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Java Programming

Sun's Java Will Be Free This Year 274

Posted by kdawson
from the long-strange-trip dept.
Ian Whyde notes that Sun is finally coming to the end of its struggle to open up Java completely. Simon Phipps, the chief open source officer at Sun Microsystems, said: "There were a couple of holdouts there. One was the area to do with raster graphics and 2D graphics. That turned out to be owned by a company that didn't want us to release that code as open source. We negotiated with them and because they've said 'yes, you can open source the code'... The only element that's left now is actually a sound-related component within Java. We finally decided that the vendor that's involved there just isn't going to play ball and we're rewriting the code from scratch. That's going to be done within the next couple of months." In another sense the milestone of a free Java was reached this week when IcedTea passed the rigorous Java Test Compatibility Kit.
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Sun's Java Will Be Free This Year

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  • Next Question... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Techman83 (949264) on Monday June 23, 2008 @05:15AM (#23901057)
    64bit Support? Well I guess that will be trivial when we can at least build from source. Then into packages and Repo's :D
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2008 @05:18AM (#23901071)

      And then we can fork it and wreak havoc on MicroSoft's plans by calling it .Nut!
      Oh yey.

    • Re:Next Question... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Octorian (14086) on Monday June 23, 2008 @07:50AM (#23901695) Homepage

      Java has had 64-bit support for a very long time.

      The only thing they haven't provided is a 64-bit web browser plugin. (And believe it or not, these days applets are probably the vast minority of where Java is actually used.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2008 @05:19AM (#23901073)

    Am I the only one who loves Coldfusion?

    -Jim Bastard

  • by crazybit (918023) on Monday June 23, 2008 @05:27AM (#23901105)

    Why don't they just optimize the needed lines from IcedTea and glue them to their licensed code?

    isn't that supposed to be the way OSS benefits the community?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2008 @05:33AM (#23901135)

      Sun wants to retain the dual licensing model for now (see above) and thus they cannot just use GPL'd code just yet. On the bright side they can change the license now at wish and can make Java GPLv3 or BSD any time they want.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheSHAD0W (258774)

      Or just post it with dummy code for the audio, so the community will be able to contribute working code? If you're going to post it as open-source, why not let that work for you, too?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by benad (308052) *

        Uh... Sun did that last summer, and the IcedTea provided the implementation.

        What Sun is doing is to re-implement the audio code themselves so that they can dual-license Java.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2008 @05:43AM (#23901175)

    I think I'm with everyone here if I give Sun a big "Thank you!" for all their trouble and effort. Java would probably one of the biggest wins for the community and its release when it comes will be worth a celebration.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      I would think it was a big win if you could get a version of Java easily available on a shared webhosting environment. Most hosting services don't even offer it. And those that do, do weird kludges to get things working, such as rebooting the server every night, so that your .war files are reloaded. Maybe things have changed in the last couple of years, since I last went looking. I really wish I didn't have to use PHP, with it's half-baked object oriented API, and something that could actually compile, a
      • by TheSunborn (68004)

        Reboot the server to reload war files? What kind of hack was that???

        Tomcat have always* suported reloading war files. They even include a web utility where each customer can start/stop/reload his servlet.

        *At least at far back as I can remember.

      • by caluml (551744)

        I would think it was a big win if you could get a version of Java easily available on a shared webhosting environment.
        It's too tricky to stop people messing with other's applications. Just get a VPS [linuxvps.org] and run whatever you like.
        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          That's my point. There should be a good way to run Java in a shared hosting environment. A VPS would be the next best alternative, however, it's usually a lot more expensive than a shared hosting environment. The site you linked to, is definitely not for novices. As they start you with SSH, and let you do the rest of the work. Some basic preconfigured options such as a Java web server would be a nice starting point for many people.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by ckaminski (82854)
            There's work being done today to rework the JVM to more easily support shared hosting environments with secured memory pools and separate classloaders. It's coming. Sun and the Java community see this as a serious deficiency. Who knows when we'll see if resolved, however.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by mhall119 (1035984)

            Bea is doing some interesting things with their LiquidVM [bea.com], which lets you run Weblogic as the "Guest OS" on top of your hypervisor. I can see this letting shared hosting companies offer J2EE to their clients.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2008 @05:47AM (#23901197)

    This is also the year of Linux on desktop.

  • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Monday June 23, 2008 @05:51AM (#23901223)

    We finally decided that the vendor that's involved there just isn't going to play ball and we're rewriting the code from scratch. That's going to be done within the next couple of months.
    One of the major benefits of releasing something into open source is the volunteer help. Don't hold it back just because a relatively small component needs to be rewritten. Remove the component again, leaving stubs, and just explain what it's supposed to do. For something as major as a GPL Java, the component will be rewritten by volunteers in no time at all, plus a small well defined project like that is a great way to get up to speed on a new code base.
    • by HJED (1304957) on Monday June 23, 2008 @06:33AM (#23901377)
      there are volunteers who have been working on this for some time here [java.net]
      which is what JDK 7 .0 [java.net] is based on!
    • by mhall119 (1035984) on Monday June 23, 2008 @12:43PM (#23905167) Homepage Journal

      One of the major benefits of releasing something into open source is the volunteer help. Don't hold it back just because a relatively small component needs to be rewritten. Remove the component again, leaving stubs, and just explain what it's supposed to do. For something as major as a GPL Java, the component will be rewritten by volunteers in no time at all, plus a small well defined project like that is a great way to get up to speed on a new code base.
      That is exactly what Sun did, the released all of the code they owned as GPL (last year), and provided binary "plugs" for the rest so that you could still modify and compile a working JVM. Redhat's IcedTea project took the available code, replaced the "plugs" with code from the Classpath project, and produced a fully GPL'd JVM.

      However, Sun's JVM is dual-licensed, and as such they can't just include the Classpath code like IcedTea did, as that would violate Classpath's GPL license. Instead Sun is re-implementing the remaining code so that it can be dual-licensed as well.

  • I hope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dwalsh (87765) on Monday June 23, 2008 @05:54AM (#23901233)

    ... people recognize the scale and generosity of what Sun have done in GPL'ing their crown jewel.

    • Re:I hope (Score:5, Funny)

      by kaffiene (38781) on Monday June 23, 2008 @06:15AM (#23901307)

      You're new to slashdot, then?

    • Re:I hope (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2008 @06:18AM (#23901319)

      I don't want to take away from the great collaberative thing they've done. They are definitely pulling their weight. However, you should realise they don't do this because they are a charity. They do this because they think it will give them commercial gain.

      It's main benefit is it becomes much safer to rely on Java than on DotNet. Once Sun has done this you can commit to their platform knowing that they cannot take the rug away from under your own software. That's a promise which makes Sun Java much more attractive.

    • Re:I hope (Score:5, Funny)

      by nonewmsgs (1249950) on Monday June 23, 2008 @06:30AM (#23901357)

      ... people recognize the scale and generosity of what Sun have done in GPL'ing their crown jewel.

      you mean zfs is going to be gpl'ed?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        That's the rumor goin' round, since the pictures of Jeff Bonwick (Guy in charge of ZFS) and Linus Torvalds havin' some beers together surfaced: relevent article [practical-tech.com]
        • by drinkypoo (153816)
          I sure hope you're right, because ZFS has some keen goodies. I'd really prefer that the last issues in XFS be fixed and then the missing functionality be added to XFS if possible (like shrinking) but I'd accept ZFS. On the other hand, it's no panacea. People seem to think it's a replacement for RAID, and it isn't. But since Linux RAID isn't likely to go away, ZFS would be a win for everyone.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by isorox (205688)

      ... people recognize the scale and generosity of what Sun have done in GPL'ing their crown jewel.

      Is it still their crown jewel, more than ZFS, DTrace, and other Solaris 10 features?
      • by Octorian (14086)

        Those are already making their way into other operating systems, including F/OSS ones. Just not Linux, because they're under GPL-incompatible licenses.

        (MacOS 10.5 has DTrace, FreeBSD 7 has ZFS, etc.)

