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Java Programming Software Sun Microsystems

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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  • by Tenebrousedge (1226584) <tenebrousedge@NospAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @04:26PM (#23176268)
    I would pose the following question to slashdot: how has Java being closed source affected you personally, and what effects do you see this having in the future?
  • by r_jensen11 (598210) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @04:37PM (#23176346)

    I would pose the following question to slashdot: how has Java being closed source affected you personally, and what effects do you see this having in the future?
    I don't really care too much about the proprietary-ness of Java. Since I'm not a Linux zealot, I just care that it does what I want it to do. I didn't care that VMWare is proprietary when I tried it out, nor did I care about propriety when I tried out Maya.

    I suspect I'm with the majority of /. here, but not with the vocal minority of Linux users (I have to specific Linux users because of the also [very] vocal Apple users.)
  • by abigor (540274) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @04:39PM (#23176360)
    He was implying that it would have been a big mistake to have chosen Java, and that in fact Sun did them a huge favour by making them choose a better language/framework instead. Of course, now that I've had to explain it, it's not funny anymore.
  • by jdb2 (800046) * on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @04:40PM (#23176368) Journal
    Opensource developers have put an enormous effort into the GNU Classpath Project [gnu.org]which has almost reached 1.0 status and that aims to be a free implementation of the Java class libraries. Indeed, who can calculate the man-years that have gone into this project? I can't believe it will just up and die when Sun opensources Java. Will we have two diverging implementations or will they merge?

    jdb2

  • Denix (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dnix (831940) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @04:42PM (#23176402) Homepage
    that's simply another clear intention of IT giants to exploit open source community! they opensource it only because they are realizing java is dieing! Look at this: http://www.news.com/IT-giants-accused-of-exploiting-open-source/2100-7344_3-5726714.html [news.com]
  • by julie-h (530222) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @04:44PM (#23176416) Homepage
    I hope you are right! I just fear that GNU would flame any distribution that removes gjc or doesn't make it the default :(
  • by Spasemunki (63473) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @04:58PM (#23176570) Homepage
    I suspect the poster is alluding to the fact that Sun's decision not to make Java more open from the beginning cost them a lot of position in the market. Sun thought that Java was going to be the Next Big Thing, and so kept the language under their tight control to prevent it being forked by competitors or used in manners that they didn't approve of. The result was that because of 1) objections to Sun's control of the language, and 2) Sun's priorities in terms of support for certain platforms and not others, Java lost a lot of ground in the back-end space to Python, Ruby, and others, and the space occupied by the applet was essentially devoured by Ajax. Sun was envisioning Java as having a ubiquity in the application space to rival that of C in the systems space, but it hasn't really reached that potential. The decision to push for a closed, tightly controlled language early on is a good part of what caused that.
  • by Bogtha (906264) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:10PM (#23176660)

    how has Java being closed source affected you personally

    I installed ejabberd, an Erlang-based Jabber server on FreeBSD this week from ports. For some reason it needed a JDK to install. Normal ports installation didn't work because FreeBSD doesn't have a distribution license. I had to download the file manually, put it in the right directory, then go back to the Sun website, register an account there, log in, download a timezone update, and put that in the right directory too. Only at that point could I install it. And I didn't even want Java in the first place!

    The whole process was pointless (it's not like my manual downloading gained Sun anything worthwhile) and felt like a throwback to downloading Slackware floppy disk images back in the early 90s. Every other piece of software I've installed through ports has been downloaded and installed automatically, like it should. But because of this idiotic imaginary property idea, I've got to mess around trying to make the computer happy instead of it doing work for me. This is 2008, I shouldn't have to jump through hoops for bullshit reasons.

  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:10PM (#23176662) Homepage Journal

    You chose your language based solely on the license, rather than how well it supported your development tasks?

    You say that as though there's a difference. We were migrating from a legacy codebase in Visual FoxPro, and learned well the lessons against using sole-provider solutions. The absolute last thing we were willing to do was throw ourselves again to the mercy of someone else's whims. With Python, and now Java, we get to keep some of that control.

  • Re:Java vs. Python? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by turgid (580780) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:13PM (#23176678) Journal

    What are the pros and cons of each when you have to interface with another language or platform?

    How do you deal with code written in C++ and PERL, for example? And, for a couple of years, Ruby has been a buzzword.

  • by Big Jojo (50231) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:22PM (#23176768)

    I still want to know when the ARM hardware support for Java will have public specs: Jazelle, as found on ARMv5TEJ and ARM6 cores. The ARM926ej-s cores (ARMv5tej) are some of the most widely used ones. ARM6 is found in Nokia N800 series. Until Jazelle specs become available, none of those chips can leverage the hardware support for Java using a GPL'd JVM. They have to buy a JVM from somewhere else. This affects the JVM used with Android, for one example. It increases the runtime footprint of JVMs on embedded hardware ... to the degree that using Java isn't necessarily practical.

    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.

    Of course, I've kind of lost interest in Java, myself; I don't work in areas it matters any more. If Sun hadn't been mismanaging it, I might not have moved away from such areas. Oh well; that's just more water under the bridge.

