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Two Takes on the Java Dilemma

Hemos posted more than 10 years ago | from the let-my-sandbox-go dept.

Java 562

Joe Barr writes "NewsForge is running a pair of excellent commentaries on the plight of Java and the Java development community following the recent "settlement" between longtime rivals Sun and Microsoft. One is by Rick Ross, the articulate leader of JavaLobby, entitled "Where is Java in the settlement?" The second is "Free but shackled: The Java trap" by Richard Stallman. Good reading. Both commentators put their finger on the heart of the problem, albeit from different perspectives." Yes, Newsforge and Slashdot are both owned by OSDN.

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SAVE MERCATUR.NET (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837371)

Rumor has it that Alice [] wants to shut down her website. Please help to convince her not to by writing something in her guestbook [] !

She's a really nice chick, so show some manners, ok?

LittlePCs in a Full tower (-1, Offtopic)

wlp (135753) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837476)

Good friend of mine (Also British) is looking to save the same problem. He's looking at . His only issue is embedding a switch and KVM into the same box. They should consider offering something like that prefabbed so he doesn't have to fab his own.


Re:LittlePCs in a Full tower (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837537)

[scratch, scratch...] umm.... rrrriiiight...

Message To America's Students: The War, The Draft, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837376)

We have been down this road before.

U.S. troops sent to war half a world away. American foreign policy controlled by an arrogant elite, bent on projecting military power around the globe. A public misled into supporting an unconstitutional war founded on deceit and fabrications.

As the death toll mounts, we hear claims that the war is nearly won, that victory is just around the corner. But victory never arrives.

As the public loses confidence in the government, the government questions the patriotism of any who express doubt about the war.

When a presidential election arrives, both the Democrat and Republican nominees embrace the policy of continued war.

The military draft comes to dominate the lives of America's young, and vast numbers who believe the war to be a senseless blunder are faced with fighting a war they do not believe in, or facing exile or prison.

The year was 1968. Because voters had no choice that November, the Vietnam War continued for another six years. Hundreds of thousands of Americans like you died, were maimed, or suffered from diseases like malaria. A far greater number of Vietnamese died.

Today, the war is in the quicksands and alleys of Iraq. Once again, under the pressure of a determined resistance, we see an American war policy being slowly torn apart at the seams, while the candidates urge us to "stay the course" in this tragic misadventure. Today's Presidential candidates are not Nixon and Humphrey, they are now Bush and Kerry.

Once again, there is one overriding truth: If war is the only choice in this election, then war we will have.

Today enlistments in the Reserves and National Guard are declining. The Pentagon is quietly recruiting new members to fill local draft boards, as the machinery for drafting a new generation of young Americans is being quietly put into place.

Young Americans need to know that a train is coming, and it could run over their generation in the same way that the Vietnam War devastated the lives of those who came of age in the sixties.

I am running for President, and have been against this war from the beginning. We must not waste lives in order to control and waste more oil. Stand with us and we may yet salvage your future and Americas' future from this looming disaster.

Ralph Nader


Re:Message To America's Students: The War, The Dra (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837395)

U.S. troops sent to war half a world away. American foreign policy controlled by an arrogant elite, bent on projecting military power around the globe.

I'm part of that arrogant elite, you insensitive clod!

Use this idea in WW2 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837417)

"American foreign policy controlled by an arrogant elite, bent on projecting military power around the globe."

Applying Nader's ideas to WW2, I guess we should have left little old Hitler and Tojo alone. They didn't have WMD's either, so they were nice guys just like Saddam.

Re:Use this idea in WW2 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837558)

OMG! you r smarty man POLITICS WIZARDDD!111111~~~~

Re:Message To America's Students: The War, The Dra (-1, Offtopic)

John 'Eff-ing' Kerry (764117) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837542)

Since quitting the Navy six months early at age 27 so he could run for Congress on an antiwar platform, John Kerry has built a political career on his service in Vietnam. His unsuccessful 1970 congressional bid lasted only a month, during which it proved impossible for even he to get to the left of the winner, Robert Drinan, but it forged a conflicting political persona - one hammered out between his combat medals earned in the Mekong delta and the common cause he made with the enemy upon his return home.

Now, at age 60, the junior Democratic senator from Massachusetts is milking his veteran status once again in an effort to show that he's tougher and more patriotic than the man he seeks to replace, President George W. Bush. And, as unrepentant as ever for his pro-Hanoi activism, he is just as conflicted in 2004 as he was in the 1960s.

If there is any consistency in Kerry's political career, it is his in-your-face use of that four-month stint in Vietnam. He enlisted like many other young men of privilege, trying to serve without going to the front lines. When in 1966 it looked like his draft number was coming up during his senior year at Yale University, and already having spoken out in public against the war, Kerry signed up with the Navy under the conscious inspiration of his hero, the late President John F. Kennedy. As a lieutenant junior grade, Kerry skippered a CTF-115 swift boat, a light, aluminum patrol vessel that bore a passing resemblance to PT-109. He thought he'd arranged to avoid combat. "I didn't really want to get involved in the war," he later would tell the Boston Globe. "When I signed up for the swift boats, they had very little to do with the war. They were engaged in coastal patrolling, and that's what I thought I was going to do."

Soon, however, Kerry was reassigned to patrol the Mekong River in South Vietnam, a formative experience for his political odyssey. The official record shows that he rose to the occasion. It was along the Mekong where he first killed a man, aggressively fighting the enemy Viet Cong and reportedly saving the lives of his own men, earning a Bronze Star, a Silver Star for valor, and three Purple Hearts in the process.

