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Sun to Fully Open Source Java

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the free-refills dept.

Java 374

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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This is good news... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176224)

...for INDIA

Re:This is good news... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176286)

oh, p.s. "Dionysius" is a name given to people named after the god Dionysus/Dionysos.

Java and Open Source (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176230)

Java and Open Source is the best combination since shitting an pissing on an underage prostitute.

Re:Java and Open Source (-1, Redundant)

grm_wnr (781219) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176526)

Somehow the fact that this was modded "redundant" got a huge laugh out of me.

Re:Java and Open Source (0, Redundant)

SiriusStarr (1196697) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176786)

The fact that yours was also modded "Redundant" got a laugh out of me...

Better late than early (3, Funny)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176238)

Kudos to Sun for waiting so long to open source it. Had it been FOSS back when my company was trying to decide what language to standardize on, we might have picked it instead of Python. Thanks!

Re:Better late than early (5, Informative)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#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!

Re:Better late than early (4, Interesting)

abigor (540274) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Better late than early (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176420)

Yeah my bad. I misread the post.

Re:Better late than early (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176434)

It was lame anyway, unless his implication was their review process sucked and they would have chosen the second best option.

Re:Better late than early (3, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176518)

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!

We were looking for something cross-platform, and at that time Java was every bit as proprietary as VB and other close dead-end languages. I understand why Java wasn't FOSS at that time, but that still made it ineligible as a serious contender for long-term development. Had Sun made Java's openness a goal a lot sooner, many companies (including mine) might have chosen it over whatever else they decided upon.

Re:Better late than early (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176882)

We were looking for something cross-platform, and at that time Java was every bit as proprietary as VB and other close dead-end languages.
Liar. You have to pay per instance of VisualBasic to even run the compiler. Java's tools (while not as good IDE-wise as VB) have always been available with a $free$ license.

Re:Better late than early (5, Interesting)

Spasemunki (63473) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176570)

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.

Re:Better late than early (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176448)

Yup, lucky you. Now you can stay with a language that will never support concurrent threads correctly and will always be confused about what a buffer is so that it will always have mediocre support for high performance (numerical) computing.

I had big hopes for Python when they said they were going to fix things in Python 3000, but from what I can see, they're just going to break existing applications without actually improving the fundamentals...

Re:Better late than early (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176500)

Um, why do you think it is a free license?

Java vs. Python? (1, Troll)

turgid (580780) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176544)

Please explain what Java and Python have in common other than the fact that they are languages and one is also a platform?

Re:Java vs. Python? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176634)

You can write cross-platform backend and user interface code with both, both of them run on Windows and Unix, and both support OOP. That made those languages pretty reasonable choices for our needs.

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

turgid (580780) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176678)

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.

Re:Java vs. Python? (1)

PeterKraus (1244558) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176666)

Well, I would say,
high-level languages, supporting OOP, based on C-like syntax, both can be interpreted languages...

Well, that's really everything, I guess.

Re:Better late than early (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176546)

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

Bullshit.

Re:Better late than early (3, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176662)

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:Better late than early (0)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176816)

There's a HUGE fucking difference. While the ability to maintain something indefinitely (ie, the thing open-source brings to the table) may be a factor, it's far from the only one. And for my money, it should be dead last on the list of things to consider when choosing a language, including "Did the quarter come up heads or tails?".

Re:Better late than early (1)

ARRG.ch (1021385) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176852)

Wait, what ? Both are Turing complete, I can't see your point.

Re:Better late than early (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176732)

Who is this "we"? Certainly not the real world. Hopefully by "we" you mean your small group of still-in-college developers that are in for a rude awakening when you hit the real world.

Re:Better late than early (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176870)

Who is this "we"? Certainly not the real world. Hopefully by "we" you mean your small group of still-in-college developers that are in for a rude awakening when you hit the real world.

By "we" he probably means "a group of knowledgeable developers who are lucky enough to be employed somewhere that they can choose the best tool for the task instead of having to go with whatever the PHB thinks is the hot buzzword this week." It's very true that the "real world" can be a difficult place, but people with attitudes like yours don't help make it any better. Fortunately, there are businesses where management knows enough to get the hell out of the way and let the developers make their own decisions on which tools to use.

