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Java Programming Microsoft Sun Microsystems

James Gosling On The Sun/Microsoft Settlement 361

greg_barton writes "James Gosling has responded to the two previous commentaries cited on Slashdot about the Java Dilemma. Some interesting excerpts: "In Rick Ross's 'Where Is Java In This Settlement?' he worries that Sun may have sold out the Java community. We didn't. We have not sold our soul to the Dark Side." and "There's a long thread of discussion on Slashdot 'Two Takes on the Java Dilemma' that is pretty entertaining, from a wow, what are they smoking! point of view. There are voices of reason, and conspiracy nuts.""
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James Gosling On The Sun/Microsoft Settlement

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  • by coupland ( 160334 ) * <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (esahcd)> on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:49PM (#8855968) Journal
    Personally I'm surprised nobody is lobbing Big Blue's name around in all these discussions, because I think the Sun/Microsoft deal has a lot more to do with IBM than it does with Sun.

    IBM is the only company in the world that could realistically engage in a multi-front competitive battle with Microsoft. And if they were capable of gaining more control of Java (perhaps by a cash investment in Sun, or perhaps even buying them) they would pose a far greater threat to Microsoft than Netscape ever did. IBM's e-business strategy coupled with Java control would be an unstoppable force.

    People talk about Microsoft competitors yet they raise company names like Sun, Real, or Netscape. The threat they pose to Microsoft is a drop in the bucket compared to IBM and their e-business strategy. A strategy that is incredibly reliant on Java.

    Taking it a logical step further lets assume Microsoft made this settlement not to take *Sun* out of the game, but rather to take *IBM* out of the game. Perhaps the silence on the Java front is because $2 billion is the price to get Sun to walk away from Java. Silently. Could this cause Rich Green to leave in disgust?

    Personally I suspect this deal was all about dealing a terrible blow to IBM. I think the one thing Sun and Microsoft aren't talking about is the one thing they ever really cared about in this deal -- Java. I hope not, but the more I read the more sure I become that Sun has done a deal with the devil and Java was the bargaining chip.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:55PM (#8856019)
    Thats one reason but I think the real reason is that Microsoft now realizes the government isn't going to break the up. MS developed .NET only so that if the government broke them up, they would be at a competitive advantage in the application front against competitors (since they could easily port to various OS'). Now that thats not going to happen, Java is a nuisance that MS can't stand anymore.
  • Yanno... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by up up down down lrlr ( 761202 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:55PM (#8856023)
    Scott McNealy used to always say gravity was on his side. I used to wonder how he figured that since you had IBM, and all the other big iron makers dropping in from above and back then it was microsoft and intel setting up a rockhard floor for him to be squished on.

    Sun is now in quite the pickle. Sparcstations arent a contender for the desktop. Their server sales are being trashed by Linux on Intel, and Linux on mainframe.

    Their latest play MadHatter looks nice but so does lindows,suse, and redhat. The latter 3 have one great thing going for them, they are one time licenses not perpetual service contracts like mad hatter.

    Its no wonder that they paid SCO a licenses fee and are now dissing Linux. Its also no wonder that Bill Joy left the company.
  • Change in Rhetoric (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LaNMaN2000 ( 173615 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @09:58PM (#8856046) Homepage
    I think that there will be little meaningful technological change in either Microsoft's or Sun's products as a result of the settlement. Microsoft did not want to be barred from distributing the JVM while Sun did not want Microsoft to fork Java (like J++ originally tried to). The settlement ensures that both concerns are met. The major surprise to me was the magnitude and nature of the license payments to Sun. I would have thought Microsoft could structure the payments as an equity investment similar to their $100million investment in Apple so as to at least they receive something of more tangible value in return.
  • by linuxislandsucks ( 461335 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:01PM (#8856078) Homepage Journal
    You might want ot view my weblog post titled Gosling smoking weed..

    Gosling makes several errors both on the economic trends of SUN in the server hardware sector the difference between a state machine and a desktop manager and etc..

    Also remember that the linux standard survives and thrives under GPL stewardship..a charge Gosling never has completely refuted other to resort to name calling..

    You will probalby see more name callign from several sectors at Sun.. sad really.. so much could be solved by stopping the name callign and deal with the real issues such as devleopers worried that because the settlement seem to take aawy 50% fo all java marketing in one fell swoop that java may be waning and etc..