Kerry opted for reassignment to New York City, where - as a uniformed, active-duty officer - he reportedly began acting out the antiwar feelings he had expressed before enlisting. Press reports from the time say that he marched in the October 1969 Moratorium protests - a mass demonstration by a quarter-million people that had been orchestrated the previous summer by North Vietnamese officials and American antiwar leaders in Cuba (see sidebar, p. 27). Kerry had found his purpose in life. The New York Times reported on April 23, 1971, that at about the time of the Moratorium march, Lt. Kerry had "asked for, and was given, an early release from the Navy so he could run for Congress on an antiwar platform from his home district in Waltham, Mass."

For Kerry, politicizing the nation's war effort for partisan purposes was the right thing to do, in contrast to the violent revolutionary designs of colleagues who were out to destroy the system. Kerry didn't want to take down the establishment. He wanted to take it over. His aborted, monthlong 1970 congressional campaign was a victory for him politically, as it landed him on television's popular Dick Cavett Show, where he came to the attention of some of the central organizers of the antiwar/pro-Hanoi group known as Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW).

VVAW was a numerically small part of the protest movement, but it was extremely influential through skillful political theater, the novelty of uniformed combat veterans joining the Vietniks, and a ruthless coalition-building strategy that forged partnerships with the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), its Trotskyite rival, the Socialist Workers Party, and a broad front that ranged from pacifists to supporters of the Black Panthers and other domestic terrorist groups.

Kerry signed on as a full-time organizer and member of the VVAW's six-member executive committee. By early 1971 he had become one of the antiwar movement's principal figureheads, lending a moderate face to a movement that championed, and was championed by, imprisoned murder conspirator Angela Davis and actress Jane Fonda.

The young former and future political candidate acted as one of the main leaders of a massive, five-day April protest in Washington and other cities. Kerry's partner, Jan Crumb, read a list of 15 demands. According to the CPUSA paper Daily World, the VVAW demands were, "Immediate, unilateral, unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. armed forces and Central Intelligence Agency personnel from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand," plus "full amnesty" to all "war resisters" and draft dodgers, and "withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Latin America, Africa, Asia and elsewhere in the world."

Kerry was the star of the political theater that historic week, angry that the law forbade political protests at veterans' graves in Arlington National Cemetery and angrier that President Richard Nixon enforced the law and that the Supreme Court upheld it. He led an illegal encampment of veterans and people who dressed as veterans on the Mall in downtown Washington and used the services of Ramsey Clark - a former Johnson administration attorney general who by that time openly was supporting the enemy in Hanoi - to fight a federal order to disperse. According to the Daily World, which published a page-one photo of Kerry passing Clark a note during the march, the protesters converged on the White House chanting, "One, Two, Three, Four - We Don't Want Your F- - - - - - War."

Kerry's establishment model was working where the home-baked revolutionaries were failing. The activist bumped into William Fulbright, then chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, at a party and landed himself in the spotlight as a witness in a hearing held the last day of the weeklong march. There, he made his infamous exaggerated and untruthful allegations that his fellow servicemen, not merely the commanders, deliberately were committing widespread atrocities against innocent Vietnamese civilians (see sidebar, p. 26). Afterward, he joined a dramatic political-theater display at the Capitol steps, where hundreds of vets took a microphone and, one by one, stated their name, identified their combat medals and flung them over a police fence on the steps. Kerry renounced his Bronze Star, his Silver Star and his three Purple Hearts. (Later, as a politician, he would give ever-changing versions of the story.)

He seemed to want it both ways in the protest movement. While claiming to "hate" the communists, he decried any attempt to marginalize them within the movement. Once, when questioned about his political alliance with supporters of the enemy, Kerry said that any attempts to push out Hanoi supporters might result "in seriously dividing and weakening the movement, and making it less effective."

That didn't sit well with some VVAW members beyond the Washington Beltway. Back in Massachusetts, VVAW state coordinator Walker "Monty" Montgomery, a Tennessee native, publicly differed with Kerry. The Boston Herald-Traveler reported that Montgomery "was considerably more candid than Kerry about the problems posed by revolutionary communists inside an antiwar organization."

"You can quote me," said Montgomery, "as one who believes that the revolutionary communists in our organization are detrimental to the organization."

Kerry had trouble discerning the line between legitimate dissent and collaboration with the enemy. In the summer of 1971, he spoke at a VVAW news conference in Washington, assailing President Nixon for not accepting an enemy propaganda initiative - a Viet Cong statement in Paris that Hanoi would guarantee the release of American prisoners of war once the last U.S. troops left Vietnam. Featuring a photo of Kerry in the July 24 Daily World, the CPUSA said Kerry "asked President Nixon to accept [a] seven-point peace proposal of Vietnamese patriots."

Kerry traveled the country that fall, trying to breathe new life into a sagging college antiwar movement. The protest spirit was coming alive, he said. "It isn't withering," he told a reporter at Fort Hays State University in Kansas. "The feeling is there. I do seriously believe there's beginning to be a turning away from the tear-it-down mentality. The movement is turning toward electoral politics again."

Covering his antiwar campaign, the National Observer reported at the time, "He wants the Vietnam Veterans [Against the War] to move quickly and strongly into grass-roots electoral politics." He sought to organize like-minded veterans to become delegates at the upcoming 1972 presidential conventions. "Though the veterans are, for the record, nonpartisan," the Observer said, "what this really means is whether the [George] McGovern Commission reforms for the Democratic Convention are implemented and enforced. Most antiwar veterans laugh at the idea of getting anything started in the Republican Convention."