For more information (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176256)

This Yahoo article [yahoo.com] is very interesting.

Re:For more information (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176276)

$GenericNoClickWarning

Re:For more information (1)

(TK2)Dessimat0r (669581) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176306)

GenericNoClickWarning=Don't Click!

Re:For more information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176408)

I'd think that in a Java article, throw new GenericNoClickWarningException(); would be more appropriate. :-)

Re:For more information (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176424)

Meh, I am a programming n00b.

WARNING LAST MEASURE (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176290)

Don't click!

I'll believe it when ManBearPig flies. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176258)

We've all heard this from Sun before, but this time I am sure it is for realz. I won't be shocked if it "Open Sourced" under the CDL and prohibits integration with the GPL Linux Kernel, along with my precious ZFS.

Re:I'll believe it when ManBearPig flies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176586)

Geez, could you be any more of an uninformed idiot? /chandler
Go google OpenJDK and stop making an ass of yourself. It's embarrassing.

Re:I'll believe it when ManBearPig flies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176600)

Who is modding this Anonymous Coward up? It's a blatant troll. The CDDL is an OSI-approved license [opensource.org] , and who wants to integrate Java into the Linux kernel anyway?

Re:I'll believe it when ManBearPig flies. (1)

isilrion (814117) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176680)

I believe they said Java would be GPL+classpath and that they were considering GPLv3. ZFS is, irrc, GPLv3. Linus doesn't want to upgrade to GPLv3, but you can't really blame that on Sun. It seems they learned from the CDDL. (Wow... I'm defending Sun. That's unexpected)

Kudos to them, I guess (5, Interesting)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 6 years ago | (#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?

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176334)

It will install without having to agree the licens agreement? ... no, it's just open source, will the license change?

It won't make much difference for me as an end user, unless it will come default installed with the distro.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (4, Informative)

TheLinuxSRC (683475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176336)

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.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (2, Insightful)

rjcarr (1002407) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176338)

I don't know if this will change with the announcement, but being a java developer that works on macs, I'd like to get whatever jdk I want, and not be forced to use what apple gives me.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (4, Interesting)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.)

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176438)

I agree. I have used Linux in one form or another since pre-kernel 1.0 days, *long* before it was 'fashionable, but it's just another tool in my opinion. I use Windows, Mac OS, Solaris, Linux...whatever tool suits my need at the time.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (5, Insightful)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176900)

Since I'm not a Linux zealot, I just care that it does what I want it to do.

Not caring about licensing questions probably means that you've failed to consider them in depth. That probably seems like a very reasonable choice - if you wanted to worry about legal issues you would have gone to law school - but it's also very short sighted.

"Freedom" seems abstract and irrelevant until you find out that the elegant technical solution you want to implement is disallowed by the license of some component you're using. This rarely happens immediately, because you wouldn't have picked a tool if it didn't let you do what you initially wanted, but it comes up pretty frequently when you try to do something that you didn't initially consider.

Examples:

- You design your application using Oracle as the database. $20,000 a server seems fine - until you realize that the whole design would be more elegant if you moved a bunch of logic into the database and replicated it a bunch of times (say... at each client site). But $20,000 * 100 sites isn't in the budget, so you're forced to scrap the best technical solution for legal reasons.

- You design a data entry interface in Flash. The project expands, and it turns out that it'd be more effective if the users used tablets rather than PCs to do their data entry. So you bring on a hardware team, and they tell you that ARM tablets cost 1/3rd what x86 tablets would cost. Sadly, there's no flash player on ARM - and with your budget it would have been a simple port, too.

Far from being irrelevant and abstract, the issue of licensing is directly relevant to anyone selecting software to build anything important (software or any business process). Proprietary licensing means usage constraints - both explicit constraints like the limited set of Flash platforms and economic constraints like the per-server Oracle license fee. Developing on proprietary stuff is like working in a mine field - sometimes you have to do it, but it's sure as hell something you want to avoid.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176378)

In the future? Nothing. Thanks to Sun going with the GPLv2, you can't even use all open source software with the damned thing.