  • by queenofthe1ring ( 768698 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:04PM (#8856098) Journal
    did any part of this NOT seem like it was trying to brain-wash everyone? (i am now expecting many an angry respons, should i get any responses at all, so let them come...)

  • by BJZQ8 ( 644168 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:07PM (#8856118) Homepage Journal
    "Unlike GPLd software, the Java sources don't come with a viral infection clause that requires you to apply the GPL to your own code." Sheesh! I didn't know that GPL code had a virus! Call USAMRIID! I feel so dirty now...covered with...microscopic...germs. Seriously, though...I think that $2 billion has bought Microsoft a friend for life. Who says money can't buy love?
  • by Anarcho-Goth ( 701004 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:09PM (#8856134) Homepage Journal
    People talk about Microsoft competitors yet they raise company names like Sun, Real, or Netscape.

    I would guess that this is because before Microsoft was the big evil corporation that is going to take over the world, IBM was.

    The difference being that IBM cut down dramatically on acts that could potentially be interpreted as anti-competative, and maybe even took a step back. I remember some IBM people telling me that IBM made a lot of bussiness mistakes in the late 80s early 90s. This might or might not be related to the IBM anti-trust trial, but before then they had stopped being quite so ruthless.

    The difference between IBM's and Microsoft's anti-trust trials were I don't think IBM ever got convicted, and they cut it out anyway so it became a moot point, while Microsoft was convicted, but nothing is being done to tame them.

    IBM is the only company in the world that could realistically engage in a multi-front competitive battle with Microsoft.

    True, and one would hope that an IBM monopoly would at least write better software than Microsoft. And they are supporting Linux right now so they might be content to share the wealth, as long as they are still making buckets of money themselves, and not force the entire world to use crappy software.
  • by Jason Earl ( 1894 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:20PM (#8856223) Homepage Journal

    Not to mention the fact software compiled with gcj or linked with libgcj don't fall under the GPL. You can write proprietary software and compile with gcj and not be "infected" by the GPL. So this part of Gosling's anti-RMS rant is pure FUD.

    The real problem is that after all of the work that Sun has put into making Java a platform in real life Java is currently splitting into a million different directions. gcj and GNU Classpath are picking up steam, IBM is pushing platform dependent SWT and Eclipse instead of Swing, etc. With Sun losing the hardware war to Intel and AMD, and the UNIX war to Linux, that leaves Sun with Java as its best hope for a recovery. However, it's a pretty slim hope. Java application servers are basically a comodity as are Java development tools.

  • Hi, (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:20PM (#8856225)
    (1) Slashdot is, itself, a commentary site. It's generally probably not the most polite thing to say "I've got commentary on this, but you have to go elsewhere to see it."

    (2) If you are going to do this, you ought to at least make a compelling case to the reader that your external commentary is worth reading.

    (3) Mispelling so many words I can barely even figure out what you're trying to say is not a good way of fulfilling (2).

    (4) "Also remember that the linux standard survives and thrives under GPL stewardship..a charge Gosling never has completely refuted other to resort to name calling.."; in what context is this quote relevant? What are you referring to? The "linux steward" refers to.. what? Who? Linus? Essentially, I have not seen Gosling taking enough of a stand on any GPL issue to be quite certain what you are trying to argue against here, and am unclear on why you think it is Mr. Gosling's job to "refute" the "linux steward", whatever that means. Please clarify.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:24PM (#8856237)
    True, and one would hope that an IBM monopoly would at least write better software than Microsoft. And they are supporting Linux right now so they might be content to share the wealth, as long as they are still making buckets of money themselves, and not force the entire world to use crappy software.
    IBM only wants linux to succeed to drive IBM's bottom line. They are trying to shape the image that Linux promotes so eventually corporate accounts to run IBMIHS (Apache) and WebSphere (tomcat) instead of their trueblue AIX. They aren't currently using Linux for their big customers yet, but they are gearing up for Linux to be ready to take over for the big boys.

    Linux looks like it's at least 2 years away from being caught upto the level the rest of the unix platforms (SunOS, IRIX, AIX, etc.). Think from IBM's perspective. Why should IBM pay millions of dollars into development and maintainence of AIX when Linux is growing and getting better. Eventually they will have Linux PPC for their big boxes. Their goal is to have it cheaper than what it costs to develop and maintain their current AIX platform.