Yet for all his want of the spotlight, Kerry avoided public debates with other veterans. On seven occasions, by July 1971, he had refused to allow other veterans to challenge him publicly on television, even when CBS and NBC offered to host formal debates. He relented only when Dick Cavett, who had made him a national figure not long before, agreed to terms Kerry found advantageous. Even then, with Kerry holding all the advantages, Boston Globe political columnist David Nyhan observed, his "scrappy little" opponent, John O'Neill, "was all over Kerry like a terrier, keeping the star of the Foreign Relations Committee hearings ... off balance."

Kerry couldn't hope to take over the political establishment without the political organization skills, mobilization abilities and support networks of those radical groups that supported the enemy against U.S. troops. He needed to latch on to those in the establishment who funded them.

The New York Times reported on a millionaire's gathering in East Hampton, Long Island, in August 1971. Many of the attendees had participated in "fund-raising affairs for the Black Panthers" and other extremist causes. With fellow VVAW leader Al Hubbard, Kerry sought a less radical position, but he showed parts of a full-length film containing testimony of 125 alleged veterans who said they had witnessed U.S. atrocities in Vietnam, "before a request for funds sent everyone scrambling for pens and checkbooks."

As with Kerry's Senate testimony, which contained wild and unsubstantiated allegations of deliberate U.S. atrocities throughout the ranks, many of them disproved, the mission outweighed the truth. His VVAW sidekick Hubbard identified himself as an Air Force captain, a pilot, when in reality he was an ex-sergeant who had never served in Vietnam. Kerry was content to stand by VVAW's claims that it had 12,000 members in 1971. Massachusetts VVAW coordinator Montgomery was more open about the figures. He said that only 50 to 75 members in the entire state were really active and that the official statewide membership of 1,500 Vietnam vets was just a "paper membership."

The angry young veteran's political ambition shone through his public earnestness. The 1970 congressional race that had propelled him into national politics also undercut his credibility, exacerbated by his drive to run for office again. Many saw him as exploiting the war for political gain. "Angry wives of American prisoners of war [POWs] lashed out yesterday at peace advocate John Kerry of Waltham, Mass., accusing him of using the POW issue as a springboard to political office," the Associated Press (AP) reported on July 22, 1971. "One of the women accused Kerry of 'constantly using their own suffering and grief' for purely political reasons."

Patricia Hardy of Los Angeles, whose husband had been killed in 1967, told reporters, "I think he couldn't care less about these men or these families." Cathi and Janice Ray, whose stepbrother was a POW, accompanied her. (Official records show that only one U.S. serviceman named Hardy was killed in the war, Marine Lance Cpl. Frank Earle Hardy, whose platoon was ambushed in Quang Tri on May 29, 1967. His name appears on panel 21E, row D14, of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.)

The wife of Air Force Col. Arthur Mearns, a pilot missing since he was shot down in 1966, protested Kerry with them. Her husband later was declared killed in action. His name appears on panel 12E, row 055, of the wall.

"Mr. Kerry, when asked if he planned to run again for political office, said only that he was committed to political change and that he would use whatever forum seemed best at the time," according to AP. "He did not rule out mounting another political campaign." At the time, "I was totally consumed with the notion of going to Congress," Kerry later told the Washington Post. AP hinted that Kerry already held presidential ambitions. A Boston newspaper agreed: "The gentle cloak of idealism and dignity which Kerry had worn during his televised testimony in Washington now appeared to be stitched together with threads of personal ambition and political expediency. Was this to be the payoff for one of the finest and most moving chapters of the counterculture antiwar movement? Just another slick Ivy League phrasemaker ego-freak political hustler with a hunger to see his name on campaign posters and his face on national television?"

By 1972, Massachusetts' third congressional seat was firmly held by radical Robert Drinan. Kerry, now 28, left Waltham and bought a house in Worcester, anticipating a run for Congress from the 4th District. But when President Nixon picked the congressman representing the 5th District for an ambassador's post, Kerry leased out his house and moved to the dying old mill city of Lowell to run for the soon-to-be-vacated seat there. The Boston Phoenix, an alternative newspaper whose reporter traveled with Kerry on the 1972 campaign, profiled the candidate in a story headlined, "Cruising with a Carpetbagger."

"Kerry, media superstar, suddenly found himself having to deny that he had political plans lest he be accused of ripping off the veterans by using them as a bow for the arrow of his ambition," the Phoenix reported. "John Kerry is burning with desire to be a congressman, but he has to keep paying off that loan from the Vietnam Veterans [VVAW] by seeming to be cool and indifferent to personal gain, and this underlying dilemma produces an uncomfortable tension around him."

The candidate had trouble balancing himself between Kerry the patriot and Kerry the minion of Hanoi's agitprop apparatus. He tried to distance himself from his brand-new book, The New Soldier. According to a major newspaper in the district, the Lowell Sun, the book cover "carried a picture of three or four bearded youths of the hippie type carrying the American flag in a photo resembling remarkably the immortal photo by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal of U.S. Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima after its capture from the Japanese during World War II. The big difference between the two pictures, however, is that the photo on John Kerry's book shows the flag being carried upside down in a gesture of contempt."

The book was hard to come by at the time, according to the newspaper, but a rival in the Democratic primary found one in Greenwich Village and tried to publish the cover as an advertisement in the Sun. Kerry tried to cover it up. "Things began to get hot as the old pressure went on to prevent publication of the advertisement showing the cover of the book," the Sun's editors wrote on Oct. 18, 1972. "Permission from the publisher of the book, Macmillan Co. of New York, to reproduce the cover, granted by Macmillan in a telegram on the day publication of the ad was scheduled, was quickly withdrawn hours later by Macmillan with the explanation that the approval of the author, John Kerry, would be required before the cover could be reproduced in a political advertisement. So that killed the ad."

