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Sun Open Sources Java Under GPL 535

Posted by Zonk
from the it-really-happened dept.
prostoalex writes "The embargo is off, and Associated Press is reporting on Sun releasing Java under GPL. Sun is hoping that this step will attract more developers, as well as extend the lifespan of Java. The article notes that this is 'one of the largest additions of computer code to the open-source community', and that Java is currently being run on something like 3.8 Billion devices worldwide." From the article: "Rich Green, Sun's executive vice president of software, said the company hopes to turn more developers into Java programmers, who may then create additional software to support Sun products. 'The open-sourcing of this really means more — more richness of offerings, more capability, more applications that consumers will get to use,' Green said. 'The platform itself will become a place for innovation.' All the Java source code is expected to be released by March 2007, Green said. The move covers all Java technology, which includes software that runs on handheld devices, personal computers and servers."
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Sun Open Sources Java Under GPL

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  • by Mr. McD (166893) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:18AM (#16821442) Homepage
    While I'm psyched about the fact that they went whole-hog and went GPL, there are a number of commercial Java Applications out there. The fact that they have this "Classpath Exemption" makes it sound more like the LGPL.But at any rate, it good that Java is now suitable for Linux.
    • by milton.john (604556) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:42AM (#16821606)
      From what I have read, it seems that Java will be dual-licenced, so anyone that do not feel good about GPL can use commercial licence. It seems like a win-win situation to me...
    • by sveinungkv (793083) on Monday November 13, 2006 @07:33AM (#16821952)
      Java will have the same the same exception to GPL [gnu.org] for its classlib as GNU Classpath [classpath.org], so the GPL will not have any effect on code running in the JVM. (It has even fewer restrictions than the LGPL that forces derived works to allow reverse engineering)
  • GPL for all? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lauritz (146326)
    Will they use the GPL for all the components? That is the compiler, the class libraries and the runtime? Then it will still be easier licensewise to use mono.
    • by molnarcs (675885) <molnarcsNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:28AM (#16821494) Homepage Journal
      Then it will still be easier licensewise to use mono.

      And patent-wise? [slashdot.org] I mean for non-Novell customers, obviously.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by moro_666 (414422)
        If you choose mono, you choose an indirect control of microsoft all over your code. Good luck & god speed.
        • FUD (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, 2006 @07:22AM (#16821856)
          That's like saying if you code C++, Bjarne Stroustrup has indirect control over your code. It's a ridiculous argument and the reason it gets any weight here at Slashdot is because it plays into that "Star Wars" mythology of the battle between good (FLOSS) and evil (Microsoft). And I'm sorry to say this but Star Wars isn't real.
          • Re:FUD (Score:5, Funny)

            by Zigg (64962) on Monday November 13, 2006 @07:26AM (#16821892)

            And I'm sorry to say this but Star Wars isn't real.

            That's what the Empire wants you to think!

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Cyberax (705495)
            That's right, if you write in C++ then Bjarne Stroustrup (or to be more precise, C++ Standards Comittee) has indirect control over your code. But I trust them much more than I trust MS.
          • Re:FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

            by just_another_sean (919159) on Monday November 13, 2006 @12:32PM (#16825446) Homepage Journal
            The *reality* is that the EMCA specification for .NET CLR does not include WinForms. Mono not only implements the CLR of .Net but tries to also implelement the graphical aspects.

            With Perl and C/C++ available on just about every system out there I can't see choosig Mono for command line work. If I want to go Mono, it's because I want a common platform for creating a graphical interface. Choosing Mono means that I am hoping that they can keep up as MS continuesly developes and extends those aspects of .Net not covered by the EMCA spec. Whether they do it on purpose or not MS will break the API as time goes on and the Mono project will continuously scramble to keep up.

            Now this doesn't even take into account the new deal between MS and Novell which has a number of us Star Wars nerds nervous about patents as well. So cheap shot aside I think your take is overly simplistic and a knee jerk reaction to FOSS zealotry. Just because FOSS fans can sometimes go over the top about "teh evil MS" doesn't change the fact the MS has consistently abused their monopoly influence over the years and screwed over partner after partner.

            Bottom line, now that Java is GPL I beleive it will be the safer choice between it and Mono for cross platform development without hidden "IP violations" to worry about.
      • by julesh (229690)
        And patent-wise? I mean for non-Novell customers, obviously.