    It kills me that all these OpenSource advocates want things to be FREE. The opensource developers donate all their FREE time to developing Linux which IBM can turn around and sell hardware to run linux which they get for FREE which returns PROFITS for IBM.

    Doesn't it seem like these developers are doing something VERY NOBLE to donate their free time to drive IBM's bottom line and stock price?

    Sure, IBM is currently donating millions into Linux (redhat & novell). I'm sure there is a chart somewhere within IBM showing how many millions they have to donate to feed Linux, and I'm sure every year that chart is going downward towards a big fat $0.

  • by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:26PM (#8856250)
    The debate between the GPL folks and Java folks will go on for quite awhile, the big point here is that IBM has more people working on Java and Java based solutions that Sun. Sun has lost the momentum in the Java arena in some areas. Yes the JSR process does produce standards, but IMO If I look at technologies like J2ME, the industry is still fragmented. You may be able to build J2SE applications and run them on Windows, Linux, Solaris or what have you and have a reasonable expectation of WORA however J2ME isn't there, after 3 years. So, putting WORA aside the fragmentation in J2ME even with Palm demonstrates that Java becomes a utilitarian application delivery infrastructure that may or may not be ubiquitious.
    Palm and Sun had differences of J2ME, Palm works with IBM and viola, J2ME for Palm the way palm wanted it, not Sun.

    So, from a technology High Ground, Sun doesn't control Java explicitly, and that's a good thing. Sun's controls on Java do make sense as Gosling pointed out however let's not forget the J2EE 1.2 specification that was held up by a voting member because of EJB 2.0 compliance issues. In this case the JSR voting member had a conflict with voting on the spec while their product didn't adhere to it. So, EJB 2.0 gets held up, which holds up J2EE 1.2. That happened and the company's initials have a B in them, but it's not IBM.

    So, while the JSR process isn't perfect, the thought that vendors are most of the JSR participants isn't all bad, unless a log jam occurs. Maybe someday J2ME will be as ubiquitious as J2SE, J2EE isn't quite there yet, but getting there. Let's also not forget the whole JBoss issue, but that's another thread.

  • by NZheretic ( 23872 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:44PM (#8856364) Homepage Journal
    In my opinion, the settlement may be a 'Very Good Thing', but not for Sun, or Sun's customers [linuxworld.com].

    Sun's signing into Microsoft's Communications Protocol Program locks Sun and Sun customers into interoperating with any Microsoft system on Microsoft's strict terms, conditions and royalty rates. It also denies the possibility that the code using those Microsoft protocols will ever be open sourced.

    This raises serous questions. For example, how much longer will Sun be free to distribute and integrate SAMBA with the Java Desktop? Will Sun's signing of the MCPP have a network affect on vendors who have access to Sun's source code -- will they also be forced to sign up to the MCPP?

    I understand Sun's attempt to spin "Peace in our time" into "This Was Their Finest Hour" [java.net]however, if you look where the quote originated from...

    What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."

    British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, on June 18, 1940, at the House of Commons
    We can be truly thankful that Churchill's next action was not to sign a treaty with Hitler, accepting gold looted from occupied states as payment for damages done.
  • Please clarify (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:51PM (#8856417)
    shifts direction almost as often as a political candidate

    In exactly what way does Sun "shift direction almost as often as a political candidate"?

    But you can't even redistribute unmodified copies of it, which is why no linux distro includes a JVM. To use Java under Linux requires a user to go search it out, download a non-trivial package and install it.

    Whaa? I am typing these words into Epiphany on a Gentoo Linux machine. This machine has a fully functional JVM on it. I didn't install this JVM or do any other consious action to put it here. Would you care to explain to me how it got there?
  • Gosling or Joy? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:53PM (#8856432)
    From the article:

    Dr. James Gosling is a Sun Microsystems fellow who managed the group that created Java in the early 1990s.