      • by samkass (174571)

        Is it still their crown jewel, more than ZFS, DTrace, and other Solaris 10 features?
        They didn't change their company's stock ticker [yahoo.com] to "ZFS"...
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I doubt Sun did this out of altruism. They didn't start being more open with Java until they had competition in the form of .Net

      However, props to Sun for doing the sensible thing.

    • I hope people recognize the scale and generosity of what Sun have done in GPL'ing their crown jewel.

      What? Sun is a company, doing what benefits themselves. The last reason they're doing this is for "the good of the world". This is a simple business transaction, no appreciation required.

      The reason they're doing it is that they fear the GPL'd version(s) of Java that are being rewritten, and fear being forked and irrelevent. This neatly cuts the other projects off at the knees and ensures they maintain c

  • by Anonymous Coward

    According to http://java.sun.com/products/java-media/sound/soundbanks.html that looks like Thomas "Dolby" Robertson's Beatnik, Inc. -- or who "isn't going to play ball"?

  • by silentcoder (1241496) on Monday June 23, 2008 @06:29AM (#23901355) Homepage

    RMS has decried the GPL'ing of Java as being a major assault on free software advocacy.
    "For years we have warned people to steer clear of writing free software in languages that require non-free VM's or other components to work by calling this the 'Java trap'. Using this well known example with a VM that is slow and bloated and used for software that doesn't fit into any OS anywhere and which nobody actually liked, quickly got the point made and we could then more easily make the point about things that some people actually enjoyed like educational games written in flash... now SUN has GPL'd Java they have made removed our greatest example of the evils of the erm flash trap ! This may still have been a win for free software if only anything usable had ever been written in Java - but seeing as nothing has, it was only ever good as an example. Universities used the language as an example of good object orientation, we used the license as an example of the s/java/flash/g trap" the FSF founder said in a press release.

    Despite his hardcore geek nature the release will more likely be remembered for his attempts at a verbal sed script than for it's actual point.

    • Re:In other news (Score:5, Interesting)

      by silentcoder (1241496) on Monday June 23, 2008 @06:38AM (#23901389) Homepage

      WTF !?!?!?
      What kind of crack made a mod rate me INTERESTING there ? Was the satire/joke not obvious enough ?!

      • by Mortice (467747) on Monday June 23, 2008 @06:42AM (#23901411)

        s/obvious/funny/g

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Just Some Guy (3352)

        "Funny" doesn't give you karma, but "Interesting" does. Someone was throwing you a bone for being funny, but had to work around Slashdot's broken moderation system.

      • Re:In other news (Score:5, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday June 23, 2008 @10:57AM (#23903555) Homepage Journal

        Obviously you don't understand teh slashdot. When someone mods you funny the comment gets scored up but you don't. So if you get modded funny and then overrated over and over all day, you will lose karma without the negative moderations ever going to metamoderation. Modding a joke with insightful is a means of combating this shortcoming of slashdot; insight is the key component of successful humor, so it is the most rational moderation to apply to a funny comment if you want to prevent this potential karma attack.

        Obviously, karma is just a number, and you don't even get to see it; any poster who is right more than wrong tends to hit the karma kap (last I heard, it was 50) pretty quickly and stay within ten points of it, thus having no problem maintaining their comment score bonus. On the other hand, this is a real problem (funny is a positive moderation option because humor is a positive force - why should people be penalized for being funny?) so deliberately working against it is entirely valid.

        I set myself unwilling to moderate because of the serious flaws in the moderation system; besides the above there is the very real problem that you are not allowed to comment and vote in the same story. The people most likely to post a comment actually worth reading and the only people actually qualified to moderate comments in a story are the same people! It's just like jury selection - to (poorly?) paraphrase Dennis Miller, the only way you can even get on a Jury is to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that you don't know shit about the case in question. Guess what? Moderation works precisely the same way. You can vote, or you can contribute actual information, but you can't do both.

    • It sounds like something RMS could say :D... Hence the moderation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Marcus Green (34723)

      "RMS has decried the GPL'ing of Java as being a major assault on free software advocacy."