Kerry said it wasn't he who blocked publication. According to the Sun, "Subsequently, efforts were made to obtain Mr. Kerry's okay to reproduce the famous book cover, but Mr. Kerry now says he doesn't have the right to give this permission because the copyright on the book cover belongs to a coeditor of the book, one George Butler." The Sun couldn't locate Butler.

When the book had come out the year before, Macmillan sent a review copy to Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), requesting an endorsement. Byrd wrote back, "I say most respectfully to you, I threw it in the wastebasket after leafing through it."

Having lost the primary in humiliation - his brother had been caught trying to wiretap an opponent's office - Kerry went to Boston College Law School. Later, he was appointed assistant district attorney, then was elected lieutenant governor under Mike Dukakis in 1982. Two years later, he ran for the U.S. Senate - dusting off his veteran's credentials by standing in front of the black Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington to shoot a TV campaign ad, defying regulations that the memorial not be used for political purposes. The ad "was filmed illegally against the wishes of the National Park Service," according to the Boston Globe. Kerry authorized its broadcast anyway.

Kerry's campaign only stirred up long-smoldering embers from the war. Retired Maj. Gen. George S. Patton III, who had commanded combat troops in Vietnam, said that, medals or no medals, by the nature of his wartime protests Kerry gave "aid and comfort to the enemy" in the style of Ramsey Clark and Jane Fonda. "Mr. Kerry probably caused some of my guys to get killed," Patton said, even as he self-deprecatingly acknowledged shortcomings of his own as a commander. "And I don't like that. There is no soap ever invented that can wash that blood off his hands."

Responding to controversy over his remarks, Patton wrote in the Worcester Evening Gazette, "The dissent against our efforts in that unhappy war, as exemplified by Mr. Kerry, and of course others, made the soldier's duties even more difficult. ... These incidents caused our opponent, already highly motivated, to fight harder against us and our Vietnamese allies. Hence the comment made by me which included the provision of 'aid and comfort to the enemy' by Mr. Kerry."

Under relentless attack from the pro-Kerry Boston press, Patton received strong veteran support. Robert Hagopian, past commander of the Massachusetts division of the Disabled American Veterans, spoke for many about the general's views, telling reporters, "I agree with everything he said."

The Lowell Sun ran a cartoon of Kerry trying fruitlessly to wash his blood-covered hands. An accompanying editorial said, "During his antiwar years, John Kerry was about the closest thing to a male Jane Fonda in the U.S. anybody could find - and Ms. Fonda came as close to treason to her country as anybody ever could without being convicted of it."

To no avail. Massachusetts voters elected Kerry that year to join Ted Kennedy in the United States Senate.

Re:Message To America's Students: The War, The Dra (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837573)

Phew. You Reps are such idiots. We come up with a candidate who didn't serve, you call him a draft dodger. We come up with a real soldier, you'll say that military service isn't important.

And what's up with that flight suit guy currently in office? PUH-LEASE!

YHBT YHL HAND (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837668)

you fell for a troll, dumbass!

you democracts aren't so smart,,

The BileBlog has another take on open source Java (-1, Flamebait)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837382)

...right here [] . An excerpt:
When the hell will all those people just curl up and die? I'm so heartily sick of that mustachioed hippie free-love deviant ESR spouting his OSS filth. When will he realise that he's made all the money he possibly can from it, and it's time to just shut up and move along now?
You can see why it's called the "BileBlog".

Re:The BileBlog has another take on open source Ja (2, Informative)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837471)

Note that the BileBlog [] has many, many vicious postings on various Java and open source topics - Maven, XDoclet, "J3EE", etc.

In some cases, though, as they say - "it only hurts because it's true".

Sun will sell Java to the highest bidder (5, Interesting)

tjansen (2845) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837384)

My theory is that Sun is going to sell Java, probably to IBM. That's also a reason why Sun is will not
open-source Java. Even if it is losing money, it's still a valuable asset. Sun owns the trademark, many Java-related
patents and is the only company with the authority to prevent Java from being forked.
Sun's threat is to sell Java to Microsoft. Not sure whether MS wants to buy it (they would certainly be
willing to spend a lot of money to destroy it, but it would also annoy many people and renew the antitrust trouble). Losing Java would be so bad for IBM that they would be willing to spent a few billions to save
it. Possibly together with other companies in the Java trap, like SAP.

Re:Sun will sell Java to the highest bidder (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837435)

I doubt Sun would sell Java until they're ready to sell the company. Java has been a loss leader for them that has made the name "Sun Microsystems" nearly a household brand. Right now Sun is trying to reinvent itself because of the lack of vision in the marketplace.

Yes, Intel x86 can handle many of the tasks that only Unix machines used to be able to handle. I'd just tend to debate whether they're capable of doing these tasks as cost effectively, as reliably, and as efficiently.

Re:Sun will sell Java to the highest bidder (4, Insightful)

Chicane-UK (455253) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837550)

Yes, Intel x86 can handle many of the tasks that only Unix machines used to be able to handle. I'd just tend to debate whether they're capable of doing these tasks as cost effectively, as reliably, and as efficiently.

Well judging by the amount of people dropping their old UNIX gear, and taking up rackfulls of AMD or Intel boxes (especially the new 64bit offerings), i'd say the answer to that is a big YES.

Companies like Sun and SGI did used to really have a corner on the market.. but now their gear is slower than the competition and insanely overpriced. Don't get me wrong, they are all still the geeks ultimate play thing (I especially like SGI gear, and used to own a few old boxes) but price to performance ratio is soooo in Intel & AMD's favour right now.

