp.) The JRL license fixed many of these problem with viewing the code, but it doesn't allow for the source to be forked or otherwise redistributed. There's also a lot of handwaving from OSS projects that the JRL might be dangerous even though they can't find anything wrong with it.

      What they *do* have a valid complaint about is that Java isn't OSS as in the OSI definition. Which it's not intended to be. It's open source as in the source can be freely read and played with. It's also open as in it's fully standardized by the JSR Committee. Sun has been very reticent to actually "Open Source" (note the caps) Java because of the problems they had with Microsoft. Had Microsoft not abused their contract with Sun all those years ago, Sun might still be releasing only a reference implementation for others to build their own JVMs against.

      Given that it was a reference implementation, it would have made sense to make it Open Source by now. Unfortunately, Microsoft did what they did and Sun is now the primary Java distributor rather than the merely the enforcer of the standards.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If it wasn't for these occasional diatribes from him we wouldn't even know this guy still existed...

    "Richard Stallman Denies He's Irrelevant, Again!"

  • I for one welcome my new Java .debs. IMVVHO Sun should have made these changes a long time ago. At the end of the day I (and I suspect the vast majority of people) don't care all that much if Java is OSS I care about how easy it is to install and use.

    Sure, it would be nice if Java was OSS but in the real world I don't think Java being closed source has slowed it's adoption. Java being a pig to install probably has.


  • Is it me or did anyone else get the image of King Canute on the beach ordering the sea to go back?

    I know that RMS isn't directly attacking Sun here but the reporting, but it would be nice if once in a while he had something positive to say rather than contending that everything is rubbish. And gets in as ever a plug for the GNU project rather than talking about all of the other efforts out there, paticularly the Apache one. He also ignores several contributions to FLOSS that Sun did make around the netbeans
  • Does he have to criticize every other license under the SUN?!?! Apparently, yes.
  • So is the story title some sort of back-handed statement [amazon.co.uk] about RMS? Mark Haddon's book is a good read, BTW.
  • Why did this non-incident generate a large and confused reaction? Perhaps because people do not read these announcements carefully. Ever since the term "open source" was coined, we have seen companies find ways to use it and their product name in the same sentence. (They don't seem to do this with "free software", though they could if they wanted to.) The careless reader may note the two terms in proximity and falsely assume that one talks about the other.

    Sheesh. Companies don't use the term 'free softwar

    • As for "careless readers", Stallman doesn't seem to mind Gnu/Linux, even though the "careless reader" may assume Gnu wrote the entire Linux package.

      You're not helping your point. Given "Linux," the reader is more likely to assume that Linus wrote the entire thing. Given "GNU/Linux," the reader is given the two main sources of code for the core operating system. Perhaps you don't think that GNU deserves that much credit, but you at least have to realize that there's a difference here.
      • "Linux" is simply the "Kleenex" name for it. Leaving out the "GNU" isn't disrespectful. Most distros could be called X11/[KDE|Gnome]/GNU/Linux.
    • Actually, I've seen companies use "free software" quite a bit, though usually when its referring to "free-as-in-the-first-hit-of-crack" rather than "free-as-in-GPL" Which is probably because, Stallman & Co's ideological desires aside, most people see "Free {Product X}" (e.g., "free software") as meaning free-of-charge rather than free-of-legal-restrictions, while "Free {Activity X}" (e.g., "free speech") is more likely to be seen in the latter sense.
  • From TFA:

    "With this change, GNU/Linux distros can include the non-free Sun Java platform, just as some now include the non-free nVidia driver. But they do so only at the cost of being non-free."

    Which, to the vast majority of users, means absolutely BUPKIS.

    • [the cost of being non-free] means absolutely BUPKIS.

      He's writing this article to NewsForge. You know, the self-described Online Newspaper for Linux and Open Source ? I think that the main audience for this piece might understand (and perhaps even care about) the subject matter.
  • Sun, Sun, Sun (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Henry V .009 (518000) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @10:23AM (#15394466) Journal
    Java has an NDA you have to sign before seeing the source. Java allows Linux distributions to ship with pre-built binaries. So it's as open-source and free as...Nvidia and Microsoft? Maybe Stallman has a point.
    • What is this NDA? Anyone can download the Java source code no charge. So if there is an NDA I don't see how it would hold up since the source code has always been disclosed to anyone who wants to have a look. This is helpful when you are trying to understand how Sun implements something.

      I am not familiar with the Nvidia situation, but this is very different than the MS source code that has been kept secret until China demanded the source code to scour for backdoors, etc. After this Microsoft dropped the st
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @10:24AM (#15394483)
    Yes - we did the DLJ (see https://jdk-distros.dev.java.net/ [java.net]) not as a move to open source Java, but to make it more easily available. The DLJ's intent is clearly about easing redistribution by OS distributors. (BTW, I work in the jdk-distros team)

    There's a couple things he missed in the article.