    Who is the creator of Java?
    Everyone knows it is Gosling, but for some reason Sun would have you believe Bill Joy did it. Why? Sun only acknowledges that Gosling managed those who created Java. So did Gosling manage Bill Joy as well? This makes no sense. If a wookie lives on Endor you must acquit.
  • by black mariah ( 654971 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:55PM (#8856448)
    That's the way I read it too. People pretend like the GPL doesn't have an agenda. It does, and a rather loud one at that. It's one of those 'forest for the trees' situations.
  • Freedom (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HRbnjR ( 12398 ) <chris@hubick.com> on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:11PM (#8856583) Homepage
    I don't think Gosling understands Free Software at all.

    He responds to Stallman by saying:
    a) The GPL is not free, it has a strong political agenda.
    b) Java is free in many respects (you don't pay to use the JVM, you can see the source). Java sources don't have a viral licence like the GPL.
    c) Giving freedom to JVM 'implementors' would be damaging to JVM 'users' (Java developers).

    I will tackle these in turn:

    a) Gosling implies the FSF has a 'hidden' political agenda. Their agenda is about as far from hidden as I can imagine - I don't think he has read any of the documents on the FSF web site. If you don't think the GPL promotes more freedom than, say, the Java licence, you have an extremely simplistic view of freedom. The political agenda is that the GPL strongly tries to promote a whole world of free software - and if you don't necessarily always agree with that part of the agenda, you can do as I do and use the LGPL or BSD licences. The main point is, if you currently want to ship a product based on Sun's JVM code, you need to licence the code from them to do that. If that code were GPL, it would give all of us freedom to work with the code, but possibly mean many users would no longer need to pay to licence the code from Sun (their fear) - unless of course they didn't want to give away their modifications, in which case they would be in *exactly the same* position they are in now, and could continue to pay Sun for a licence with different terms.

    b) Gosling switches from Free(dom) Software to free(beer) (Open Source) software. I can use Internet Explorer for free too, but it certainly isn't Free Software. Stallman is most definitely talking about Freedom. I don't care if I can *see* the source code, the issue is, what can I *do* with that code. The Java licence gives me a *lot* less Freedom than the GPL in that regard. Goslings response has no value for the many of us who don't care too much for the Open Source movement.

    c) You already have a licensing program for the term "Java" and associated logos and trademarks - we aren't asking you to give those away. As a Java developer, I would still like to see the guarantees of a licensing program - do like every other industry does and say "if you don't see logo X, you aren't getting 'Java'". If you make the JVM implementation Free Software, it doesn't mean you have to let everyone label their products built on that code as 'Java'. And as for any protections for users/developers, this is a myth anyhow. Look at the SWT toolkit (used to build Eclipse) for an example - what happens if it takes off in popularity (it's going that way), what protections do you have then? None.

    And although not mentioned, most developers from the Free Sofware world will also view Java Community Process as a farce as well. Look at the lobbying Apache had to do recently to be allowed to implement JCP specs for one example of how this process does nothing to guarantee our Freedom. (I also fail to understand the communities abhorrent reaction to the W3C patent policy discussions, yet the seeming acceptance of many for the JCP.)

    Moving into the information age, it is my view that the foundation technology we build our word around should not ultimately be under the control of any single group or corporation. Using Free Software provides me with a number of guarantees that the programs/code I use will always be there for me, and that I will always have the freedom to use, modify, and rely on those for myself or my business. Java, as provided by Sun, does not have those guarantees.
  • Re:Freedom (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ed__ ( 23481 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:22PM (#8856651) Journal
    i think you're taking his comments out of context to make your inferences.

    he states that both GPL and Java licenses are free in different senses, that they have different (not hidden) agendas, and that they have different 'catches' (re-release source for GPL, and compat testing for Java).

    he has an opinion; it clearly isn't yours, but he seemed fair about it.


  • I have to say (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @12:01AM (#8856886)
    as a professional Java developer that I understand where he's coming from, but I don't agree with him. It's really a question as to whether a "heavy hand" is a better creator of standards vs. natural selection of thousands of people free to make an informed decision as to the right direction to take. If Sun claims that their leadership is the best for Java, why hide behind the CONTROL that they have of it. How do they honestly know that they are the best stewards if people are not free to pursue a different direction. I can see how they want to lead people into their vision of cross platform, which I truly believe in and think will happen, but you can't force it. It will happen when it happens, and I personally believe it will. If "we" need some more time to suffer the shackles of the hardware OS, there is no amount of screaming that Sun can do to bring about this change other than convincing more people of the need for it to happen so that more people bring it about. There are other more subtle ways to draw poeple into their vision while practicing "servant leadership" and actually discovering how and where people want to go before deciding it for them. Microsoft used to empower people with the openness of their architecture compared to Apple or even IBM, but now Linux has taken over that role as MS has started following their own shadow around trying to figure out where they want to go.