Reliability is superb, runs a LOT of operating systems, scales very well (imagine a beowulf cluster of these...), and doesn't cost a lot of money.

Re:Sun will sell Java to the highest bidder (5, Interesting)

tjansen (2845) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837596)

Yes, Intel x86 can handle many of the tasks that only Unix machines used to be able to handle. I'd just tend to debate whether they're capable of doing these tasks as cost effectively, as reliably, and as efficiently.

Actually I'd be interested how many billions of Sun's yearly losses are related to Java, and how many billions are caused by creating and maintaining their own CPU architecture. I wouldnt be surprised if the last bit of 'cost-effectiveness' of the SPARC architecture would disappear immediately if Sun would charges enough to cover their real costs.
After cancelling the UltraSPARC V and having only a few 'mystery' CPU projects left, I expect Sun to make x64-64 the primary architecture for the low-end and medium range. Maybe not with this x86-64 generation, but when the next one appears.

Re:Sun will sell Java to the highest bidder (2, Interesting)

heironymouscoward (683461) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837485)

I don't believe Microsoft would tolerate that. It has only a few real competitors, and IBM is one of them. Java is essential to IBM's strategy and there is no way that Microsoft does not realize this. $2bn is a lot of money: if all they wanted was insurance against trustbuster trials, they could have paid a lot less.

No, Sun has (in my paranoid opinion) agreed to kill Java and probably StarOffice as well.

I'm quite curious to see how IBM will react.

Re:Sun will sell Java to the highest bidder (2, Insightful)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837536)

How can they kill StarOffice when it is open-sourced in its' OpenOffice form?

Re:Sun will sell Java to the highest bidder (3, Interesting)

Welsh Dwarf (743630) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837569)

By firing the SO developers, by not packaging SO any more, and by abandoning OOo.

OTOH, Novel and IBM have a vested interest in keeping OOo alive and kicking, so it wouldn't surprise me if/when Sun pulls the plug that 100 or so IBM/Novel employees take up the slack

Re:Sun will sell Java to the highest bidder (4, Insightful)

heironymouscoward (683461) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837577)

I was careful to say 'StarOffice' not OpenOffice. OpenOffice is GPLd and safe. Still, OpenOffice relies on support from Sun: my guess is Novell or IBM will provide a new home for it if/when Sun says it's cutting back.

Re:Sun will sell Java to the highest bidder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837539)

If development will stagnant, it is also possible that the fine people at Apache fill in each of the gaps. They have done so before, they might do so again...

Re:Sun will sell Java to the highest bidder (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837719)

java, still slow as shit, still lame

c++ for lizife, bee-yotch!

Re:Sun will sell Java to the highest bidder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837740)

They just did [] .

What part of "$900 million to resolve patent issues" is unclear?

Sun Microsystems is like a aging ho trying to decide between two pimps. "Which one will beat me less? Which one will let me keep mo mah money?" She chose Microsoft, rather than continue to be slapped around by IBM.

Since Microsoft now owns much of Sun's IP, you will never see Java freed, or sold to IBM, or anyone else. Microsoft wants to keep Java under tight control and limited exposure while .NET matures.

IBM is the entity facing some very tough choices. If the ho analogy holds, it's time for IBM to recruit some young bitches and undercut Microsoft's aging harlot.

"Freedom isn't free" (5, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837393)

Sun's control of the Java language is a benevolent dictatorship. If Java was truely Open Source, then Microsoft could have forked it to allowed J++ to exist on Windows and blow a hole in the "write once, run everywhere" theory.

In order for there to be a language that's solid in all environments, there's got to be a gatekeeper at the door.

Re:"Freedom isn't free" (0)

latroM (652152) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837418)

Have you ever heard of python or perl?

Re:"Freedom isn't free" (3, Insightful)

wmacgyver (555987) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837453)

I don't think either Python or Perl has ever threaten Microsoft in the way Java has.

Re:"Freedom isn't free" (1)

latroM (652152) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837474)

I meant that those languages are solid and compatible in all environments.

Re:"Freedom isn't free" (2, Insightful)

Hast (24833) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837568)

True, but they have nowhere the market penetration of Java. Unless you consider Unix systems you'll only find Python and Perl on the machine of a programmer. Java is found on almost all machines with a web browser in it.

Re:"Freedom isn't free" (0)

Bastian (66383) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837505)

I don't have much experience in python, but I can say that Perl does not run well on all environments. Some of its standard functions are UNIX-dependent, so it is very easy to write something that does not run properly in other environments such as Windows. Last time I checked, the perldoc pages don't even bother to mention that xxx function might not work or won't work in the advertised manner on xxx platform.

I remember this really got me into trouble at college - I made the mistake of doing some homework in perl on my Linux box. When my professor went to grade it, he tried running it on a Windows computer. Instead of running beautifully as it did on my computer it threw up a bunch of error messages and crashed and the professor ended up assuming that I never bothered to debug the program.

Re:"Freedom isn't free" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837663)

That's a load of crap. There's nothing UNIX dependent in Perl unless you specifically download a module that's not included in the standard distribution.

Perl refuses to water itself down to accomodate Windows like Java does. Just because Windows doesn't accomodate forks, signals, etc, doesn't mean it should be elimintated from the language. In Perl, you can still fork on Windows, it just uses an iThread underneath. Signals default to IGNORED.

So, unless you intentionally downloaded something that is not with the standard Perl distribution, you are blowing smoke up everyone's ass.

Re:"Freedom isn't free" (1)

absurdhero (614828) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837511)

According to you, one should give up one's freedom's whenever it may benefit one in the short term. This is the silliest argument for non-free software yet.

