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Java to be Open Sourced in October 267

Posted by Zonk
from the coffee-in-the-fall dept.
thePowerOfGrayskull writes "Sun is now stating that the Hotspot JVM and javac will be open-sourced in October of this year, with the rest to follow by the end of 2007. There is still no word as to which license it will be released under. For those who haven't seen it yet, Sun has previously opened a public developer community site for soliciting feedback and providing updates about the process."
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Java to be Open Sourced in October

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  • eh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slummy (887268) <shawnuthNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @01:03PM (#15911179) Homepage
    "Source code for Java already is available and has been for 10 years", said James Gosling. I guess Open Source means they want free developers.
  • Big deal for OSS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by andrewman327 (635952) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @01:05PM (#15911194) Homepage Journal
    Depending on the license that they choose, OSS purists can now utilize Java in their programs. OpenOffice.org ran into some issues [newsforge.com] when it began using Java to power some of its components. Hopefully the license under which this is released will be acceptable.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @01:12PM (#15911246)
    Is this "open source" as in "open source"?

    Is this "open source" as in Apple's "public source" Darwin project, where they're basically going "you can see and compile all the code, but no way are you going to be redistributing this as any kind of commercial project"?

    Is this "open source" as in Microsoft's "shared source" projects, where it's totally not open source at all except in a PR sense?

    Is this "open source" as in Sun's Solaris "open sourcing", where it's open source in all technical senses, but it's under an unbelievably elaborate license which exists for no reason except to engender GPL incompatibility and keep Linux from benefiting from the source release, which effectively scares everyone away from the project?

    Cuz really, unless "Java to be Open Sourced" really means "Java to be Open Sourced", it won't make a difference, acceptance of Java will continue to be held back by the perceived closedness of the Java language and real linux-unfriendliness of the Java runtime, and languages like C#/Mono will continue to make inroads until Apache finishes their Harmony project.
  • by mjrauhal (144713) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @01:26PM (#15911339) Homepage
    Sure, HotSpot may be a bit faster than free JVMs, but the free ones do function well enough. Also, free Java compilers are already readily available. For a long time, the main issue has been the maturity of free class libraries (particularly their Swing/AWT implementations), and now Sun says they'll be getting around to releasing that around the end of 2007. Almost smells like timing the release to a date when they think Classpath will have most of it nailed anyway.

    And then there's the license bit, but I shan't speculate on that uninformedly.
  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cryfreedomlove (929828) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @01:27PM (#15911353)
    Do you have any data that shows that Mono deployment in the enterprise is increasing, relative to java deployment? Because, in my experience of 8 years of enterprise java, Mono is not making any strides. It's a backwater that a few people are toiling in.
  • by nuzak (959558) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @01:28PM (#15911361) Journal
    Yeah, look what happened to perl and python thanks to their open license. Incompatible bytecode everywhere.

    Why is it only Java is so fragile that it can't withstand openness?
  • by FooBarWidget (556006) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @01:35PM (#15911409)
    Uhm no. Have you ever heard of commercial open source software? If not, then you have now. Commercial and open source are not mutually exclusive.
  • Re:eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @01:37PM (#15911417) Homepage Journal

    It's part of the easing of license restrictions that currently make it difficult to incorporate Java in certain types of Free Software project, and that cause hassle for companies like RedHat and Novell/SUSE who sincerely want to distribute Java but more than that want their operating systems to be 100% Free Software.

    It's funny. The prime difference between Open Source and Free Software is that OSS is married to a community based development model whereas Free Software is just the basic principle of it being Free. Everyone keeps using "Open Source" here, but Sun has, actually, been following the community based development model part of Open Source for years without making Java Free Software. If it's not Free Software, it's not Open Source, but Java's certainly proven you can have the advantages of Open Source without actually making your software open source.

    So why are they doing this? Well, like I said in my first paragraph, the current license and environment is too restrictive for many significant potential adopters. They're finally recognising people want the freedom, not just an open development model.

  • by John Courtland (585609) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @01:37PM (#15911418)
    Apache seems to be banking pretty hard on it.
  • who cares? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @01:43PM (#15911474) Homepage
    Why are people clamoring for open java? As an application developer, I don't use Java, and it has nothing to do with it being open-sourced. It has to do with a bloated framework that I'm not supposed to distribute with my application, an inconsistent UI, and speed issues. If I could compile a native executable that Just Worked(tm) then I would love it.