    Here is the best articulation of leadership I have ever personally seen: Dee Hock on Leadership [synearth.net]

    Dee Hock has written extensively about the concept of emergent systems and the coming "chaordic" age where we will design systems that incorporate the best traits of chaos and order, essentially order surfing at the edge of chaos. I would say that the GPL better embodies these traits, although Java and it's licensing also exhibits some of these behaviors. Longer term, however, I think the GPL allows for this process much better, regardless of any symantic battles over the word "FREE".

    The thing that continually intrigues me about the GPL is how people seem to reject it rather than embracing all the benefits that it provides while also addressing its drawbacks. I think it does have drawbacks (RMS' occasionally overblown ego certainly doesn't help the cause, kind of like Steven Wolfram...great work...horrible attitude). Still, to beat the GPL you have to keep all the good before you claim to throw away the bad.
  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @12:03AM (#8856891) Homepage
    OK, I'm being redundant, as others have already pointed this out, but there are 22 definitions of free, plus subdefinitions, in the American Heritage Dictionary. We find RMS's within the first three:
    free (P) Pronunciation Key (fr)
    adj. freer, freest
    1. Not imprisoned or enslaved; being at liberty.
    2. Not controlled by obligation or the will of another: felt free to go.
    3.a. Having political independence: "America... is the freest and wealthiest nation in the world" (Rudolph W. Giuliani).
    3.b. Governed by consent and possessing or granting civil liberties: a free citizenry.
    3.c. Not subject to arbitrary interference by a government: a free press.

    RMS is using definition 3.b., "Governed by consent and possessing or granting civil liberties."

    1. You make your own decision about whether you wish to become subject to the GPL license (by choosing whether you wish to distribute it or derivative works).
    2. By accepting those terms, you agree to a set of civil liberties; namely, that the work and all derivative works, if distributed, must be made available for access and mutation.

    This is identical to the concept of "free" used in the US government and the governments of many other nations. You are free to be a US citizen if you agree that you will not, for example, deny another the right to speak. You are also bound to certain courses of action by your freedom; for example, it is your personal duty to fix the government when it gets too far out of line. The GPL has a political agenda just like the US Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights do, and in both cases, they are in accord with one of the commonly accepted definitions of "free."

    None of this makes RMS's definition "right", or Gosling's definition "wrong." The only objectively wrong thing would be to say that either of them is wrong. Both forms of "free" are encompassed in the definition of the term "free."
  • Re:No thanks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by flacco ( 324089 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @12:05AM (#8856906)
    I will stick with my Python as it is really free, yes I can even pack it in with my project and give it to anyone I want. Coding in java is like writing a macro in MS word and saving the document. I refuse to had the key to my code over to someone else.

    i started java development back before i had a real consciousness about licensing issues. ever since, i've been hoping we'd see java set free. now that the possibility has all but been removed, i too have turned my attentions to Python.

  • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @12:43AM (#8857156)
    "Would you trust your ecommerce site to Linux?"

    Of course I would if I was running apache, php or zope. I would not if I was running any of the JVMs you mentioned though.
  • by ArtDent ( 83554 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @12:50AM (#8857202)
    I'm baffled by most of Gosling's comments about RMS and the GPL. The aspect of the GPL that he seems to be remarking on with his "viral infection clause" comment is that it permits you to modify and redistribute the software licensed under it, provided the new work is also licensed under the GPL. Apparently, this is a "catch" -- a restriction of the GPL -- in comparison to the license used by Sun for the Java source.

    The implication, then, is that not only does Sun's license permit you to modify and restribute Java, it permits you to do so under any license of your chosing.

    I find this highly suspect, though I don't know for sure that it's untrue. If this is the case, why doesn't the FSF regard it as a Free Software license (although, like BSD, obviously not a Copyleft license)? Why hasn't the OSI certified it as an Open Source license? Why isn't it included in Debian?