Re:"Freedom isn't free" (4, Interesting)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837551)

According to you, one should give up one's freedom's whenever it may benefit one in the short term.

That's not what he said.

What he said was that freedom gives loss of control, which means that your worst enemy will use your work against you.

It's the main reason for the virual/sticky/perpetual nature of the GPL.

benevolent my r**s (4, Interesting)

ArmorFiend (151674) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837554)

the Gnu dialect of the C language shows you don't need a "benevolent" dictator. Its been around much longer than Java. Its probably used by more people. Its GPL'ed. And yet it hasn't led to a GNU-C linguistic forkfest.

(the same argument applies to nearly every library under the GPL, does it not?)

Re:"Freedom isn't free" (4, Insightful)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837560)

Forked what? Does Microsoft need the code to write their own implementation? Not really. In fact, Microsoft DID write their own implementation, with J++ and the MS JVM, and then they morphed that into .NET, which cherry picked the features they wanted from Java. They aren't allowed to call it an implementation of "Java" unless it sticks to the Java specification, they have permission from Sun or whatever - but what's wrong with that? That's just a trademark issue, it has nothing to do with Open Source software or the licensing terms of the code itself.

Would the Sun/MS debacle have unfolded any differently if the source code for Java had been available under the GPL? Microsoft could have build their own stuff on top of it, but they would have had to keep it under the GPL - they would never have wanted that, so they would have had to do the exact same thing they did, which is write their own clean room version of it, or make a derivative design and have their own team implement to their own modified spec. If you can put forward a convincing argument that Sun GPLing the Java standard would have substantially changed the platform battle with Microsoft, I'd like to hear it.

Free Java would have better served most purposes (1)

expro (597113) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837578)

If it were free software, Microsoft probably would not go anywhere near it.

From the first day, Sun wanted Microsoft involved. That is a primary reason why it is not free.

If it were free software, Microsoft could not blow any hole in the "write once, run everywhere" theory, unless there was truly no one who cared about providing compatible libraries between the platforms.

Java still lacks a reasonable cross-platform UI, which it lacked at the outset. I have no doubt that free software would have served Sun and everyone else better in this respect.

Re:"Freedom isn't free" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837584)

"If Java was truely Open Source, then Microsoft could have forked it to allowed J++ to exist on Windows and blow a hole in the "write once, run everywhere" theory."

Ahh ... but who would use Microsoft J++? This argument implies that users/developers are stupid and do not understand the complications.

Following similar logic ... what prevents MS from creating a fork of Linux that runs only windows apps?

Re:"Freedom isn't free" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837594)

The problem is that Java is already incompatible across various implementations. Even if the syntax is identical, you never know if your program is going to work on Blackdown or Classpath just because it works on Sun's JVM. And lord only knows if the "standard" libraries you're using are available on the user's machine.

Quite frankly, the stupidest thing Sun did was force MS to give up Java. MS wanted to make Java ubiquitous by making it the standard platform for writing Windows apps. In order to do this, they needed to add a few features (like delegates -- function pointers, essentially). Sure, people would end up writing "Java" programs that wouldn't necessarily run on other JVMs, but who cares -- they would be Windows programs anyway! And besides, every single one of those Windows developers would also be a Java developer, spreading Java everywhere.

So now, instead of having a solid, fast, best-of-breed implementation of Java (with a few extras) on every single Windows machine on the planet, everybody who wants to run Java apps must install their own JVM. This does nothing but hinder use of Java. And of course, all of those would-be Java developers are still using VB or have learned C#.

Come to think of it, had Sun incorporated MS's improvements, such as delegates and enumerations, they would have an excellent language for GUI RAD. Instead, they stuck by their NIH ways and we don't get these features until 6 years too late.


Re:"Freedom isn't free" (5, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837611)

If Java was truely Open Source, then Microsoft could have forked it to allowed J++ to exist on Windows and blow a hole in the "write once, run everywhere" theory.

Well, since Microsoft couldn't do that, they just switched to plan B. They used 5 years of hindsight to write a new language like Java, but with some nicer new features, then they applied this new language to their OS monopoly to get instant market penetration with little effort.

Meanwhile, Microsoft froze their support for Java until it was hopelessly obsolete; this passive-aggressive move blew a hole in "write once, run anywhere" all by itself. Microsoft's moves seem to have succeeded in taking much of the steam out of Sun's goal of taking over the world with Java.

It seems to me that this course of events was a big factor in Sun's recent "surrender". I don't see how things have come out any better for Sun than if they had set Java loose.

I can't see how sun will ever make Java OS (1, Interesting)

Osrin (599427) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837403)

Isn't it the only real asset that they have left now? If they don't successfully commercialize Java then where do they go next?

Re:I can't see how sun will ever make Java OS (3, Informative)

medication (91890) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837595)

I think that Sun has a few other 'real' assests still alive and kicking. Among these assets are UltraSparc Servers, Solaris, and Java System Application Server Enterprise. Granted Sun's Application Server doesn't have the presence of a Weblogic or a WebSphere, but with the right investment behind it who knows. As to Sun's UltraSprarc's and the Solaris OS, the numbers I found weren't huge but certainly assest worthy: "Sun had about $50 million in orders for the V210 and V240 servers, Chief Financial Officer Steve McGowan said. The revised systems are in testing and are expected to ship by the end of July or in August, he said." - C|Net []

I think you might say that they are more than the "one trick pony" that many people believe they are.