Apache has been very active in the Java community creating Java libraries. Sadly the Apache 2.0 license, which all the Apache Java code uses basically exclusively, is incompatible with the GPLv2. And, yes, it matters, because Java code links at runtime. This means that you fall under the GPL's "derived code" sections, and therefore if you intend to use the open source version of Java you MUST be using GPL code. I think GPLv3 is compatible with GPLv2, but IANAL so you might be restricted to ONLY GPLv2 code.

To be safe, you're stuck using the proprietary version of Java...

On the plus side, if you don't care about licensing issues, hopefully the open source version of Java won't force you to "register" to download it and install it.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176542)

Sadly the Apache 2.0 license, which all the Apache Java code uses basically exclusively, is incompatible with the GPLv2. And, yes, it matters, because Java code links at runtime. This means that you fall under the GPL's "derived code" sections,
Surely that's only an issue if you distribute in-memory runtime code (ie. stuff that's been through a JIT compiler)?

If compiled code as distributed hasn't got any code linked in at the point of distribution, then I wouldn't think it would be an issue.

If anything, it's more of an issue with C because that links at compile time, essentially forcing you to reinvent the wheel or write an abstraction layer if you plan to use anything that's part of a GPL C library.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (4, Informative)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176856)

The license issued with the open source Java toolkits (based on the GNU Classpath library) explicitly permits linking with non-GPL modules.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176380)

Nothing, this is vaporware.

Not much of a Java fan anyway.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (5, Informative)

linguae (763922) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (5, Funny)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176606)

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


And the rest of us use Gentoo. If this new "open source" Java takes less than a week to compile, I will be extremely disappointed in Sun's efforts!

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176404)

I never bothered with Java because it was closed source. Now we have harmony, ecj and Jikes so Sun aren't really losing anything by open sourcing it.

I recently played with Java a little but the stdlib needs dusting off and rebooting if I'm ever going to start using it seriously. With concurrency on everyones agenda, cross-compiling your apps being a PITA and the only other alternative being a patent trap, I'd say java could have a healthy future.

Fuck you Sun. (Was: Re:Kudos to them, I guess) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176440)

I JUST left a potentially lucrative startup because I can no longer tolerate Sun's inept stewardship of their proprietary development target known as Sun Java (TM). Sun is no longer welcome to squander my time and thoughts. I see Sun infecting MySQL, as it infected Gnome and Mozilla and so on (cough SCO-case cough). Sun damages the technology they embrace. I would rather be homeless and starve than participate or promote their products or initiatives. You think I'm kidding? Take a close look at your own life! http://justanothercoverup.com/?p=457 [justanothercoverup.com]

The downside for me? Poverty. The upside? Never again wasting what is left of my life interacting with predatory corporate incompetence. Who knows, maybe there is money to be made with Python (hi Google, fuck you and your role in government oppression too).

Yeah, you probably think I'm kidding.

Re:Fuck you Sun. (Was: Re:Kudos to them, I guess) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176724)

Yeah, you probably think I'm kidding.
No, I think you're crazy.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (5, Funny)

SeePage87 (923251) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176454)

It's ok guys, I'll handle this.

How has Java being closed source affected you personally
I can't count the number of times I've cried myself to sleep thinking of the poor children who blindly agree to arbitrary EULAs which they are incapable of understanding.

What effects do you see this having in the future

Now those children blindly agree to the somewhat less arbitrary GPL which they are incapable of understanding.

This is truly a magnificent day!

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (1)

BrainInAJar (584756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176560)

Somewhat less arbitrary?

Can you link to GPL code at runtime? are you sure? Forget what RMS has to say outside the scope of the license, do you think you could reasonably sue someone under the viral clause for runtime linking to GPL code?

What about the nVidia hacks? legal or no?

All the places the GPL has been tested have been for obvious violations, it's the edge cases that make it arbitrary

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (1)

SeePage87 (923251) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176624)

Wow, I just thought it would sound funnier that way, but you took it all serious like.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (1)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176622)

Well, to be fair, those are complicated legal documents that exist because of an equally complicated copyright system, that rarely have any direct effects on the majority of the population. The arbitrary EULAs don't seem to hold up all that well in courtroom environments anyway.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (5, Insightful)

Spasemunki (63473) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176468)

Hassle, more than anything else, sums it up. Installing the JDK or JRE is never as easy as installing other programs. Some distros won't include Java in their standard package repositories because of licensing constraints. You end up with two maintenance/upgrade processes: one for Java, and one for everything else. It's a pain if you have a lot of machines that need to run java- you're always manually copying around install tarballs and jar libraries that you can't just yum or apt-get out of the appropriate repo. Difficulty in Java installation is also a barrier for simple desktop Linux; at this point, Java should Just Work for any reasonable desktop experience.