    Java is still only good for simple embedded web applications, or server-side applications. From an application developer's stand point, Java grew out but never grew up. Open sourcing doesn't fix any of this.

    Mono is still a better option.
  • by Jason Earl (1894) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @01:48PM (#15911524) Homepage Journal

    Exactly. Free Software has plenty of JVMs and compilers. Heck, the Free Software world has too many JVMs and compilers. What's needed are Java compatible class libraries under a license that is both amenable to proprietary and Free Software developers.

    At this point Sun is simply trying to draw support away from the various Free Java implementations. Sun knows that if the Free Software implementations ever become popular that its chances of controling Java long term are essentially flushed down the toilet. Sun reacted too late with Solaris, and it is desperate to keep Java from suffering a similar fate. So it is doing everything in its power to keep people away from Free Software Java-alike systems.

    If Sun were serious it would A) concentrate on releasing the Java class libraries, and B) it would have given Java developers some guidance on the license that it will be using. Everything else is just fluff.

  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @02:06PM (#15911677) Homepage Journal
    By the way, we shuld not be suprised if we hear OSS zealots saying that this action should have come earlier. Some will even say it is too little too late.

    Not sure how stating either of those makes someone a zealot, but, whatever.

    It should have been earlier, and it may well be too late. I respect Sun's problems with making the system open, and they've certainly experimented a great deal with different levels of openness, but I think they ended up making the wrong decisions. Not making Java Free Software earlier helped proponents of alternatives such as Mono, and this in turn gave .NET more traction.

    GCJ isn't going to go away. It's more than just a JVM, after all, and people are only beginning to see its power. But I can see GNU Classpath disappearing if the official Java libraries are available under a GPL-compatible license.

  • by jeswin (981808) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @02:09PM (#15911709) Homepage
    If they had done this right 5 years ago, .NET would have been stillborn and Sun would be the worlds leading application platform vendor.

    There is a truth in what you are saying. The real problem with Java is the lack of pace, and the locked Java Community process, which locks the platform and language. Also, since Sun was keen to hold on to the Enterprise space, the platform became too focused on Enterprise applications, while the language was stagnating. It took C#, Python and Ruby to finally get some new language additions.

    Had it been Open Source, a lot more (free)wisdom would have gone into the core language.
  • by Kunta Kinte (323399) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @02:15PM (#15911767) Journal

    A perfect Java distro would maybe drop all the deprecated methods (will Sun ever do that? Java 1.6 is a good opportunity...) and unbundle some of the least-used stuff like the CORBA and RMI stuff. Heck, even Swing and AWT should be optional packages.

    And the fragmentation begins...

  • by ClockworkSparrow (995531) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @02:19PM (#15911801)
    How long until some enterprising hacker adds all the features to Java that people miss, such as operator overloading? I personally would use Java far more if I could avoid code such as this:
    result = x.add(y.multiply(BigInteger.valueOf(7))).pow(3).ab s().setBit(27);
    (Example stolen frome Jamie Zawinski's "Java Sucks" rant.)
    Add operator overloading (and I mean PROPER operator overloading, not some find-and-replace garbage) to the JDK v6, and you've got a language that (despite being slower than C++ in some cases) towers over C++ in so many ways - garbage collection, easy exception handling, a huge standard library...
  • by zlogic (892404) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @02:34PM (#15911934) Homepage
    Lean and mean Java implementations is all we need. "Works on Sun's, IBM's and XYZ's Java but not on gjc and others. And Kaffe needs some hacks and updates in order to make this app work". We are already seeing this kind of problems with .NET and Mono: you can either write simple apps that work in both, or advanced apps that work in Mono (and need GTK# in .NET Framework), or advanced apps in .NET Framework (and hope that it will work in Mono, although will look ugly on Linux and won't support Windows Native calls).
    As for deprecated stuff, it should be avaliable as an easy-to-install packages that aren't installed by default. It's a real shame that some of Sun's own demos in Java Tutorial designed for an old VM don't work on 1.5 (maybe they've fixed this now, I don't know). One of the strong points in Java is that it's abstracted so that if you write an app you're sure it will work pretty much the same after ~5-10 years. If an OS's API changes, Java's classes can be rewritten so that older apps still work. That's why many educational stuff is written in Java (or Flash) - because if you buy an encyclopedia or dictionary (things that don't change over time and don't need to do any platform-specific stuff), you won't be buying upgrades every year just because some library is "deprecated"; after all, these things are pretty much like music and videos, platform-independent and not changed every year.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @02:44PM (#15912027)
    ...and that is precicely why Sun fears open-sourcing Java. Java has so far been immune to the dependency hell of other OSes--all you have to be concerned about is the version of one thing: the JVM. It's manageable that way. I'd like to see more effort put into fast unloading of the pack200 format instead.
  • by jeswin (981808) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @02:50PM (#15912081) Homepage
    I doubt if this will change anything:

    1. In the application space, there are much more productive languages and tools. Think Ruby, Python. And extreme performance has never been a Java forte either.

    2. Core language capabilities are obsolete now. Bruce Eckel's famous piece The departure of the hyper-enthusiasts [artima.com] captures this nicely. And looking at the C# 3.0 spec, with lambdas, automatic type inference, monadic comprehensions and lots of functional programming goodness, Java is left way behind. MS is also way ahead in adding dynamic languages support to the platform (Microsoft supported IronPython v1 for .Net Fx due out this month.)

    3. I think Gosling needs to move on. After he said Ruby/PHP are just scripting languages, and they just generate web pages, and lack the "power" of Java. [Which "power"?]

    4. With Vista MS would have finally killed Java's Run Anywhere promise. It will still run, but it will look totally out of place. The new eye candy, and the good communication foundation (WCF) is better and easier accessed through .Net.

    The only reason to have Java is for compatibility in a "Legacy" Java environment. Kind of the same reason why we still have mainframes. These days I cannot think of a single reason why someone would go with Java, other than interop.
  • by mark-t (151149) <`markt' `at' `lynx.bc.ca'> on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @03:05PM (#15912205) Journal
    The GPL would be catastrophically inappropriate for Java, due to library linkage issues.

    If Java were GPL'd it would require that every single project that use it also be GPL'd.

    GPL'ing Java would kill virtually all commercial usage of it.

    LGPL'd, maybe....

  • by VGR (467274) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @03:19PM (#15912363)

    I know, I shouldn't feed a troll....

    You are the reason they were reluctant to make it (fully) open source.

    You obviously are confident you know more about what makes a good language than the designers of Java do. Have you read even one paper at jcp.org [jcp.org]? Have you looked at the people [jcp.org] who make up the JCP? IBM, Apple, Cisco, Intel, HP, ATI, NVidia, Creative Labs, Google (!), Apache, Apogee, Namco ... you really think you're smarter than their combined intellect and months of discussion? Trust me, you're not.

    I'm sure you and a lot of others are already giddy with excitement over the idea of making a "better Java" with const [sun.com] and operator overloading [sun.com].

    When you understand the "less is more" [sun.com] principle, you'll begin to understand why all your pet features don't belong in the language.

  • by 955301 (209856) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @03:20PM (#15912368) Journal
    Drop RMI? You realize that communication to EJB's is RMI right?

    And for the love of gods, why bother trimming the libraries? If you don't use the classes, they don't get loaded into the VM. Everything else is inflating including the OSes and you want to trim the programmers libraries?

    The more I look at your post, the more I realize you are straddling two fences. You say drop Swing and AWT implying that you are on the server in which case, your not downloading the JVM & libraries to the client anyway. Then you say Java needs to be like a Java Web Start install, meaning you are on the client side and therefore need the libraries you just said to toss! Oh and btw, Java Web Start is part of the jre download - if you have to download and install something to the client, why not download it all at once? Besides, the libraries *are* broken up - j2se and j2ee, correct?

  • by JohnnyCannuk (19863) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @03:23PM (#15912412)

    "1. In the application space, there are much more productive languages and tools. Think Ruby, Python. And extreme performance has never been a Java forte either."

    Uhm, yeah. Let me guess, never programmed in Java, huh? Java on the server runs as fast, and occasionaly faster than native code. About 8 years ago, Swing was dirt slow, but even it has picked up since about 1.4.2 release. Don't even ge me going on the security superiority of VMs and compiled coded vs scripting languages like Ruby and Python. Clearly you do not have a clue.

    "2. Core language capabilities are obsolete now. Bruce Eckel's famous piece The departure of the hyper-enthusiasts captures this nicely. And looking at the C# 3.0 spec, with lambdas, automatic type inference, monadic comprehensions and lots of functional programming goodness, Java is left way behind. MS is also way ahead in adding dynamic languages support to the platform (Microsoft supported IronPython v1 for .Net Fx due out this month.)"

    "3. I think Gosling needs to move on. After he said Ruby/PHP are just scripting languages, and they just generate web pages, and lack the "power" of Java. [Which "power"?]"

    Go to Jini.org, jxta.org, or any one of the number of Java based projects out there and show me how Ruby, PHP, Python or even C# can do some of that stuff. BTW, Ruby and PHP are just scripting languages. Get over it.

    You could also admit that there are times when Java is the right tool and times when Ruby or PHP is the right answer.

    "4. With Vista MS would have finally killed Java's Run Anywhere promise. It will still run, but it will look totally out of place. The new eye candy, and the good communication foundation (WCF) is better and easier accessed through .Net."

    Huh? Sun and MS have signed a partnership agreement. If you don't think there are Sun engineers busy coding a Swing PLAF that matches Vista, you are an idiot. Actually, considering the other stuff you wrote, you are an idiot. Besides, Vista doesn't look like it will see the light of day anytime soon so I shouldn't worry. Oh and guess what, if Java is OSS, then a whole buhc of new engineers can pitch in to port it to the new platform. That sort of the point.

    Man you kids are really getting sloppy with your trolls these days...

    C# 3.0...your comparing curent Java 1.5 with an unimplemented spec, basically vaporware. Right. How about you compare Mustang(1.6) or Dolphin (1.7) with C# 3.0. Only and MS fan-boy would even write this crap.
  • by Reverend528 (585549) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:17PM (#15913163) Homepage
    Have you looked at the people who make up the JCP? IBM, Apple, Cisco, Intel, HP, ATI, NVidia, Creative Labs, Google (!), Apache, Apogee, Namco ... you really think you're smarter than their combined intellect and months of discussion?

    Yeah. The individual usually is smarter than the group.

  • drop dead, Sun (Score:3, Insightful)

    by m874t232 (973431) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:20PM (#15913202)
    10 years ago, Sun promised ANSI and ISO standards for Java plus open source implementations. What did we get? No standards, a lot of FUD (yes, FUD from Sun) about how they can't because of MSFT, proprietary and closed implementations, costly compatibility tests, bloated APIs and implementations, and threats of lawsuits.

    Now that FOSS implementations are mature and nearly complete, Sun is trying to undermine them by finally open sourcing Java (at least in name--in practice, the license will probably be a sham).

    The sooner Sun goes out of business, the better for everybody. Microsoft at least makes no secret about where they stand on FOSS, but Sun pretends to be a friend to FOSS but keeps spreading FUD about FOSS and keeps stabbing FOSS efforts in the back.
  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:37PM (#15913441) Homepage Journal
    you really think you're smarter than their combined intellect and months of discussion? Trust me, you're not.

    Unless you're posting that from an AT&T Unix console, you're benefitting from people who had the hubris to think you're wrong.

    The road of progress was paved by people who thought the current way of doing things was dumb, and who set out to find a better alternative. This is generally regarded as a good thing (except by people with a vested interest in the old ways).

  • by BranMan (29917) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:40PM (#15913488)
    No, I don't see that at all. GCC is GPL, but the code you compile with it is NOT GPL (unless you want it to be). If they GPL Java compilers and runtime it would not force anything using it to be GPL. Now, if the Java libraries are GPL (which I can see them being in their code form - i.e. you can't modify the library code except under GPL) that might be a problem, but I can see them being set up so the code of the libraries is GPL, but their use as libraries is LGPL.
        That would satisfy Sun I think - the main deterrent to open sourcing Java has been MicroSoft getting their grubby hands on it again. With GPL, that can't happen (in theory at least).
        Remember, a GPL word processor does NOT make your letters GPL. A GPL Java environment would NOT make your Java programs GPL.
        Commercial use can continue, without modifying Java itself - which is exactly what we have today.
        I don't see a problem.
  • by runderwo (609077) <{gro.niw.liam} {ta} {owrednur}> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:20PM (#15920335)
    You are aware that the Java trademark prevents third party distributions from being referred to as Java, are you not? If someone hacks features into the language, they can't legally call it Java. Simple as that.

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