The Algol, the (3, Interesting)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837405)

The biggest problem is that Java is just another speed bump in the long line of speed bumps called Algol descendents. Its convoluted syntax, unclear precedence rules, and general tendency towards cryptic programs are all problems that originated with Algol back in the 60's and little has been done to improve it. C, C++, Java, C#, they all suck because Algol sucked.

While we could probably debate for days the benefits and pitfalls of a language like LISP, the only good thing we can say about Algol-like languages is that they are pervasive. There are so many alternative languages that new language designers can base their syntaces on that it only shows the lack of creativity and knowledge of language history when language creators use Algol as the base of their languages.

Algol invented the Internet (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837429)

Isn't Algol the d00d who said he invented the Internet and then went and lost the 2000 election?

Re:Algol invented the Internet (1)

NonSequor (230139) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837737)

Only if you transliterate his name into Japanese and then back again.

Re:The Algol, the (4, Insightful)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837467)

You're barking up the wrong tree. People copy Algol because people are taught that programming languages -should- look like C and Java.

Also, they're more logical to humans than stuff like LISP. When you were a kid and decided you wanted to program, did you sit down with a LISP compiler? If you did, congratulations, but I don't know anybody else who did and most programmers I know look at a programming language with the thought of, "how much money can I make if I learn this".

Java sucks because it's wordy and the standards that people use with it are overwrought. I had no problems with RSIs until I started working in Java.

Re:The Algol, the (4, Insightful)

Bastian (66383) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837661)

Also, they're more logical to humans than stuff like LISP.

This point seems a bit unstable to me. I don't see why an Algol-like syntax would be more logical to humans for any reason other than that most folks learn to program in BASIC or C or because the syntax is relatively similar to standard mathematical notation. But in this case the argument would be that the syntax is usually more familiar to most people, not more logical. If it is inherently logical to anything, it's logical to computers, not humans.

If there's anywhere where folks seem to have a hard time with, for example, the LISP family, it's the recursion and not the syntax. Personally, I agree that LISP was harder to get used to than languages that have Algol-style syntax, but I'm not willing to say it was because of my human nature and not because I had already been programming in BASIC and C for ~10 years. And now that I'm used to it, I've found it is the most useful thing in the world, to the point that when I'm working out how to write a difficult function I generally use LISP syntax for my pseudocode because I've found it is much easier for me to make prototypes that will end up working.

I agree that languages take on because folks are interested in how finacially beneficial that language is, but that has nothing to do with whether or not it is an objectively well-designed language. I submit COBOL as evidence.

Re:The Algol, the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837489)

So what would you suggest? VB?

Did you ever stop to think that maybe the reason all those languages are popular is because they actually are *better* than the alternatives.

Re:The Algol, the (1)

daniel_yokomiso (641714) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837632)

C, C++, Java, C#, they all suck because Algol sucked.

No they all suck because C sucks. C was more influenced by BCPL and B than by Algol. The semantics of Algol was well defined, Algol-68 had constructs (e.g. first class procedures) that C and sucessors lack. On of the imperative languages with cleanest syntax is Pascal, a descendant of Algol.

C++, Java and C# just copied the errors from C, improving a little but keeping the basic flaws.

(absofuckinglutely) = t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837690)

Absolutely, thank you.

Re:(absofuckinglutely) t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837722)

Damn filter turned =.>. into .=.

Floating point (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837408)

Java floating point blows, so I could care less.

Java is doomed, doomed I say! (5, Interesting)

heironymouscoward (683461) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837412)

It seems quite certain that Java is doomed: Microsoft did not pay $2bn just because it likes the sound of change dropping. It wants Java dead, and .NET to be the main platform for large applications. It hopes to cripple IBM this way. Most likely Sun's refusal to open source Java was based on the promise of the upcoming funds.

So: Sun will slow down and finally stop development of Java. IBM will either try to roll-out its own compatible platform or propose a migration to something else.

And RMS will be muttering: "those fools, those fools, if only they understood what the GPL was about". And he would be entirely right.

OTOH, perhaps I'm just being paranoid and Microsoft will allow Sun (which is now a neutered zombie company selling its own living organs for booze money) to continue supporting one of the main obstacles to its domination of the platform business.

Re:Java is doomed, doomed I say! (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837464)

That doesn't make sense. At the same time Sun is trying to recast itself as a software company. There was a Slashdot article from a few days that hinted as much. What platform are they going to be developing that software for, if it's not Java? Are you suggesting that Sun is taking their 2 billion dollars, rolling up and going back to the pure hardware platform business in this world of Linux and commodity hardware? What evidence supports that?

Re:Java is doomed, doomed I say! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837501)

How about this scenario: Sun announces it will support .NET and MSOffice for Unix (maybe even Linux) and becomes the Unix arm of Microsoft?

Re:Java is doomed, doomed I say! (2, Insightful)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837618)

How does Microsoft benefit from that? Okay, given that Microsoft could have released .NET for Unix at any time, and given that Microsoft has apparently ported or at least considered porting most of their major apps (like Office) to Unix at various points in time but never had any desire to actually release them, what would make them change their mind now? What do they think they will win by eliminating the huge carrots they are using to lure people onto the Windows platform? Why do they need Sun to do this for them when they could easily do it themselves? I don't really see it.

Re:Java is doomed, doomed I say! (2, Funny)

hyperstation (185147) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837469)

So: Sun will slow down and finally stop development of Java. IBM will either try to roll-out its own compatible platform or propose a migration to something else. ...and other non-Sun implementations of Java will see more development to fill the gap.

java will not die.

whether it should or not is another discussion... :)

RMS is spot on this time (5, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837481)

And RMS will be muttering: "those fools, those fools, if only they understood what the GPL was about".

He mutters that constantly anyway, you insensitive clod!