        Shouldn't be an issue, for the most part [wikipedia.org]. I don't know what Bruce was going on about in that post, but it just reads like FUD to me.
    • Re:GPL for all? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:40AM (#16821576)
      Java Standard Edition libraries will be licensed with GPL2 + Classpath Exception which permits linking with non-GPL applications. So there isn't any problem if you don't want to use GPL compatible license for your Java SE programs, you can still use and distribute GPL Java with it.
  • Holy Shit! (Score:5, Informative)

    by MostAwesomeDude (980382) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:19AM (#16821450) Homepage
    Well, on a more practical note, this means that within a few months, I should be seeing a real, complete, working JRE sitting in the main repositories for Debian and Ubuntu. Sweet. We no longer have to go and fetch it ourselves or experiment with incomplete toolkits.

    For the ideologues, knowing that there's one less piece of non-free software on your system is a real comfort. For me, personally, all that apparently remains are ATI drivers and Flash Player.

    Yay!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by smilindog2000 (907665)
      It's great to have this in the GPL domain, but it's just gotta PO all those open-source developers who have built a GPL version of the same system. Why the heck didn't Sun do this 10 years ago? It would have save the world a LOT of grief.
      • Re:Holy Shit! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by marcello_dl (667940) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:34AM (#16821542) Homepage Journal
        I think we must thank microsoft and its C# initiative, er... plan for world domination, for convincing Sun to open up. That couldn't be done 10 years ago when Java was the only player, and it being free as in beer was already a step forward compared to other environments.
        • by molnarcs (675885)
          Hah, I'm also into conspiracies :) But seriously, this is very good timing - The Novell-MS deal, which is in large part about the "protection" of Mono, and an effort to position it as the cross-platform effort of Microsoft. HAHA - that's the laughter you hear from Red Hat's headquarters right now, with their Jboss purchase and all. Their response to the MS-Novell deal was not simply hot-air it seems... they might have known this was coming. Question is: for how long? Did they know this when they bought Jbos
      • Re:Holy Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by LarsWestergren (9033) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:37AM (#16821558) Homepage Journal
        Why the heck didn't Sun do this 10 years ago? It would have save the world a LOT of grief.

        Because 10 years ago, before Java had built up the momentum it has today, a certain company deliberately embraced, extended and corrupted the core libraries with their own OS specific extensions, and shipped this version with their operating system until they were forced by court to stop. Had they succeeded Sun would have lost control of the language to the other company, or it would have been forked to irrelevance. This understandably made Sun a bit paranoid about having total control over Java for quite a while.
        • Re:Holy Shit! (Score:5, Informative)

          by John Courtland (585609) on Monday November 13, 2006 @07:12AM (#16821784)
          Yes, there's actually an interview [sun.com] with James Gosling that mentions the issue with Microsoft. Refer to Q&A pairs #2 and #3.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by binaryfinery (765601)
      one down, http://www.regdeveloper.co.uk/2006/11/07/adobe_fla sh_firefox/ [regdeveloper.co.uk] one to go?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      He he he, I have already started compiling Java.

      Of course, I am on Gentoo... :)
    • You sure on that? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by glesga_kiss (596639)
      Remember the "Ice Weasel" nonsense? That was because the Debian team did not want to use a copyrighted Firefox logo. Isn't Sun's Java going to have the same problem?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ThePhilips (752041)

      ... working JRE sitting in the main repositories for Debian and Ubuntu. Sweet.

      On practical note, can you share what kind of application you use Java for?

      I've removed last traces of Java from my WinXP office PC (and never had it on Linux at home) and nothing had ever complained about the absence. (I'm rather curious what had installed it in first place.)

      I am long term Java skeptic. Yet would appreciate any hints on why people would want Java - especially under Linux.

      • Re:Holy Shit! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Aceticon (140883) on Monday November 13, 2006 @08:58AM (#16822698)
        Nowadays Java is mostly used in systems and applications for companies, not for home users.

        Thus, most Java applications out there have a server component using the J2EE (Java 2 Enterprised Edition) framework and running under an application server such as JBoss, BEA Weblogic or IBM Websphere (to name just the bigguest) and a client component, typically (but not necessarilly) a web-based user interface.

        The J2EE framework defines which and how "enterprise" functionalities (HTTP call handling, asynchronous messaging, database access, transactions, distributed functionality, discover and communication with remotedly hosted application components, HTML templating, etc) are provided by the application server to the application itself. J2EE is roughly split in 2 parts, one dealing with dynamic web-based user interfaces (as in, the server component of it) and one for (optionally remotelly accessible) business components and their supporting backend functionality (such as database access, messaging, transactions, etc).

        Java with J2EE occupies the same enterprise niche as C# + ASP with .NET.