I suspect that the closed sourcing is also why support for Java on non-priority systems has lagged behind. It's been a while, but I used to support Java apps that were running on FreeBSD. At the time, the state of Java there lagged behind the big three (Linux, Windows, Solaris) considerably- the latest versions of of the JDK/JRE weren't always available, and when they were there were sometimes weird bugs lurking in them that would cause applications to puke. Support for other languages wasn't anywhere near as far behind because it was much easier for BSD developers to track changes in the source of languages that primarily targeted Linux.

For that matter, despite Suns attempts at making Java a universal platform, support on some platforms has been better than others. My employer bought a 3rd party Java HR application for employees to use for leave/VK time reporting, with the promise that it would work for any system since it's Java (a lot of people have Linux or Mac). No such luck. It's interface is an applet that works on only certain versions of the JRE under windows. Maybe the vendor is just incompetent, but Java is supposed to simplify the writing of cross-platform applications. I strongly suspect that these kinds of problems are a consequence of Sun keeping the source closed: priorities on development of the JRE/JDK had to be constrained by Sun's resources and economic priorities. No matter how enthusiastic the user community on lower-priority operating systems, they couldn't fix problems themselves.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (2, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176772)

Generally the vendor is incompetent. Java won't prevent you from hard-coding "C:\Program Files" into any programs, and will work perfectly well with it under Windows. For most properly coded Java programs, cross-platform support is pretty much trivial though.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176528)

My Linux distribution always had an inferior Java implementation bundled with it. I had to download the Sun JVM separately, update paths and symbolic links to make it the system default. Then I couldn't easily remove the bundled JVM because of RPM dependencies with other packages. This news gives me hope that I won't have to go through this exercise any more.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (1)

trybywrench (584843) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176530)

it's sort of a pain to install Java(tm) correctly on the linux distros i use because they use GCJ by default and it's tied to their automated update systems.

Allowing distros to include it natively means one less step to getting a linux install with full blown Java off the ground and hopefully automated JRE/JDK updates.

Also, with full Java included in the distro maybe things like Eclipse, Tomcat and the other Java centric software will start getting included.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (4, Insightful)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176558)

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?
For one thing, we won't have to listen to RMS whining about it [gnu.org] every time someone mentions the current version of OpenOffice.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (3, Interesting)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176702)

I would pose the following question to slashdot: how has Java being closed source affected you personally

It's basically meant that Sun had free reign to ruin Java.

and what effects do you see this having in the future?

None. It's too late to fix Java.

Java trap is ended for this software. (1, Informative)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176722)

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.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176836)

It made it much harder to install, on Linux at least.

I suspect the inability to fork it made things worse, in the short term. I tried using Swing back in the 1.2/1.3 days, and it was miserable. (I'm told it's better now.) Sun really dragged their feet on fixing any of the small, easily-fixable things that were very broken about it. If somebody had been able to fork Java and make a "Hot Beverage" system (different name, fully compatible, fixes to Swing), my users would have been a lot happier. Heck, *I* might have forked it.

Java seemed to evolve at a glacial pace. (Autoboxing took how many years?) I can't say that it would have been faster if it'd been open-source, but I did notice all languages where interesting things were happening were the open-source languages (Python, Ruby, etc.). Thus, "open-source language" is a positive attribute in my mind, and Sun did little to convince me otherwise.

Whenever I've written a GUI in a non-Java language, I've used GTK+, Qt, or wxW. I've found all of these to be better than Swing. They're all open-source. You can get Java bindings for these, today, but they were a long time coming. That's not surprising to me: why would anybody want to spend time writing language bindings for an open-source toolkit for a closed-source language implementation?

I eventually moved all my work over to open-source languages. If there'd been an open-source Java all along, I probably would not have.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176848)

Well perhaps we can start deploying it in nuclear control [sun.com] facilities?