    My impression was that Sun's Java implementations were distributed under a look-but-don't-touch license. That is, while the source is provided, you are not permitted to modify and redistribute it. If this impression is incorrect, I'd really like to know, but if it isn't, then I'd have to say that Gosling is either quite ignorant about the GPL, or he's being deliberately misleading in his characterization of it.
  • Re:mmhmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:20AM (#8857350) Homepage Journal
    The first betas I got from them were quirky, as you say. But the most recent release (which I believe became the final one) is very slick. They even have a JDS skin for Mozilla so that it fits with your desktop.

  • the JAVA licence (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:29AM (#8857400)
    I think the best way to satify everyone (including SUN, those who want to develop JAVA itself and those who want to develop on top of JAVA) is to allow anyone to implement the various JAVA standards (including whatever sun may have a patent on etc) for free with no restictions. But, if they want to call whatever it is that they have made "JAVA", it has to go through the compatibility tests.

    That way:
    A.developers developing stuff in the JAVA language and against the JAVA APIs can do so and know that their stuff will run on anything labeled "JAVA".
    B.developers that want to write JAVA compilers, VMs, class libraries and whatever else (including modified versions of Suns stuff) can do so totally free from any restrictions. But they cant call what they release "JAVA" unless it has gone through the compatibility tests.
    and C.Sun retains control over the JAVA name and the JAVA system. The fears of sun that JAVA would fragment and you would get incompatible versions of JAVA wouldnt happen because anything that hasnt passed the tests is not JAVA and cant be labeled as such.

    Also, those who want to repackage the Sun stuff without modifying it (i.e. repackage in ) can do so and you wouldnt need to do the different, wierd (compared to how things are normally installed) install for JAVA anymore.

    Oh and Sun should have told MS they couldnt distribute, modify, fix or support their broken JAVA VM anymore.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:58AM (#8857514)
    IBM probably missed the boat on this one. It would have been in their interests to have bought Sun/Java (is there a difference) outright prior to Sun's settlement with M$ for several reasons.

    1) Dragging the lawsuit out would at least have put a (okay, rather small) cloud over M$'s future as a player in the "Enterprise" business.

    2) IBM still "owns" the Big Iron environment, purchasing Sun would have allowed them maintain that high ground while pushing outwards towards department and desktop environments.

    3) Staroffice/Openoffice, while playing catch-up with M$/Office, are quickly closing ground, and will probably close the Desktop/End-User gap in a few years.

    4) IBM could then finally get even with the MS-Windows/IBM-OS2 debacle from several years back.

    Just rambling,

  • by Master of Transhuman ( 597628 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:19AM (#8857602) Homepage
    > I can say that MS didn't force Windows on
    > anybody; it just won out over the alternatives.

    This is truly amusing.

    Did you follow ANYTHING about the Microsoft trial?

    YES - they DID FORCE people to use Windows. Maybe not with a gun or broken legs - they used restrictive contracts and the latent stupidity in industry executives and IT managers. The fact that the rest of the industry LET THEM DO IT does not change that.

    I've never understood why Sun - or HP or IBM - which has thousands of developers - could not do a Linus Torvalds and simply come up with a truly better OS than Windows? It's not like there aren't thousands of better ways bandied about everywhere from /. to the Communications of the ACM. Invest a few million a year, take your time, do it right. Then - based on the success Linux has had - open-source it and let it grow.

    No, Sun wanted a new computer language. Why? BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT THEY COULD WRITE AN OS IN IT! An OS based on an interpreted bytecode language! Was this moronic or what? Only when it became obvious that it wasn't possible did they emphasize the "write-once-run-anywhere" aspect (which also wasn't completely true).

    IBM did OS/2 - that wasn't bad but then they ended up having to be totally compatible with Windows which meant they would forever be playing catch-up to Microsoft jerking their chain. Another good try - no cigar.

    You want to know the real problem?

    The IT industry is full of what I call "Geek Morons" - brilliant people without a fucking piece of common sense.

    One thing you have to say about Bill Gates - he's not a computer geek, he's a BUSINESS geek. A business UBER-GEEK. And no Geek Moron is going to beat him.

    And yes, I do believe Linux will eventually dethrone Windows as the dominant OS - but I suspect it will take another twenty years - and by then some new software technology may well dethrone both of them.

    And neither Sun or IBM will be the cause of it. Nor will it be by Microsoft's "suicide" as Cringely suggests.