        It's quite likelly that you've already been exposed to Java with J2EE servers via web-sites on the Internet (URLs with script names ending in .jsp, .do and .action are quite likelly on a J2EE application server or at the very least a J2EE web application server (which just implements application server functionality for web-based user interfaces), and even more likelly if you've worked inside big companies (such as banks) since a lot of this stuff is used for intranet web-based user interfaces which need to be reliable, are used by many users simultaneously and are connected to one or more core systems within the company.

        There's also a lot of backend systems out there in Java/J2EE doing things like gathering and consolidating data from multiple systems, both internal and external.

        The reason why many of us (which work in this area) would like to see more Java under Linux is because currently a lot of the J2EE application servers out there are running on top of Windows (*gasp*), even though all the mainstream J2EE application servers support multiple flavours of Unix (including Linux).
        • Re:Holy Shit! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by AJWM (19027) on Monday November 13, 2006 @11:56AM (#16824914) Homepage
          Nowadays Java is mostly used in systems and applications for companies, not for home users.

          Actually in terms of numbers of installed JVMs, most Java is probably in mobile phones. There's a lot of J2ME out there, although J2EE gets the visibility because of the web-based server role.

          Java shows up in some other interesting places: my wife had a couple of x-rays done a week ago and they included a printout (screen dump) of the patient info metadata from whatever application they used to control the system; the GUI was clearly Java Swing (platinum plaf).
  • bravo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by molnarcs (675885) <molnarcsNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:20AM (#16821456) Homepage Journal
    I don't think the Mono folks are rejoicing ;) With this step, SUN has became the largest commercial contributor to the free and open source software pool. OpenOffice.org, OpenSolaris, now JAVA - well, kudos!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tim C (15259)
      Sorry to pick on you, but you're the first person I've seen do it and there aren't too many comments on the article yet, so I thought I'd get in quick:

      Java is not an acronym, its name should not be capitalised.

      It's a minor thing I know, but I'm picky and pedantic enough* for it to irk me every time I see it.

      (* goes with the territory; I'm an ex-physicist who moved over to programming. Equations and computers do not know what you mean, only what you say)
      • by molnarcs (675885)
        Well, thanks for the correction. I always have problems with these (and english is not my native language). I knew it wasn't an acronym, but I didn't know if I should write Java or java, so I capitalized it all :) I always forget how you write names of languages in general :)
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by byolinux (535260) *
          Which of the following is correct? ;)

          NeXTSTEP
          NEXTSTEP
          Nextstep

          Answers on a postcard.
    • How true... we're all benefiting from Sun's work. I especially love OpenOffice, as it allows me to single-boot instead of dual-boot with Windows. With all their software open-source, and with their hardware falling way behind cheap PCs, how will Sun stay alive? I'm rooting for them...
    • Re:bravo (Score:5, Informative)

      by jareth-0205 (525594) on Monday November 13, 2006 @07:51AM (#16822098) Homepage
      With this step, SUN has became the largest commercial contributor to the free and open source software pool. OpenOffice.org, OpenSolaris, now JAVA - well, kudos!

      NFS... Netbeans... JXTA...

      Sun has been the biggest commercial contributor to Open Source for some time now... this just makes it even more so.
  • by cucucu (953756) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:24AM (#16821472)
    to post a link to a forked java
  • Huzza! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This will remove, at a stroke, one of the largest issues of licence trouble in the *nix world. Fully Free server offerings can now be broader, and the Free desktop gets access to one of the three major ways of bundling sophisticated apps into web pages(Not that I like the practice much; but if Flash, Java, and ActiveX have to exist, I'd rather that more be Freely supported than less).

    I'm really impressed with Sun on this one.
  • by N8F8 (4562) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:28AM (#16821490)
    I work for a LARGE government contractor and have had a hard time getting management to realize Open Source in general and the GPL in particular aren't bad for business. Open source here has the same connotation as red communism. Can't get many of them to stop calling it freeware. With Sun making Java GPL they won't have the choice of sticking with that attitude anymore. Many of our existing projects use Java already!
  • More articles (Score:5, Informative)

    by LarsWestergren (9033) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:30AM (#16821506) Homepage Journal
    Some more articles I have found, with some substance to them:
    InfoQ [infoq.com], also mentions Glassfish.
    eWeek [eweek.com].

    There is also going to be a official webcast [sun.com] about this by Jonathan Schwartz and Rich Green 9.30 a.m. PT.

