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Sun to Fully Open Source Java 374

Posted by Soulskill
from the free-refills dept.
Dionysius, God of Wine and Leaf brings news that Sun Microsystems will be removing the last restrictions on Java to make it completely open source. Sun wants Java to be easily available for use in Linux distributions. We've discussed the steps Sun has taken to open-source Java over the past couple years. From Yahoo! News: "'We've been engaging with the open-source community for Java to finish off the OpenJDK project, and the specific thing that we've been working on with them is clearing the last bits that we didn't have the rights,' to distribute, Sands said. 'Over the past year, we have pretty much removed most of those encumbrances.' Work still needs to be done to offer the Java sound engine and SNMP code via open source; that effort is expected to be completed this year. Developers, though, may be able to proceed without a component like the sound engine, Sands said.
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Sun to Fully Open Source Java

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  • WARNING LAST MEASURE (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:30PM (#23176290)
    Don't click!
  • by TheLinuxSRC (683475) * <slashdot@@@pagewash...com> on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:36PM (#23176336) Homepage
    It has affected me personally by being a pain in the ass to install (back in the day) and more than willing to step on any other Java implementation I may have (more recently - ie blackdown etc...). The main effect this will have on the future is to remove this pain because now the distribution will be able to include it in their repositories, thus accounting for conflicts and dependencies so I don't have to. The only problem is that I now almost never use Java and will actively look for similar programs that are not written in Java to accomplish the same task just so I don't have to deal with Java. Java could have been something 10 years ago. Now, it is too little too late IMHO.

    Also, if you read the article, you will see that the new and improved Open Source Java will be missing some features (ie sound). So this isn't so much open-sourcing Java as it is removing the last offending bits that cannot be open-sourced and hoping they will be coded back in.

    Just my $0.02.
  • by Uncle Focker (1277658) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:36PM (#23176340)
    They've open sourced everything they had rights to do long ago. The only parts they didn't was due to stuff they had licensed and had no right to release the source code for. Seriously, how dare they not violate their contracts so that you could get code they had no right to release!
  • by linguae (763922) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:42PM (#23176392)

    Before I bought my Mac in summer 2006, I was a FreeBSD user. At the time, FreeBSD users were not able to download FreeBSD binaries of the latest versions of Java due to a licensing agreement IIRC; instead, they had to either download a binary of the older version, download the Linux binary and use FreeBSD's Linux binary emulation, or download the source code of Java (with a very restrictive license) and compile it, which took a long time. Now that Java will be fully open-source in the near future, life for FreeBSD users (as well as other platforms where Java is unsupported) would be much easier, as pre-compiled binaries would be allowed to be distributed without Sun's permission. A lot of us don't have the time to waste multiple hours compiling software.

  • by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @06:17PM (#23176722) Homepage

    I run only free software on my computers, so Sun's implementation of Java software was unavailable to me. I used other Java software as needed but I largely simply did without Java. The Java Trap [gnu.org] has ended for this software (similar non-free dependency traps exist for other software). I think what Sun is doing is a fine thing and I look forward to trying Sun's newly liberated Java software.

  • by setagllib (753300) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @06:29PM (#23176842)
    They're already merging in the form of IcedTea. However, this will be mostly unecessary when the full class library is opened.
  • by notamisfit (995619) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @06:32PM (#23176856)
    The license issued with the open source Java toolkits (based on the GNU Classpath library) explicitly permits linking with non-GPL modules.
  • by Slim Backwater (550617) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @06:49PM (#23176970)
    Great! Does that mean we might see a 64-bit plug sooner rather than later? We've been waiting over 5 years! [sun.com]
  • by Bogtha (906264) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @07:05PM (#23177086)

    I've been able to "apt-get install sun-java5-jdk" for a couple of years now on Debian and Ubuntu.

    And the reason for that is that Sun grants special permission to Linux and OpenSolaris distributions to do so under the DJL [java.net]. From the FAQ [java.net]:

    What is the Operating System Distribution License for Java (a.k.a. the "Distro License for Java" or DLJ)?

    The DLJ is a license created specifically for individuals and communities who want to distribute Sun's binary Java Development Kit (JDK) or Java Runtime Environment (JRE) with a Linux or OpenSolaris Operating System (OS) distribution.

    See FreeBSD listed there? Have a look around the site, every single mention of operating systems permitted under this agreement is specifically scoped to Linux and OpenSolaris only. That's why Ubuntu has a head-start on FreeBSD, not because they are better at packaging.

  • by Constantine XVI (880691) <trash...eighty+slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @07:20PM (#23177186)
    I'm going to ignore you being a buzzkill long enough to tell you that, in this particular instance, Sun is using the GPL with the Classpath exception, which means that it's perfectly okay to link to it without invoking the viral clause.
  • by SirLurksAlot (1169039) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @07:52PM (#23177378)

    Sun thought that Java was going to be the Next Big Thing

    And rightly so considering the last 13 or so years of development in the industry.

    Java lost a lot of ground in the back-end space to Python, Ruby, and others

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this remark is probably only true regarding FOSS projects. Looking at this statement from a commercial development point of view is another ballgame entirely.

    Job search hits from Dice.com

    Lets be honest, the industry as it currently stands runs on Java and .NET. This is not to say that OSS and the languages mentioned above are not gaining ground quickly, but I think its important to keep a historical perspective regarding the status of Java. Java really was/is the Next Big Thing, and it will almost certainly become the next COBOL in terms of the amount of code which will need to be maintained decades from now.