But seriously, it would be great to see working 64-bit implementations in various distro repositories.

Re:Kudos to them, I guess (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176858)

how has Java being closed source affected you personally
Not at all. I'm not an open-source zealot, and I choose the best tool for the job, whether it's open-source, proprietary, or personally written by my worst enemy.

what effects do you see this having in the future?
Zealots will stop whining. Sensible people won't really care.

MySQL (3, Insightful)

JayAitch (1277640) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176294)

So this is to make up for MySQL? They giveth they taketh away.

Re:MySQL (3, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176436)

I guess it is exactly like that since neither has actually happened yet.

What will happen to GNU Java? (1)

julie-h (530222) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176308)

Will gjc be depricated?

Re:What will happen to GNU Java? (5, Insightful)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176372)

You could argue that if Java goes GPL, gcj has been successful even if it suddenly becomes irrelevant. The same would be true of GNU Gnash if Adobe were to GPL the Flash plugin. It wouldn't invalidate the open source efforts: far from it, it would accomplish the original goal of having a free implementation of the application.

Re:What will happen to GNU Java? (1, Interesting)

julie-h (530222) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176416)

I hope you are right! I just fear that GNU would flame any distribution that removes gjc or doesn't make it the default :(

Re:What will happen to GNU Java? (2, Interesting)

Big Jojo (50231) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Beats OpenSolaris! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176316)

Looking at the progress that the OpenJDK project has done in the little time it has had - one has to wonder why OpenSolaris has done so badly. Is it that the GPLv2 plays a role in better adoption? Or is it that the people from within Sun working on the OpenJDK project were more willing and eager to get the source out there (they use Mercurial) and pave the way for community contributions? I suspect it is the latter - judging from Ted Tso's blog post and the couple links it references it sounds like Sun never wanted OpenSolaris to be developed outside of Sun.

One problem with open sourcing (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176324)

One problem is that it creates forks of forks of forks. And pretty soon you have compatability issues and qualification clauses eg: Compatable with IBM Java 1.2.3.4.5 a or RedHat VirtualJ (for other java compatabilities please ensure that you have libXYZ installed) etc and this is where is gets frustrating.
I know that Sun are addressing this issue but I still think that it is inevitable.

Re:One problem with open sourcing (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176396)

Yeah. Just look at what's happened to C, perl and javascript. Oh wait, nothing.

Re:One problem with open sourcing (2, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176872)

Let's look:

C: GCC is one of the worst offenders for non-standard extensions, but very few compilers are 100% compatible.

Javascript: 4 main implementations (IE, spidermonkey, webkit/kjs, and opera), plenty of small differences in the core language, lots of differences in the DOM/Event support.

PERL: only 1 implementation, never will be standardized, requires a perl parser just to parse the syntax.

High hopes, low expectations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176328)

This could be fantastic in the long run. Maybe. Perhaps the open source developers can make Java more secure, less resource intensive, and faster than it currently is. Two things that make me crazy when I'm surfing the web are bad Java programming and PDFs. Maybe one of these will be resolved kinda soonish.

Sun's source code (0)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176330)

Now if only we could have the Sun's source code to modify the Sun and fix global warming...

hehe ok that wasn't really funny.

Re:Sun's source code (4, Funny)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176628)

Now if only we could have the Sun's source code to modify the Sun and fix global warming...

No good, you wouldn't be able to see it when doing a nightly build.

Obligatory bash.org link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176344)

What fate awaits GNU Classpath? (4, Interesting)

jdb2 (800046) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176368)

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

Re:What fate awaits GNU Classpath? (1)

leenks (906881) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176470)

Presumably they'll end up merging over time (one would hope). There are enough 'issues' with both of them that it seems the logical thing to do. That said, maybe everything will change if we ever get a Java3 and things actually get deprecated(!!!)

Re:What fate awaits GNU Classpath? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176774)

They skipped Java 3 and 4.... they are on Java 6 now.

Re:What fate awaits GNU Classpath? (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176616)

Classpath has been almost reaching 1.0 status for about six years now. I expect to see Wine reach 1.0 first.

An Open Source Java would have been nice 10 years ago, back when somebody still cared.