    In related news, apparently Project Looking Glass [sun.com], the 3d desktop, is likely to be included in the Ubuntu Feisty [java.net] release.
  • finally (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kuku_monroe (753761) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:31AM (#16821514) Homepage
    Now Stallman can drink coffee again
  • Technical Details (Score:3, Informative)

    by digitaltraveller (167469) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:32AM (#16821518) Homepage
    Linux Devices [linuxdevices.com] has a fairly comprehensive list of just what technologies 'GPL Java' encompasses. The std libraries are GPL with the classpath extension.
    • by Argon (6783)
      Thanks for the link. What do you mean by "the std libraries are GPL with the classpath extension"? I didn't see any information about the class libraries in the linux devices site.
  • A more detailed link (Score:4, Informative)

    by kenlars99 (795903) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:33AM (#16821528)
    The original article leaves out most of the details that would be interesting to developers - this link on ZDNet has a more in depth story.

    http://news.zdnet.com/2100-3513_22-6134584.html?ta g=zdfd.newsfeed [zdnet.com]

  • by Djatha (848102)

    I really appreciate this. I like the Java Platform, but as a advocate of free software, I never felt quite happy with using Java. Now it is time for me to blow off the dust of all those Java related books I own and start coding in Java once more.

    Furthermore, Trolltech has released (new) Java Qt bindings, so I can even use one of the best toolkits around with a free java to create my apps. (Maybe there will be good KDE(4) bindings too) I am kind of enthusiastic now about all these developments, I hope this

  • It is my understanding that we're talking about the Java language compiler and virtual machine here, right? Which libraries will be GPL'd? What about the Java code for the J2SE libraries and the J2EE framework? The article is a bit short on details...
  • future of GCJ/Kaffe (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xianp (1026524)
    I'm wondering what is going to happen with free Java compilers/virtual machines like GCJ and Kaffe?
  • I am really interested to hear what RMS is going to say about this. And I wonder a certain artice [gnu.org] of his as had any influence at the Sun top.
    • Re:RMS (Score:5, Informative)

      by Tpenta (197089) on Monday November 13, 2006 @07:02AM (#16821710) Homepage

      I have quoted two soundbites on my blog [sun.com] from videos that will be shown at the announcement tomorrow (the quotes are from the information that was (I believe) given to the press.

      "I think Sun has well, with this contribution have contributed more than any other company to the free software community in the form of software. It shows leadership. It's an example I hope others will follow." RMS

      "Sun's policy of GPLing java which we are celebrating now is an extraordinary achievement in returning programming technology to that state of freely available knowledge that people can share and improve together. It's a crucial step in the process of turning the technology today into knowledge that people can use freely to make the technology of tomorrow." Eben Moglin

      I've seen the video shorts (well some of them) that will be shown at the announcement. I think some folks will be surprised. RMS also makes reference to the java trap.

      Tp.

  • by Yuioup (452151)
    So am I going to be able to get the sources from somewhere and build Java from scratch?

    How is this going to work?

    Y
    • Re:Make? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Torne (78524) <torne@wolfpuppy.org.uk> on Monday November 13, 2006 @07:08AM (#16821764)
      So am I going to be able to get the sources from somewhere and build Java from scratch?

      How is this going to work?

      You've been able to do that for years - just not under an Open Source licence. Sun have provided the entire JDK source (including the VM code) under their own Sun Community Source Licence (see http://www.sun.com/software/communitysource/j2se/j ava2/download.xml [sun.com] for the current 1.5 code). There are various restrictions imposed by the SCSL which prevent free redistribution of changes unless you comply with certain conditions, and thus it's not considered to be an OSS licence.

      You need a bunch of binaries to get it bootstrapped (i.e. it requires Java to build Java) but the result is entirely compiled from the source you can get from the above site. ;)

      GPLing it is a change of licence terms, not a change in the actual availability of the source.
  • I'm very happy that Sun is going to bring Java -platform to Open Source and under GPL license.

    I believe that this move by Sun will increase development speed of Java and more importantly it will make Java more common. By having Java as a GPL, there is no reason left why Linux distributions wouldn't include Java in default installation. By becoming a standard part of Linux installations, it will gather more mind share from developers, both open source and commercial, and make developing of Java based appli
  • by DimGeo (694000) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:59AM (#16821692) Homepage
    ... welcome our new Duke overlord.
  • Wow! Despite all the rumours, I never really believed Sun would release Java under GPL instead of CDDL. Hats off to Sun. I assume the class libraries are also under GPL. The question I now have is, have they explicitly given a GPL linking exception for the class libraries to avoid GPL tainting Java code? Rather than implicitly saying there's no problem, I hope they make an explicit exception similar to the one given for FSF's libgcc or libstdc++.
  • After the Microsoft-Novell deal, this couldn't come at a better time.

    And Java 1.6 (6?) is coming really soon now.
  • is that we'll see applications built on custom versions of Java that aren't compatible with each other or have fixed bugs differently to how someone else has fixed them.