      Strange, according to multiple easily locatable sources Mr Stallman was very pleased with the idea and execution of the release of Java under the GPL and when the GPL announcement was made a video was available of him endorsing the move. Could you give a source for your apparent quote from RMS?

    • Dumbass mods (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by Nimey (114278)

      This is funny, not interesting.

  • It's good news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bogaboga (793279) on Monday June 23, 2008 @07:11AM (#23901541)
    Once again, I thank SUN for all efforts in this direction. My request to other OSS evangelists is to let existing Open source implementations of Java die so that efforts can be spent on this SUN implementation alone. The availability of multiple implementations of the same idea is not getting us very far so far. I hope we have learned from this.
    • My request to other OSS evangelists is to let existing Open source implementations of Java die.
      My request to you is to stop posting messages because I'd rather you spend your time on my pet project.

      Seriously -- would you ever comply with my request? How do you feel about me even asking it?
    • or... use the GPL code and make those implementation better and then let the evolution follow its course and weed out the bad projects. Who knows maybe another OSS implementation might prove to be better than Sun's.

  • by mrpacmanjel (38218) on Monday June 23, 2008 @08:46AM (#23901999)

    I Have enjoyed writing software in Mono for the past year or so and developing .Net applications at work a little longer.

    But one thing bothers me - you know what I going to say next.... ..Patents! or MS derived technology.

    Now, to be fair it seems pretty much most software is 'perceived' to violate a patent of some description today.

    As I understand it the mono vm apparently is o.k. but some of the libraries(e.g. ADO, Windows.Forms, ASP and even c#) are suppossed to violate patents and this is unfortunate.

    Some of the software I have written will have commercial applications and the *uncertainty* of the status of mono in general is in question. Even the MS 'agreements' signed by Novell purposely *exclude* mono in any protection.

    Personally I prefer Mono(and some great apps are available-e.g. Banshee, MonoDevelop) compared to Java but because of the huge amount of work by Sun and the community to fully open-source Java I will switch to it immediately.

    My reasons to switch are:
    1) Java is open-sourced and the actual company(Sun) that created it are fully involved and are a positive influence in the community.
    2) Java is present in almost all modern mobile phones. There is great potential to leverage this and I'm sure there are many ways this can be used with the Desktop.
    3) The development tools are free, full versions and are very powerful. Visual Studio Express is free but it has reduced functionality compared to the full version.
    4) 'Peace of Mind'. I can develop my software without looking over my shoulder wondering 'will I get sued'!
    5) .Net's direction from v2.00 to v3.5 is becoming more tied in to Windows. From v3.0(or v3.5?) Microsoft included Vista libraries are part of the default installation. It's the old MS Treadmill(tm) all over again.

    As far as I know both Java and Mono are very capable technologies. It is difficult to choose one on technical merit alone, it comes down to the licensing - Sun has fully committed to the community and Microsoft has been fairly under-handed.

    If Mono is to survive and be taken seriously within the community it must take a completely different direction. Start developing open-source equivalents of the libraries (e.g. gtk# for gui controls).

    Like I said before I prefer Mono to Java (concerning the gui Mono just 'feels' more responsive than Java).

    What we should do as a community is to fully get behind Java and push its development and start using it on the desktop. We can create some great applications for it and keep open-source software 'untainted'.

    Sun have made a great long-term decision by opening-up Java - it will be seen as a safe option and is available for many platforms. .Net's long-term future is in doubt because Microsoft will not open-source or allow competing versions to exist. Many forms of computers now exist today in mobile phones, pdas, laptops and many different types of CPUs. Java(in various forms) runs everywhere. By using Java as a common standard all these devices can communicate together and develop interesting uses.

    Just the insane ramblings of a elderly programmer (I'm 38 you know!).

    P.S. 'Get off my lawn!'

  • Richard was right (Score:5, Informative)

    by iwbcman (603788) on Monday June 23, 2008 @08:51AM (#23902031) Homepage
    Richard was right.

    Do you guys and gals remember when Richard did a short stint in a video for Sun following the announcement that Sun had decided to GPL Java ?