  • Re:MySQL (Score:5, Informative)

    by $criptah (467422) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:05PM (#23177446) Homepage
    You obviously did not read the comments about MySQL posted by MySQL's ex-CEO. They are not taking MySQL away by any means. The core of the product will always be GPL! What they are going to do is to close source some add-ons in order to generate more revenue so they can pay developers who write those things. In other words, if you really want to get some latest gadgets for MySQL, you'll have to pay. That is okay with me. Open Source at its finest :)
  • by abigor (540274) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:07PM (#23177460)
    Disclaimer: I am not a Java fan, and particularly not a J2EE fan. But just so you know, Java is basically THE enterprise web app development language, and indeed THE enterprise language period. At this point in time, pretty much all the big server-side stuff is written in Java.

    You talk about "trouble competing" - it hasn't had to compete. There is no choice, in the minds of management everywhere. It has been a massive, enormous success (measured in terms of penetration) in the enterprise, and there are so many lines of deployed Java running everything from corporate IT to banking to network management systems that it is truly astounding. Most of it sucks, of course, but my point is that your comment implies Java is on shaky ground in terms of acceptance, and that is totally naive, particularly in the corporate world. When I go to meet clients about projects, there is no debate about which language we're going to use, unfortunately. It is a de facto corporate standard.

    And even for the web front ends, I see GWT getting more and more popular, so who knows. When Google makes their contractors use a particular technology, it tends to leak out and get deployed all over the place as those contractors become enamoured of it.
  • by petermgreen (876956) <plugwash&p10link,net> on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:27PM (#23177614) Homepage
    Long ago is a bit of an exaggeration, the first code drop was less than two years ago and the first drop of the majority of the code

    Sun was talking about open sourcing java for many years, but it was only fairly recently (december 2006) that they actually annouced the license they planned to use and gave us a little taste of code (not that said code was much use on it's own). and promised all of the JDK "except for a few components that Sun does not have the right to publish in source form under the GPL" would be released by march of the next year

    Then when it came we discovered that those few components included serveral major parts of the graphics subsystem. Progress to getting high quality replacements for those components and getting them into the official codebase has been rather slow and is still not complete.

    Also it was only last febuary that they opensourced anything from the java6 codebase, before that everything they released was from the java 7 alpha codebase, hardly ideal for production use (though a couple of linux distros shipped the code anyway because they considered it better than nothin).

    This article doesn't really tell us anything we didn't know already.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:31PM (#23177648)

    A lot of us don't have the time to waste multiple hours compiling software.


    See pkg_add(1), or 'cd /usr/ports/category/program && make package' once and use the resulting binary on multiple systems.

    No one says you have to compile from source all the time on FreeBSD (even though that's what most people seem to do).
  • by LDoggg_ (659725) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @09:25PM (#23178018) Homepage
    And what does this have to do with Sun, you ask? When I ask ARM why they don't make the Jazelle specs public, they say it's because Sun required them to be closed, so that can't change until Sun OKs it.

    That's not exactly the story I've gotten from these guys. Directly from ARM 2 years ago in regard to my many inquires about getting specs for jazelle to build a VM for my nokia 770:

    "Enabling Jazelle is something that is done by the Java VM and OS, and ARM have worked with many handset vendors and Java platform vendors to ensure this happens as widely as possible, investing many 10s of man years into the Jazelle software enabling technology. If your device does not already enable Jazelle, I suggest you talk to the vendor about this. Please note, the license between ARM and Sun for Java technology is based on the Sun commercial license and not on a GPL license."

    It's greed plain and simple. I wasn't asking them for a Sun JVM, just hardware specs to apply to a small free JVM. It's not good enough that you buy the hardware and want to use what you own. You have to pay them again to actually utilize all the features of the chip.

    ARM can go to hell.
  • by anomalous cohort (704239) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @09:35PM (#23178060) Homepage Journal

    Java lost a lot of ground in the back-end space to Python, Ruby

    Uh, huh. A quick reality check over at dice shows number of jobs for java = 15831, number of jobs for python = 1396, number of jobs for ruby = 759. The same search over at Monster shows number of jobs for java > 5000, number of jobs for python = 1256, number of jobs for ruby = 663.

    tight control to prevent it being forked by competitors or used in manners that they didn't approve of

    Did we forget about this [news.com]?

  • AMD64 users rejoice (Score:2, Informative)

    by LaurensVH (1079801) <lvh@noSPAm.laurensvh.be> on Thursday April 24, 2008 @01:56AM (#23179646)
    Everything on AMD64 works fine expect for a few fiddly bits that just don't work reliably:
    1. Flash plugin
    2. Java plugin
    3. WMV HD movie audio (wma9dmo)
    Those are the only few I can come up with at the moment... Lets hope (2) gets fixed soon!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 24, 2008 @06:17AM (#23180484)
    "...and the space occupied by the applet was essentially devoured by Ajax."

    You mean Flash.
  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Thursday April 24, 2008 @09:51AM (#23181986) Homepage Journal

    For one thing Python is dynamically typed and Java isn't and there are a lot of cases where I personally prefer the rigor of a language with strict typing.

    Python is dynamically, strictly typed.

    Or perhaps you're a bit confused between Java and JavaScript? A lot of people make that mistake.

    Yeah, we had been seriously considering rewriting our core business logic modules in JavaScript.

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