    Hopefully Ubuntu, Debian and Fedora will just take the current version of Java, compile it with all the bugs still intact (I'm not kidding!!) and stick it in the repositories.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Just Some Guy (3352)
      we'll see applications built on custom versions of Java that aren't compatible with each other or have fixed bugs differently to how someone else has fixed them.

      I know. I hate navigating the maze of incompatible GCC, Perl and Python implementations we're stuck with.

  • by Espectr0 (577637) on Monday November 13, 2006 @07:05AM (#16821734) Journal
    I wonder what is going to happen to these three projects?
    Let's hope now Java integrates all the good features of C#, like true generics.
    • by julesh (229690) on Monday November 13, 2006 @07:41AM (#16822020)
      I wonder what is going to happen to these three projects?

      GCJ will survive because it provides a facility that doesn't exist in the standard JDK (i.e., ahead-of-time compilation).

      Kaffe will survive because it's BSD licensed.

      Classpath will initially try to survive by copying large amounts of original Java code into itself, but I suspect will eventually become irrelevant as patches for classpath-using applications become available to allow them to use the original Java class library.

      Let's hope now Java integrates all the good features of C#, like true generics.

      That's easier said than done. A stable binary platform is important to the success of Java, and I suspect implementations of this kind of thing (of which there will be multiple) will result in a forked, fragmented platform with multiple implementations incompatible of interoperating with each other. Then an official Java distribution will pick up new features at probably only slightly faster rates than the current one, and the best of the features will be backported. We'll see slightly accelerated improvements in "official" Java because of the interest, but nothing dramatic, is my guess.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        This should substantially help GCJ, because last time I checked it uses the standard libraries from Classpath to compile programs. Some things were unimplemented in Classpath, and so you could run into problems compiling non-trivial applications in GCJ.
  • by H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) on Monday November 13, 2006 @07:28AM (#16821914) Homepage Journal

    Richard Stallman discussed this in a Nov 1st interview. I've put a transcript online [fsfe.org].

  • by eclectro (227083) on Monday November 13, 2006 @07:59AM (#16822158)
    That it was all written using Visual Basic.
  • by bradbury (33372) <Robert,Bradbury&gmail,com> on Monday November 13, 2006 @08:17AM (#16822306) Homepage
    Anytime I startup a Java program I want to run and hide due to fear that the pages being swapped out to make room for it will crush me where I stand.

    Maybe as open source software people will be able to look at it and ask *why* does it have to take up so much memory to do such simple jobs? Compare for example Azureus (in Java) to bittorrent (in Python).
    • by RevMike (632002) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ekiMver>> on Monday November 13, 2006 @09:46AM (#16823252) Journal
      Anytime I startup a Java program I want to run and hide due to fear that the pages being swapped out to make room for it will crush me where I stand. Maybe as open source software people will be able to look at it and ask *why* does it have to take up so much memory to do such simple jobs? Compare for example Azureus (in Java) to bittorrent (in Python).

      You have to remember that you are starting up a full virtual machine environment. That is going to have lots of overhead, especially at initialization. Anyone who expects to run "Hello, World" programs efficiently is a fool.

      Java really does well with big server apps, where the cost of initialization can be amortized over a long period of time. Additionally, JIT compilation and live profiling really work well here.

      Server apps really do well with Java. There are fewer opportunities to create difficult to track bugs, memory management handles the fragmentation issues, etc. The performance delta between a C++ and a Java server app is often fairly negligible* while the development time is often substantially faster and it is easy to move to other platforms.

      * - A well written C++ app built for a generic processor architecture and a long running Java server app will frequently run about the same. The C++ app is stuck with the tuning choices made at compile time, while JIT and profiling available in Java will tune the Java app at run time, making up for the overhead of the virtual machine. If the "Gentoo" model is followed - the compiler is carefully set to provide maximum performance for a given machine - the C++ app can run substantially faster. However, the cost is that the binary can no longer be moved to a similar but not identical machine without rebuilding. This tuning activity typically requires lots of time and expertise, and generally makes environmental management efforts prohibitively complex. These solutions don't make their way into most real world environments.

  • by Lisandro (799651) on Monday November 13, 2006 @08:59AM (#16822708)
    I'm moving to Hell this summer. I hear the weather is lovely down there lately.
  • by aled (228417) on Monday November 13, 2006 @09:28AM (#16823018)
    What the people who believed this will never happen are saying now?
  • by greg_barton (5551) * <greg_barton@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Monday November 13, 2006 @11:28AM (#16824538) Homepage Journal
    I felt a great disturbance in the slashdot, as if millions of "sun is the next redmond" trolls cried out in terror, and then vanished.

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