    I can only imagine how happy Richard was on that day. He had every reason to be so. Not simply because Sun had chosen to use his license for Java-but rather because of a little bit of historical trivia that most Free Software users are too young to remember.

    Now surely you know the name James Gosling. He was the one who created Java. But did you know that there is a rather interesting relationship between him and Richard ?

    One of the single biggest reasons that Richard wrote the GPL and created what we now know as Free Software has everything to do with James Gosling.

    "In the early years (1984 to 1988), the GNU Project did not have a single license to cover all its software. What led Stallman to the creation of this copyleft license was his experience with James Gosling, creator of NeWs and the Java programming language, and UniPress, over Emacs. While Stallman created the first Emacs in 1975, Gosling wrote the first C-based Emacs (Gosling Emacs) running on Unix in 1982. Gosling initally allowed free distribution of the Gosling Emacs source code, which Stallman used in early 1985 in the first version (15.34) of GNU Emacs. Gosling later sold rights to Gosling Emacs to UniPress, and Gosling Emacs became UniPress Emacs. UniPress threatened Stallman to stop distributing the Gosling source code, and Stallman was forced to comply. He later replace these parts with his own code. (Emacs version 16.56). (See the Emacs Timeline) To prevent free code from being proprietarized in this manner in the future, Stallman invented the GPL."

    http://www.free-soft.org/gpl_history/ [free-soft.org]

    Many people who are ignorant of this history have always been affronted by Stallman's use of the phrase "Java Trap". But is it really any wonder that Richard chose to use that expression-given what personally had transpired between him and James Gosling.

    Bill Joy was the cofounder of Sun Microsystems. He is also the guy who originally wrote Vi. Bill Joy was also friends with James Gosling- and made Gosling's baby practically synonymous with the name Sun.

    This little bit of trivia adds a whole lot to all of the flamefests over the years about Emacs vs. Vi. SunOS, which we now know as OpenSolaris, was the first heavily commercialized version of what we now know as BSD. Bill Joy used the code written at Berkley to create the original SunOS.

    That Java is now GPL is nothing less than Sun saying to Richard-"Richard, you were right". And if one day OpenSolaris embraces the GPL Richard's victory will be complete.

    You may think this is nothing but propaganda-but I encourage you to actually *learn* about the history of these giants of the computer world.

    Now that the OpenJDK is %100 Free, %100 GPL, Richard has received the kind of vindication that hardly *anyone* in life ever gets. Cheers to you Richard and Cheers to Sun for seeing the light.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Interesting perspective. Not to take away from what you said, but:

      SunOS, which we now know as OpenSolaris, was the first heavily commercialized version of what we now know as BSD. Bill Joy used the code written at Berkley to create the original SunOS.
      The old SunOS (4.1.4 and prior) was based on BSD. SunOS 5.x (Solaris 2.x and up) is based on SVR4.
    • by nsayer (86181) <nsayer@NosPaM.kfu.com> on Monday June 23, 2008 @11:42AM (#23904201) Homepage

      Bill Joy used the code written at Berkley to create the original SunOS.
      You do realize that Bill Joy was recruited to Sun from the UCB CSRG that was working on BSD, right? Your statement leaves out the fact that Bill Joy was himself a rather major contributor to BSD before he left to join Sun.

  • Free only this year? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the_olo (160789) on Monday June 23, 2008 @09:52AM (#23902777) Homepage

    I've downloaded Java from Sun a couple of years ago and didn't have to pay a dime!

    (ducks for cover)

    .

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    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    I know, I know, free beer vs free speech, RMS etc.

    Seriously, though, does anybody know of significant Java apps that use that javax.sound API which is the problem in OpenJDK?

    Seems like this is the least frequently used (and least important) part of the J2SE API.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nsayer (86181)

      Seriously, though, does anybody know of significant Java apps that use that javax.sound API which is the problem in OpenJDK?
      Well, "significant" is in the eyes of the beholder, but the OGG player applets on Wikipedia use the java sound stuff, if I am not mistaken.

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