  • by The OPTiCIAN ( 8190 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:20AM (#8857606)
    How disrespectful of Gosling to accuse us of smoking drugs for being concerned for the fate of our platform. We invest time and energy developing our skills in Java and we make personal calls on things at work in favour of their platform. Given Sun's poor decisions regarding how open the platform should be we have every right to be jumpy when they make a legal settlement with Microsoft and then fail to reiterate their support for the Microsoft's prime target (the java platform).

    Some of the comments were extreme, but position papers like these should not need to be a reaction to community concern, they should anticipate it.
  • by nathanh ( 1214 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @03:00AM (#8857753) Homepage
    Of course I would if I was running apache, php or zope. I would not if I was running any of the JVMs you mentioned though.

    So the real complaint isn't that the Linux distros don't include JVMs (which is what jmorris originally claimed and why I pointed out three free JVMs included with Linux distros) but that jmorris and yourself have found the free JVMs to be of inferior quality. That has nothing to do with being "certified for production use" as you later asked.

    My point about Linux was that at one time not long ago there would've been UNIX administrators saying similar things about Linux. "Would you trust your data to Linux, it's not even certified POSIX". As you use Linux you probably agree that quality has very little to do with certification. Thus my point that certification only gets you so far. Beyond that point you need to know the product; a certified heap of shit is still a heap of shit, and an uncertified gem is still a gem.

  • Yeah, and he wants to convince us that Java is even more 'free' in some respects than GPL software. Of course, he doesn't lie when he basically claims: GPL = share your code for your apps JAVA = test for compatibility. Sounds nice and reasonable.
    Unlike GPLd software, the Java sources don't come with a viral infection clause that requires you to apply the GPL to your own code. But the sources for the JDK do come with a license that has a different catch: redistribution requires compatibility testing. This is just context for the real point I want to make: When you have platform software like Linux or the JDK, the platform interface (in the case of Java, the VM and API specifications) divides the world of developers into two groups: those who work under the interface to implement it, and those who work above the interface and build applications based on it.
    What he forgets to mention is how much does this compatibility test cost. The FreeBSD Foundation has been pouring money into making possible a binary redistribution of JAVA, and they ran out of money (so we only get JDK 1.3 in binary form). Of course, you can have native JDK 1.4.2 on any FreeBSD if you compile it from source (with the minor inconvenience of having to download the sources manually), but still... If you think of it, having to go through the costly process of 'testing for compatibility' is absurd in the case of FreeBSD. Aside from a few BSD specific patches, the source is the same, the resulting binary is 99.999% the same as in linux and runs as well too.

    The 'viral infection' part seems also strangely familiar (hello Ballmer). So I believe RMS is right here. FreeBSD is still a good development platform (netcraft runs on freebsd, apache.org likewise, and apache is partly developed on freebsd). Also, SUN's early versions of Solaris were based on BSD, which makes this kinda ironic: yeah we used your codebase, but no, you have to pay us big money for binary java (which, of course, is FREE, right?). Not that developers really mind compiling JDK from source (afterall, fsbd is a source based distribution) - but the industry does. The "Is FreeBSD a JAVA platform that is 100% supported by SUN?" (no) question precedes the "Does FreeBSD have native JDK?" (yes) question in many cases. SUN knows very well that they have more (monetary) control over JAVA this way, since they have control over the certification process. Seeing how they would like to squeeze out money from a volunteer project, especially considering that you only have to go over a few lines of code (that don't really touch the core of JDK) makes Gosling's somewhat self-righteous comments on RMS and the GPL stink.

  • by zero_offset ( 200586 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @06:05AM (#8858239) Homepage
    From IBM's perspective, if you have a goose that lays golden eggs, it's probably not a good idea to scrimp on chicken feed.

    Except that this goose will continue shooting out eggs by the dozen regardless of how IBM or anybody else uses the product of its work.

    Christ, how many operating systems has IBM cranked out *completely on it's own* in the past 30 years? Not getting support from that schitzoid agglomerate called "the Linux community" probably ranks pretty low on their list of priorities. If it was "religion" and not "marketing", truly important IBM software like DB2 and MQ Series would suddenly be all OSS/GPL-friendly, and available to relative nobodies like the Mandrake people. Don't hold your breath.