Re:What fate awaits GNU Classpath? (1)

chopper749 (574759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176646)

But wait! Wine 1.0 is coming soon! http://wiki.winehq.org/WineReleasePlan [winehq.org]

Re:What fate awaits GNU Classpath? (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176792)

And if you look at the end of that page, there's a link to a PC World [pcworld.com] story about the upcoming Wine 1.0. Written in 2002.

I don't want to sound like I'm just harping on the Wine guys, though. The Windows API is often poorly documented even when Microsoft isn't changing a function to do something completely different in their new release. Considering that, Wine is quite a piece of work.

Re:What fate awaits GNU Classpath? (1)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176810)

Having poked through chunks of both the Sun JDK source and the Classpath source, I wouldn't trust the latter in a production environment. Sun has released some crufty stuff (JAI for instance), but Classpath is horrible pretty much across the board.

Re:What fate awaits GNU Classpath? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176812)

OpenJDK already contains source pieces from the GNU CP

Re:What fate awaits GNU Classpath? (2, Informative)

setagllib (753300) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176842)

They're already merging in the form of IcedTea. However, this will be mostly unecessary when the full class library is opened.

What, (5, Funny)

Trogre (513942) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176384)

again?

Denix (2, Interesting)

dnix (831940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176402)

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]

Re:Denix (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176868)

I don't think Java is dying. It has more competition, sure, so it's not going to be some sort of monolithic entity.

It's also not the easiest language to learn compared to some and that means a lot of people may pass over it. So as more people get into programming they may go else where.

Java has done well and will continue as it's gets itself sorted out on the J2EE side which is a bit weak as there are far too many options and some require writing extra code just to get things to work together.

Millions of Voices (0, Troll)

turgid (580780) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176432)

Blah blah blah, disturbance in the Force, blah blah like millions of slashbots (and IBM and Microsoft astroturfers) heads assplode.

open source vs license questions (3, Insightful)

drDugan (219551) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176452)

While open source is good, the real issue is the license. The only mention in the article is some parts were not compatible with GPL(I assume v2). What will the license be for OpenJDK? Looking here (http://freejdk.org/faqs/openjdk_license.html) and here (http://www.gnu.org/software/classpath/license.html) it looks interesting...

Does this mean the Classpath exceptions will be removed? Not clear. Kind of a problem for some if it is removed.

FTA: "Once Java is 100 percent open source, it can be shipped as part of Linux, Sands said. Ubuntu has distributed Java as separately available commercial software, he noted. But once Java is fully open source, it can be offered as part of the free Ubuntu distribution and other Linux variants, Sands said."

For me, and I assume most people interested in open development platforms - the real question about using Java will be around the license (once it is open source) and what that means in terms of success, options, and longevity for the projects we build.

Re:open source vs license questions (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176888)

They won't use the GPL, then? Seems like a reasonable solution to me, and there are tons of other licenses to choose from.

For that matter, why the hell would they choose the GPL in the first place? Wouldn't that mean that anyone who uses the official Java class libraries has to make their software GPL?

well, yes, except... (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176486)

It's fully open sourced, but it's also dual licensed. That means that Sun will still try to call the shots and set the direction for Java development, and that means that the numerous problems in Java won't get fixed.

But it doesn't matter anymore anyway. Java is what it is at this point, and it's not going to get any better, only more bloated. You either love it or you hate it.

So? (1)

sega01 (937364) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176532)

Good for the open source community and Java itself, but I don't think the language is worth being free due to the time wasted using it, and additional eyestrain.

Meltdown! (1, Troll)

nlightnmnt (1259790) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176636)

I celebrated by attempting to launch 3 Java programs simultaneously.

16-core processors can't arrive soon enough..

Can't download anything from SUN.COM right now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23176698)

Why is it impossible to download anything from Sun's website right now?

I always get a "General Error"...

Backwash (1)

spywhere (824072) | more than 6 years ago | (#23176840)

Does this mean Microsoft will again be able to provide their Java virtual machine?
http://www.oldversion.com/program.php?n=msjavavm [oldversion.com]
I'm getting tired of stripping [this week's version of] Sun Java off new PCs and installing the M$ VM, but it's necessary to get them running right (and to get rid of the coffee-cup "automatic update" marketing crapola).
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