  • by fm6 (162816) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:56PM (#23177020) Homepage Journal

    Sun thought that Java was going to be the Next Big Thing, and so kept the language under their tight control to prevent it being forked by competitors or used in manners that they didn't approve of.
    That's the official story, and it's true as far as it goes. But it's not the whole truth.

    The big problem has been Sun's corporate mindset. Until recently, key decision makers at Sun, both on the business side and the R&D site, seriously believed that they were smarter than everybody else, and had no need to listen to anybody else's ideas. That's why Sun stuck with SPARC processors so very long after it became obvious that commodity processors were the future — SPARC architecture is superior to x86, end of discussion. It's also why Sun's first attempt to move to commodity systems (by spending $2 billion for Cobalt Networks) was a total disaster: the Cobalt people couldn't get any respect from the rest of Sun, and quickly moved on. I can think of many other examples.

    I was a contractor at Sun/JavaSoft in '98, and saw this attitude all over the place. In some cases, I couldn't get access to the FrameMaker source for key specifications because the spec owners feared "forked" copies of the specs!

    The really sad thing is that many of these people were every bit as smart as they themselves thought they were. But their raw intelligence was often wasted, because you need a certain willingness to collaborate to create a real product.

    I recently came back to Sun as a regular employee. I like to think this intellectual arrogance is no longer a major problem here. Part of this is the example set by current upper management, which seems to understand the problems I describe. But the big reason: most of the my-way-or-the-highway geniuses have been hired away by Google.
  • by Isomer (48061) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:56PM (#23177028) Homepage
    Java couldn't be installed by my distro, and while I could install it by hand, it's annoying to do by hand. And to make matters worse, to install by hand required you to play EULA hopscotch through Sun's site to download it.

    And because Java itself wasn't in any of the distro repositories, no program that depended on java would be in the repositories either. So any java program I wanted to run was going to be annoying to install, so I would often try and find an alternative in a more usefully supported language that could be managed by my package manager.

    The Java browser plugin, requiring java was also a pain to install, so I never bothered with sites that required a java plugin -- it was too much hassle.

    So all in all, I rarely, if ever, had any java software on my machine, and I suspect this is true of a lot of people. I suspect this had a chilling effect on Java under Linux/*BSD's, or on websites as plugins since people would tend to use/support/develop on software that was more easily installable.
  • by GuidoW (844172) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @06:30PM (#23177248)

    Well, gcj produces native machine code, so it's scope is obviously a bit different. The resulting binaries are not very much faster than Java Bytecode, but at least they require a lot less memory.

    Also, who ever said the FOSS community can't have two or more different solutions to the same problem?

  • Browser Plugin (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WarJolt (990309) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @06:36PM (#23177292)
    I know java is more than just a browser plugin, but maybe now finally I can run Java with my 64-bit browser.
  • by fbjon (692006) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @06:47PM (#23177350) Homepage Journal
    If those people moved to Google, can we then expect Google to become mired in similar internal issues?
  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @06:51PM (#23177368) Homepage Journal

    That is exactly how we feel about it. FoxPro certainly isn't my choice of development environments, but our old code runs - and runs well. The only reason we're migrating away is that it's officially a dead language, and it's crazy to keep developing on something whose owner has said has no future.

    So that's how we ended up on Python. Java probably would have done most of the same stuff, and it'd probably be easier to find Java programmers where I live, but we weren't going to fall sucker to that problem again.

  • by wawannem (591061) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @07:55PM (#23177824) Homepage
    call me an old-timer, but I remember a time when the linux kernel attempted to support java - http://www.linuxhq.com/kernel/v1.3/100/fs/binfmt_java.c [linuxhq.com]
  • by domatic (1128127) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:26PM (#23178028)

    For the record OO, also has a clause that stops it being fully GPL, thats why neo office code cant be used



    One part of this I don't understand and the other part isn't factual. If OO wasn't "fully GPL" then NeoOffice wouldn't exist in the first place. It is true that Sun only accepts contributions if the copyright is turned over to them but that in no way un-GPL's the software.

    As for NeoOffice, they contribute or at least attempt to contribute bugfixes under Sun's terms because bugs in the core OO code affect them too. But there is a political/personality problem that cause the OO devs to ignore the NeoOffice guys. For instance, the X11 OO on OS X was unable to open files on a network share. The NeoOffice guys had this problem fixed for two years before it was fixed in OO and had to keep forward porting the fix because NeoOffice is Politically Incorrect over in OO land.
  • IcedTea works pretty well on my X64 Debian system: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IcedTea [wikipedia.org]

    I still have a Sun 1.6 JDK installed, which I use for all my development work; however, IcedTea is my default JRE, and I've not had any issues so far. It's eased my need for a Java plugin. no more 32bit firefox^W Iceweasel for me!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 24, 2008 @05:21AM (#23180498)
    A few years ago, yes. I remember my perl days fondly, and CPAN meant you could bring a load of tested, working libraries and put them together and create a system rapidly.

    It took Java quite some time to get a decent sized library (and still there is no central repository, unless you stick with the Apache projects only).

    Btw, I doubt 1500 Java Developers working on 40 projects would be very efficient, that's nearly 40 a project, it would collapse. And if the project was big enough to split up into subprojects, then one Perl developer would be in seriously over their head regardless of their skills.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

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