    One is a nitpick. The way the DLJ goes, we require one person per organization to agree to the license. Not per user, per organization. In the debian bundles that's handled through a debconf key that remembers the license has been seen and agreed to. An administrator for an organization could distribute that debconf key and then silently install Java across their organization. At least that's what I've been told is possible.

    The other thing he missed is the other announcement last Tuesday. The "it's not a matter of whether, but how" comment.
  • Show some gratitiude (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Umbral Blot (737704) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @10:24AM (#15394484) Homepage
    Just because it's not as good as it could possibly have been doesn't make Sun's actions bad. They could have started charging us for Java, but instead they made it a little more open. I think we should be applauding a step in the right direction in order to encourage them to make more, instead of givin them the impression that they are hated, because why would you do anything for a group that hates you?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @10:25AM (#15394495)
    Maybe I'm confused but I thought 2 SEPARATE announcements were recently made by Sun.

    1 - It will now be easier to distribute Java with a Linux distro

    (see http://www.regdeveloper.co.uk/2006/05/05/java_linu x_licensing/ [regdeveloper.co.uk])

    2 - Sun is planning to open source Java but has not decided on all the details (I presume they're trying to pick the right OSI-approved license)

    (see http://news.com.com/Sun+promises+to+open-source+Ja va/2100-7344_3-6072760.html [com.com])

    Look at the dates in the articles. The "we will open source Java" announcement (#2) was made at JavaOne. The "we'll make it easier to distribute Java" (#1) was made before JavaOne AFAIK.
  • by MadHungarian (166146) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @10:31AM (#15394549)
    To quote; "If you look closely at Sun's announcement, you will see that it accurately represents these facts." If fact, RMS seems to be saying that Sun says what it is doing, but people didn't read the announcement. (That sounds like 98% on the /. community ;)

  • I wonder where Richard Stallman comes up with such creative titles? [amazon.com]

    Just read it a couple months ago, else I don't think I would have recognised it.
  • RMS comes out against a for-profit company that manufactures proprietary software. Nothing new here...move along.
  • I thought the article was going to be about Scott McNealy lost at the South Pole surrounded by NY Zoo penguins saying, "This sucks!"
  • by asv108 (141455) <alex@phata[ ]o.org ['udi' in gap]> on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @10:48AM (#15394721) Homepage Journal
    The whole free software vs. open source debate is so tired. Stallman, really needs to give up on the whole anti "open source" label crap.

    Ever since the term "open source" was coined, we have seen companies find ways to use it and their product name in the same sentence.

    Whats funny is I don't understand the confusion here. Sun announced that Java has a new distribution license so Linux distros can have java in their non-free sections of their package management systems.

    Sun also announced that they are looking in to releasing Java source under an osi approved license. They are two individual stories, and it has absolutely nothing to with the decade old free vs. open source software debate.

  • by puppetman (131489) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @10:53AM (#15394771) Homepage
    "It does not say that Sun's Java platform is free software, or even open source. Available, that is, as proprietary software, on terms that deny your freedom."

    Sun owes me nothing; they paid the salaries of the people that developed and implemented Java. And Sun's current financial situation, in spite of the hugely popular language, is evidence that they aren't laughing all the way to the bank as a result of controlling Java.

    So what freedom of mine is Sun denying? People and/or corporations who create intellectual property are under no obligation to give it away for free.

    Go use C++, or PHP, or PERL, or Ruby if you can't abide by Sun's terms.
  • from "the java trap" http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/java-trap.html [gnu.org]

    " A program is free software if its users have certain crucial freedoms. Roughly speaking, they are: the freedom to run the program, the freedom to study and change the source, the freedom to redistribute the source and binaries, and the freedom to publish improved versions. (See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html. [gnu.org]) Whether any given program is free software depends solely on the meaning of its license. "

    Sun don't say java will is free
  • by paulxnuke (624084) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @10:55AM (#15394785)
    ... the Free World mentality. It must be something like the grown men who devote their spare time to creating their own race car: it looks cool, they did it all by themselves, but it will never run on a track or even down the street, just sit there with its chrome ClassPath logo shining in the sun, watching the Toyotas speed by. These people would love to get all the hard won knowledge of the professional racing teams for free.

    The biggest problem I have w/ RMS is loudly using words like "ethical" and assuming that everyone means the same thing by them as he does. It's a common failing in the modern world (listen to US political parties pretending to disagree with each other sometime), but it makes a guy who was once supposedly a good engineer sound like the guys who are _really_ trying to destroy the world, and not by selling closed source software either.

    In the end, Sun has the right to use any license they want, and the ethical choice in a free society is to support that. Anyone is welcome to try to convince others to change the social contract, but the good guys shouldn't do it by demonizing Sun, etc, because they won't accept someone else's non-advantageous license terms for their own work.
  • by Acy James Stapp (1005) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @10:56AM (#15394799)
    Dear sirs:

    It has come to my attention that you are doing a woefully inept job. Communication between editors is apparently non-existent, no attempt is made to drill down to original sources, misleading and incorrect article summaries are often posted, your copy editing is virtually non-existent and you frequently commit numerous other sins against journalism. *You should be ashamed* by your lack of professionalism. It casts a shadow on you, on Slashdot, and on the tech community. In fact, were you my employees, you would almost certainly be out of a job.

    Please, please, please, stop screwing around and treat this like a fucking job. There are eight hours in a workday: use them for working and you might even gain the respect of the Slashdot community and that of other, professional journalists.

    Thanks for your time,
    Acy Stapp

  • Sun's motivations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cpu_fusion (705735) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @11:20AM (#15395013)
    Sun may have a few good reasons not to fully liberate Java at the moment.

    First, Sun is ripe to be aquired. With the CEO-for-life gone, a reasonable market-valuation, and a set of "crown jewels" (Solaris, Java, fantastic server design), it's just a matter of time before someone (Apple?) sees the match and ponies up. Given that very likely possibility, why would Sun weaken its short-term value proposition for a buyer by giving up a certain amount of control over Java. (Not to mention putting a lot of cutting-edge VM code out there for competitors to leverage.) Java is a crown-jewel for aquisition; why give that up?

    Second, Java is doing quite well without being fully open source, thank you. Go do searches on the job market. Java is still the hot ticket. It is a skill in demand because it holds a commanding share of server-side development; past, present, and through intertia, future. For any sysadmin, downloading and installing a Java VM is child's play. It's also free-as-in-beer. Yes, that isn't the same thing as fully free, but it's good enough for Java to be successful.

    Third, Java has succeeded, in large part, due to a reasonably open, albeit slow, process known as the JCP. There's a level of quality, consistency, and prudentness to Java which has made it successful. We can argue day and night whether all the open-source developer's in the world tweaking Java outside of Sun's stewardship would be more or less successful. What matters, for Sun, is that the current process is successful. Change from that course must be accomplished in steps to verify Sun isn't heading in the wrong direction, for its bottom line.

    I should add that as a developer, I'd love to see Java be FOSS; GPLed or BSDed or whatever. Consider, for a moment, that Sun is a public company, and you'll see why Sun has done more to open-source their flagships than, say, Oracle or Microsoft. Or IBM for that matter (AIX, mainframe-OSes, DB2, Lotus apps, Websphere, Rational apps, MQ...)

    Apologies in advance that the article is mainly about the media's misinterpretation of Sun's move, but in my opinion, Java licensed in a way that promotes its distribution as part of Linux flavors is still newsworthy, and Sun has taken yet another big step.
  • by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2@eaRASPrthshod.co.uk minus berry> on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @11:46AM (#15395237)
    I think RMS is right here.

    The new Java licence does not preserve the Four Freedoms. If you use Java under the standard binary licence, you are at the mercy of Sun. And although they might be playing nice today, the fact remains that they could change their minds at anytime in future, potentially leaving you up a certain well-known waterway without an implement of propulsion.

    I can see why Sun want to protect Java, but I don't think keeping the source code locked up is the best way to do it.

    The Java brand name is undeniably strong. So what would be wrong with keeping Java as a registered trademark; and then licencing the use of the trademark on separate terms from the copyrighted software? Then, if you changed the functionality beyond what Sun would permit, you would no longer be allowed to call it Java. The GPL, para. 7, is explicit that you can't distribute software it covers if some other restriction stands in the way. They obviously meant this to cover software idea patents, but a condition regarding unauthorised trademark use would also fit with this. If you just removed all mention of the word "Java", then you would be beyond the scope of trademark law -- so nothing would then prevent you from complying with the requirements of the GPL.

    That, then, is my proposal. Experimenters get a GPL'ed and extensible Java-alike. Meanwhile, the likes of Microsoft can't subvert Java and squeeze Sun out of the market. Everyone should be happy!
  • by ColeonyxOnline (966334) on Wednesday May 24, 2006 @12:10PM (#15395444)
    With Perl 6 coming out, we will be able to compile and execute bytecode with Parrot. I see the need for Java being opensourced coming to an end with the release of the next version of Perl.

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