    Linux developers are basically unpaid IBM employees.
  • by dmaxwell ( 43234 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:09AM (#8858391)
    Now maybe for a functioning system then freedoms must be TEMPERED with responsibility

    Semantics and sidetracks aside, that is exactly the point I was trying to make. I suppose we could have "perfectly free" societies where one could sell himself into slavery or freely murder and steal but I don't think it would last very long. Any kind of "workable freedom" will have some sort of reponsibility, consequences, or obligations.

    Free is when you give me the code and I have absolutely no obligation upon use.

    Then there very little "free" code. The thing that comes closest is public domain code and even that may (depending on the law) come with obligations not to plagiarize. The closest FOSS licenses to what you call freedom are the BSD style licenses and they indeed come with obligations. They're trivial obligations in some ways but mandatory for all that.
  • by nikster ( 462799 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @08:25AM (#8858652) Homepage
    IBM is the only company in the world that could realistically engage in a multi-front competitive battle with Microsoft.

    true, but from an IBM perspective there is no reason to do so:

    1 - does IBM want to be MS? no.
    2 - would they have a good chance of winning if they tried? no.
    3 - does IBM make bucketloads of money doing what they are doing right now? yes.

    IBM has given up on dominating the OS market a long time ago. And it has since learned that there was no harm in that. MS' star is sinking and IBM can sit and wait and make money. IBM can take full advantage of the emerging linux market where MS can't...

    regarding the article (which i have read, yes): i believe Gosling when he says they did the settlement to get out of the legal battle (with a serious victory, too). i also wonder: if they had not settled, what could they possibly have gained that's better than 400M+ in cash?

    conspiracy theories, as usual, simply don't add up.
  • by Kombat ( 93720 ) <kombat@kombat.org> on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @08:26AM (#8858661) Homepage
    You mean it's only free so long as you share it.

    No, it means free so long as you share any new software you write that derives from it, even if it doesn't modify the original GPL'd code at all.

    If you don't like that, write your own code, or negotiate a separate license from the copyright holders.

    I completely agree that that's fair, and as the author of the original code, that's your right to demand that. However, the point is don't try and call that "free." It's not. The GPL forces itself on all derivative works.

    Gosling's point was that users of GPL'd code are not free to choose their own license for their derivative works. They are forced to use the same license, i.e., the GPL. That's not freedom. Just because you happen to agree with the viral agenda of the GPL doesn't mean you can deny that the agenda exists at all.
  • by Kombat ( 93720 ) <kombat@kombat.org> on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @08:39AM (#8858743) Homepage
    Sun wanted a new computer language. Why? BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT THEY COULD WRITE AN OS IN IT! An OS based on an interpreted bytecode language! Was this moronic or what?

    To be fair, Sun's plans included executing those bytecodes natively, on Java CPUs [sun.com]. So from that perspective, they were simply inventing a new reduced-instruction-set stack machine architecture, using knowledge gained from 50 years of CPU evolution. The plan was to create and market Javastations running the JavaOS natively on those Java CPUs, providing cheap dumb terminal remote access to central application servers.

    Nothing moronic about that.

    They abandoned plans for the Java OS around the same time they realized the dumb terminal market wasn't coming back. They still make and sell Java chips for embedded devices though.
  • by jimsum ( 587942 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @12:23PM (#8860777)
    I don't understand why people think GPL software is free just because money doesn't change hands. When someone uses GPL software, they are getting something of value -- access to useful programs and the source code for it. Rather than paying money, GPL software is paid in-kind, by giving away the programming effort used to exploit the free programs.

    Microsoft charges money for access to useful programs and sometimes gives access to the source code for huge amounts of money. After paying for this, programmers are free to charge for the programming effort by selling the software. In both cases, access is not free, there is payment either in cash or in kind.

    All companies that produce software must decide whether paying Microsoft for tools and libraries and selling the resulting program is more profitable than giving the software away and getting the tools and libraries for free. If your company is in the business of selling software, obviously open source is a dumb move. However, most companies do not sell software directly; they either sell hardware that requires software to operate or they sell services, like customizing software. I claim that for the majority of companies, their software has no commercial value on its own, so the savings from using free tools makes GPL a better choice. When you consider that GPL software is actually more valuable than proprietary (since you have access to the source code), it is surprising that any non-software companies use proprietary tools rather than GPL tools.

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe