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Sun Microsystems Java Programming

ESR Responds to Sun's Claims of Being a Better Bazaar 310

UnixSphere writes "Sun has been quoted to have said, 'Sun's Java is developed more in the mode of the bazaar than Linux is,' which has prompted OSI President Eric Raymond to correct Sun's view of what open source really is."
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ESR Responds to Sun's Claims of Being a Better Bazaar

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2004 @11:39AM (#10930942)
    This is just high-level banter from high-up execs trying to create controversy to get themselves and their companies and products noticed. All publicity is good publicity, just like when the Sex Pistols swore on TV back in the '70s or when Mick Jagger got busted for smoking weed back in the '60s.

    Nothing more nothing less.

  • Free Forking? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cervo ( 626632 ) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @11:49AM (#10931004) Journal
    Didn't Microsoft try to make their own Java implementation(J++) and didn't sun go after them for it because it didn't stick to the java standards? Is that open source?

    If you don't like the linux kernel you can take the code, make your own kernel, and even break whatever standards you want....Linus isn't going to drag you to court for breaking the POSIX standard or something.

    Can the same be said or Java? In fact parts of it are still under a propietary license as the article people who live in glass houses.....
  • Re:Java (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @11:52AM (#10931032) Journal
    I for one am glad that they don't open the possibility of a fork for Java. It would be a stupid move. Just look at all the bullshit that went down with Microsoft, their attempts to do so, and the resultant chilling effect that had on Java on the desktop.

    If I was an American (god forbid) and Sun WAS to open source Java after spending all that time in court with Microsoft regarding their aforementioned forking, I'd say the appropriate thing to do would be to chase them down with pitchforks and torches for wasting so much taxpayer money.

  • by cgreuter ( 82182 ) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:13PM (#10931131)

    Don't give this thing the wings it so richly doesn't deserve.

    Unfortunately, that approach doesn't work. If you don't vigorously deny an accusation, people tend to assume it's true. It's just like the way corporations handle rumours about them (e.g. the one about Proctor and Gamble being a Satanist organisation). They deny them any chance they get and that's the only effective way of dealing with something like that.

    If ESR doesn't respond, a lot of casual readers will just sort of assume that Schwartz's claims are true.

  • Re:Free Forking? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:15PM (#10931147)
    Sun went after Microsoft because Microsoft didn't follow the rules they set down. If Microsoft forked Linux and didn't release their changes under the GPL, the open source world would have a huge knot in their panties.
  • by fireboy1919 ( 257783 ) <rustyp@fre[ ] ['esh' in gap]> on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:17PM (#10931155) Homepage Journal
    I think calling one a cathedral and the other a bazaar really requires that any developer who wants to actually can create code for other people to use, and that they'll use it if it's good.

    There are large barriers to doing that from both the Linux kernel and from Sun. A more bazaar like example is CPAN or sorceforge. Anybody who creates something coherent can have it published there for everyone to use.

    Java and Linux are much more limiting. You can't "hawk your wares" in either case. That said, I don't think this should be absolute...more like a scale. Linux is closer to the bazaar than Java, I think.
  • by wwwillem ( 253720 ) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:22PM (#10931187) Homepage
    That's also no accident, since Java is the only major software product Sun has that is still of any relevance to the market.

    Do you think the acceptance of 'Linux on the Desktop' would have been on the level it is now, without OpenOffice / StarOffice? None of the attempts (do I hear Munchen) to wipe MS from the typical office desktop would have had any success without Sun's StarOffice or OOo. In my book that is relevance to the market.

    The same can of course be said about Ximian (Novell) or Mozilla (Netscape/AOL), but what are HP's or IBM's contributions to the Linux world, without which Linux wouldn't have made it? Still, the /. community always mentions IBM and HP as the companies that embrace and understand Open Source and Linux. I don't get that .....
  • ESR should respond (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:22PM (#10931189)
    To those that are bad-mouthing ESR for responding, I think he should since Schwartz used ESR's reference in making his points.

    And Sun doesn't get it completely. I applaud them for everything they have done, but if 'realists' look at whats going on, it seems to me that SUN is in bed with MS and will attempt to push Linux into obscurity if not out-right kill it if it can.

    Maybe a third model can be added called Markets and it would more accurately describe SUN. They want to be the store you come to and you pick from the wares they choose to carry, from suppliers they choose, not you. They don't like small distributers and will undercut them until they go under, form unions you have to join to practice, and make laws so the little guy can't compete.
  • Re:Java (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sunnan ( 466558 ) <> on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:33PM (#10931250) Homepage Journal
    It's because java isn't free (open source) software that it has to be forked (with GCJ, Kaffe, et al).

    A nice, DFSG-compliant, GPL-compatible license would make all of our lives easier and a fork wouldn't be necessary.
  • by Sunnan ( 466558 ) <> on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:41PM (#10931294) Homepage Journal
    Be grateful for what comes and stop looking gift horses in the mouth.
    If that's your philosophy, my friend Ulysses has a giant wooden horse he wants to give you...
  • by Julian Morrison ( 5575 ) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:50PM (#10931353)
    The essence of the bazaar is not voting--a concept I never mentioned in The Cathedral and the Bazaar and don't endorse--but the right to fork.
    Democracy: you get a vote, there's a central point of control which, at the culmination of all the votes, ends up bossing people around, and nobody has a legal alternative. Result: if the democracy screws you over for populist causes, or the central point of control gets corrupted, tough luck. Result also: if you're in a numerical minority, your desires will be met coincidentally if at all.

    Free markets: nobody has a right to vote how you may or may not act with your own stuff - but if they don't like it, they can get their own stuff and do as they please instead, or go to someone else they prefer. Result: egregious misbehaviour causes a "fork" where customers move away. Also result: not only is the majority happy, but also all profitable minority niches of the market are served.

    Not surprising ESR thinks this way considering he's a libertarian and possibly an anarchist :-)
  • by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:51PM (#10931363) Homepage
    Sun is trying to substitute their own interests for the wisdom and preferences of their end users. They are churning out one API after another, but users have no choice but to build on what Sun ships; even if there were alternative implementations, users would still be forced to accept whatever garbage Sun and the JCP dream up.

    The reason many people don't equate this with Microsoft tactics is that Microsoft hatred is all about protecting the value of guild crafts and nothing about principle. Windows hatred is simply the modern equivalent of the hatred the Cobol and Fortran camps had of C. The future really hurts when it threatens to make your own skills obsolete.

    On Java it was Sun who were being the evil proprietary monopolists. Their objective was to reduce every platform to the level of Solaris, leveling down, not up. Suns approach was "If you dare do anything that I can't I'll sue you."

    Java could have been the future of computing but there is no way that any company, let alone a declining company like Sun can be trusted with the complete control they demand. The chances of Sun ending up in a SCO like position in five years time are significant.

  • Re:Java (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maw ( 25860 ) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @12:57PM (#10931404) Journal
    gcj and kaffe aren't forks; they're new implementations. But you're right that java's unfreeness is a large part of why they exist.
  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @01:14PM (#10931487)
    The point is that no one gives a damn. The analogy between the cathedral and the bazaar has become so twisted, stretched, and debased as to become meaningless. To me it has the same flavor as the much abused quote from Gandhi ("first they laugh at you...") posted ad nauseum on Slashdot
  • by bob beta ( 778094 ) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @01:39PM (#10931608)
    Yes, and that sums it up: people are tired of paying a premium for the Microsoft guild crafts,

    You so completely 'don't get' what the grandparent typed that it's almost overwhelming, trying to figure out what you meant.

    Microsoft is not the 'guild craft' movement. Microsoft is the modern factory, trying to replace the guild craftsmen.

    It's pointless arguing the other points you typed a lot of words about, if you can't get that part. It's almost like you feel 'bad thing' can be interchangably plugged in where needed to raise arguement.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2004 @01:42PM (#10931630)
    The term "Open Source" is, itself, a dilution; it's not about seeing the code, it's about the freedom to do what you want with it.
  • by ctr2sprt ( 574731 ) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @01:50PM (#10931691)
    The dilution has already occurred. For Stallman, the at-least-supposed father of the movement, software is free because it's moral. For Torvalds, it's free because it works better. For Berkeley, it's free because it helps. Plus a hundred variations in a hundred open source licenses with their own motivations.

    Freedom of speech means letting other people say offensive or blatantly wrong things. Being a supporter of such means you have to support their right to say it no matter how wrong (in almost every sense of the word) they are. Same way, I'm afraid, with free software. You have to trust that, sooner or later, people will figure out which ideas are the right ones... even if those ideas aren't your own.

  • Re:Java (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gaj ( 1933 ) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @02:03PM (#10931774) Homepage Journal
    It is really disappointing to me that the GPL-advocates insist that Java isn't free and/or open-source.
    So, you find the truth to be disappointing, eh? Sucks to be you.
    1) People assume that Apache is open-source
    Perhaps because it is? The Apache License grants "a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable copyright license to reproduce, prepare Derivative Works of, publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense, and distribute the Work and such Derivative Works in Source or Object form." Not sure how that can be construed as not being open source.
    2) Apache has a single point of control
    Which has fuck-all to do with whether or not it's open source. The Linux kernel has a single point of control. Are you daft enough to argue that it is not open source? The importent thing is that the "single point of control" is only that way because most people accept it. At any time someone could fork the kernel and run with it -- happens all the time. If one of those forks became more trusted and popular than Linus's fork, it'd become the official one. Though, given that Linus holds the rights to the Linux TM, it'd probably have to be called something else.
    3) The JCP has an elected board that is in control
    See response to 2.
    4) Apache has as much control as Sun on that board
    Except for the minor detail where the current Java licenses mean that Sun owns all the marbles and can, at any time, pick them all up and go home. Which would leave all the "equal parteners" on the JCP free to ... um ... play with their own "marbles".
    5) Patches that I have submitted to the Ant project were never even discussed, let alone integrated
    Which says nothing at all about the Open Source nature of Ant ... the perpetrator of those patches (which I'm sure were quite worthy) was and is free to fork Ant, put in their patches and release the sum total as "rAnt" or somesuch. If they are better than the Ant team, they'll become the new standard.
    6) Pathces that I have submitted to various Java projects have been implemented
    This is becomming tiresome. See responses to points 2 and 5.
    7) The only advantage Sun has in the JCP is that it has a permanent seat on the board

    See response to point 4.

    --->8--<snip more tiresome crap>--->8---

    But most of all, I am sick and tired of various "open-source" advocates bitching about Java not being free and/or open source WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING FOR THEMSELVES. I would be happy if the various GPL-fanatics would at least READ the JCP website for condemning it when they actually know absolutely nothing about it.
    The JCP has f'ing NOTHING to do with whether or not Java is Open Source. The license does. The JCP is a fine and good thing. Open Source Java would be a better thing.
    As a side note, I can tell you that if Java were GPL'd, it would not have been used by any company I have worked for. They ALL had a strict policy against using GPL'd software. BSD, fine. MIT, fine. Java, fine. Not GPL. GPL'ing Java would just kill it. But perhaps that is what many of the GPL-fanatics want, since they have always been against Java (look back at the oldest posts here on Slashdot).
    How blindingly ignorant. As long as JFC is BSD or LGPL or has an appropriate special case statement in its license, there would be no legal downside to using Java for development if the rest were GPL.

    But, more importantly, BSD and MIT are both Open Source licenses. Do you even read what you're typing?

    What I would consider to be an appropriate way to Open Source Java would be to place the tools (javac, java, javap, etc.) under GPL, and the libraries under a modified LGPL or BSD (to ensure that there are no legal issues with the dynamic type of linking that Java does). I'd be just as happy if it were all put under a BSD style license, but, given the amount of resources that Sun has put into it so far, I'd say it's a bit more reasonable to do it the way I've outlined.

  • by relaxrelax ( 820738 ) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @02:05PM (#10931793)

    What Java needs is a freeBSD license. One where companies who can improve the code has the right to sell it, with a pointer to the free non-improved source.

    The free version would improve to catch up with commercial versions, and the commecial versions would be viable (no GPL virus effect).
  • by Julian Morrison ( 5575 ) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @02:12PM (#10931835)
    In order respectively:

    - A monopoly in a truly free market is only contingent on it remaining the most popular solution with customers. So while it can charge higher prices, it can't charge more than the cost of seeking a better-but-costly or worse-but-tolerable alternative. And a monopoly in a free market is a huge plum waiting to be picked by the first person who can break the monopoly and commoditize the product.

    - Government is not inevitable. Workable pure free-market or volunteer alternatives have been proposed to all its functions. Many of these are refinements of historical systems that have been tried and worked in practise.

    - Uneven distribution of wealth is utterly inevitable in any system, and under a free market is also good. Earned wealth tends to accumulate in the hands of those who use it most productively, thus "a rising tide lifts all ships". Also and more importantly, consequential arguments are beside the point since property is a natural right and theft is always wrong, regardless of whether you call it "redistribution".

    - There are no natural resources without a use, and preparing them for use may require capital the natural resource holders don't have handy. It's better for both parties that, say, diamonds are an "exploited" industry, than that they remain inedible shiny pebbles. A free market would allow the resource-holders to save capital and soon enough the economic incentive would be to process locally and with local talent. The reason this doesn't happen in the 3rd world is unfree markets locally (most 3rd world countries are some variant of socialist, no conincidence) and unfree markets internationally (trade barriers, subsidies, etc).
  • by jeffphil ( 461483 ) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @02:17PM (#10931866)
    I'm not saying that the model is like a cathedral because I'm lazy.

    It's because of the terms and conditions, such as this in Exhibit A-1 on Page 15 in fine print:

    b. License to Modifications. Any modifications to the TCK made by Licensee pursuant to the previous paragraph which Licensee makes available to Sun are hereby licensed to Sun under Licensee's applicable intellectual property rights on an "AS IS" basis without restriction and without charge. Sun may choose to use or not use such modifications in its sole and absolute discretion.

  • Re:Java (Score:3, Insightful)

    by malachid69 ( 306291 ) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @03:00PM (#10932150) Homepage
    While he did mention forking, he did also mention the single point of control (my emphasis):

    "Sun can vapor on about voting and committees all it wants, but at the end of the day JCP is still a single point of control, the Java reference implementation and class libraries are under a proprietary license, and nobody can legally fork them," Raymond wrote. "As long as that continues to be the case, Java will be firmly stuck in cathedral-land and any claim otherwise will be disingenuous crap."

    The forking issue is an interesting point. While the JCP does require the ability to make independant implementations, it does not require allowing you to copy-paste, change a few lines, and say it is your own.

    While I can understand the desire to fork it when it isn't going the way you want (there has been many times when I was not happy with the implementation), doing so ruins the primary usage of Java. I currently drag'n'drop a JAR from my Windows box to the BSD box and it runs exactly the same. With the forking issue, that would not be the case. The *correct* solution, in order to preserve this ability, would be that you would help fix the problem. THAT was why I was comparing the difference between Apache and JCP -- with the JCP, I was able to help fix the problem whereas with Apache I was not. Forking should not be the first solution to fix the problem; that should be the last solution.

    We see this same split with IBM and Eclipse. Eclipse programs (suing SWT) are not pure-Java. They break this model. For me to install an SWT app on another machine, I have to hope they built the SWT libraries for that platform. In addition, instead of IBM lending its hand to the existing Open Source IDEs, they came along and decided to make their own and claimed it was the first one. If IBM had assisted NetBeans instead of starting Eclipse, then perhaps one of them would have been worth using -- as it is, neither is. Instead of helping promote Java and Open Source, their behavior hurt both, much like forking would do.

    I can understand why you might want to fork it, but realistically, that really should be the last option.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2004 @03:10PM (#10932220)
    "I'm sorry but writing fetchmail and a couple other crappy tools doesn't give you free reign to publicly spout nonsense for the rest of your life."

    No, that right is given by the various constitutions and charters of the free nations of the world.

    "Who in the hell does he think he is explaining UNIX to some of the real UNIX gurus that now work at SUN?"

    The guy who wrote "The Cathedral and the Bazaar?"

    He wrote a book on software organizational models and Sun has appropriated one of the terms he proposed to describe their company. Correcting that misuse is well within his scope.

    That's not to say he's necessarily right, but it certainly has nothing to do with what he's coded. In the real world, writing a book is also a legitimate and respectable way to participate in a field. It compares quite well to spouting off your opinions between fevered coding sessions.
  • Re:Java (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @03:23PM (#10932294) Journal
    That doesn't matter. Names don't matter. J++ wasn't called java, but it still had a huge chilling effect on java on the desktop. If developers start coding in a superset of java and it becomes popular, all the devices that use the old java become defunct because no programs are being written that run on them, and java becomes just another language.

    Open sourcing java cannot lead to a fork... are you retarded? That is one of the top reasons ppl that prefer open source software do prefer it, because you CAN fork it!

    Think about it... Sun is not a company full of idiots, they are taking strides to open source everything they can, and they don't make any money selling Java. Are they keeping the license the way it is becase they like pissing people off? No, they're doing it because they have priorities that extend beyond getting Java into Debian. And yes, I wish it was in there too.

  • MOD PARENT DOWN (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IBitOBear ( 410965 ) on Saturday November 27, 2004 @04:53PM (#10932910) Homepage Journal
    No, it is "cathedral like" because _after_ you fill in the form you _may_ (at their sole descretion) qualify.

    Or you may not.

    And we don't know what the poster's presumed signature on the form legally encumbers him with in terms of secrecy or liability.

    And the form isn't necessarily even the license, as we don't know the NDA status from reading the post you so glibly discard.

    Funny thing about language, especially legal language, _ALL_ the words count and the words that are missing cannot be meaningfully guessed.


The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Paul Erlich