Re:Java is doomed, doomed I say! (3, Interesting)

DeepDarkSky (111382) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837506)

I think both Sun and Microsoft (note I did not say general public) will be better off is Sun just sells out Java to Microsoft.
Look at it this way: Sun and Microsoft officially get together to put Java on the .Net platform. Java gets more play, .Net gets official Java.

I believe after the settlement, Sun and Microsoft will like each other a lot more - Sun because it has become weak and not terribly competitive, and Microsoft is happy that Sun is finally off its back, and given the state of software industry today, Sun is not in a good position as a software vendor, and though I don't know the numbers, but I don't think Java is making Sun much money (If it was, then they would not have had that much money trouble). I believe Sun is refusing to open up Java because they still want to milk more money from it, and one of the ways is to make a deal with Microsoft.

But Microsoft has C#, right? Yes...but C# is not Java, and there are plenty of people loyal to Java who are not willing to switch to C#. But if an official Java version is available on the Windows platform and is blessed by Sun, then developers would be much more willing to use it.

I understand the mantra of Java is write once run anywhere, but if you could at the same time, run on 90% of desktops really well (as a good Microsoft implementation would), then it's that much better.

All that remains is for Sun to sell Java to Microsoft.

Not. (5, Insightful)

Garg (35772) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837522)

Get real. See all those Java jobs out there? I know a few months ago there were more of those than any other language. I doubt that has changed... or will change in the near future.

Sun could drop off into the Pacific tomorrow, and Java would keep on going because in a lot of places it's the best tool for the job. As much as they would like to, neither Gates nor Stallman is going to change that fact. If Sun (under MS's influence) tries to corrupt or hamstring Java, IBM, Blackdown et al will simply fork it, and everybody will start using theirs.


Re:Java is doomed, doomed I say! (5, Insightful)

No. 24601 (657888) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837524)

I'm sorry, but .NET is garbage - too much glitter and not enough of the important stuff like platform-independence. Microsoft may have succeeded in getting .NET firmly entrenched in the industry if people trusted them, but they've been playing the game since day one for dominance. .NET will benefit Microsoft products, but I don't see it becoming a predominant force anywhere else.

The whole thing was a mistake for Microsoft, because they never really supported platforms outside the x86 architecture, and rarely code for other OSs (Office for Mac). .NET was Microsoft's attempt to fool the industry into thinking they were ready to embrace and extend open standards... but when it came down to it, they just weren't ready to take the risks to their existing monopoly.

Re:Java is doomed, doomed I say! (1)

Ben Hutchings (4651) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837571)

In case you hadn't noticed, NT also runs on IA64 and will be back on the PowerPC in the X-Box 2.

Re:Java is doomed, doomed I say! (1)

No. 24601 (657888) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837692)

NT also runs on IA64... Sure it runs on the IA64, but the Itanium has never been a market hit and like I said MS support has been flaky at best.

PowerPC in the X-Box 2... as far as I know, the X-Box has an adapted version of Windows as its OS... and being used in the X-Box doesn't subject it to the variety of real-world applications. In short, it's not *really* Windows, and anyways it's not sold separately to customers.

Re:Java is doomed, doomed I say! (1)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837622)

(which is now a neutered zombie company selling its own living organs for booze money)

That is the funniest metaphor of my week I bet. And it's only monday. Good job. It's funny because it's true.

Ahhhh (1)

Knight Thrasher (766792) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837413)

Those two commentaries are informative and are interesting. I find Rick Ross's more to what I would say myself about the topic. What -did- we fight so hard for?

Re:Ahhhh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837451)

Rick Ross is an arrogant talking-head. He consistently acts and talks like the 'angel saviour' of Java, who knows all right and no wrong. But underneath the covers, he is a zealot, plain and simple.

My wife has stretch marks on her boobies? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837430)

no kids?
wonder why??
ESR/OSS Fault???

Re:My wife has stretch marks on her boobies? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837544)

ESR/OSS Fault???

Well, ESR has stretch marks, but not on his boobies. Just ask RMS about it...

RMS Blathering (4, Insightful)

twocoasttb (601290) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837449)

As soon as RMS says something like "If your program is free software, it is basically ethical" I have to force myself to keep reading. It's a real bitch when that sentence is the first in the article.

Re:RMS Blathering (0, Troll)

henriksh (683138) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837646)

So it does not matter to you that he is right?

Re:RMS Blathering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837678)

Yes. Had IBM simply GPLed the software they wrote for the Nazis, it would have been OK.

Godwin's Law doesn't apply, since IBM actually did sell SW to the Nazis.

Give me a free java! (5, Insightful)

DeadSea (69598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837461)

RMS has a very valid point. My open source Java software depends on non-free java compiler and runtime environment.

I continue to write free software in java because Java is sexy, and I believe that Java will one day be free (or have some free implementation). Many of the things that I can do in java would be very hard in any other language. Namely having a GUI program that can run on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

I disagree with RMS that we should not accept this even temporarily. I write open source Java libraries under the GPL so that people who find them useful and want to use them must adopt the GPL. Planting open source seeds in the Java community will help in the liberation of the platform as a whole.

The reliable way to avoid the Java Trap is to have only a free implementation of Java on your system. Then if you use a Java feature or library that free software does not yet support, you will find out straightaway, and you can rewrite that code immediately.
Having such a setup is currently non-trivial. I have tried many times but have yet to get one to work. The gjc compiler is not hard to get working but getting a jre and the classpath libraries set up is beyond my skill level.

We are trying to rescue the trapped Java programs, so if you like the Java language, we invite you to help in developing GNU Classpath. Trying your programs with the the GJC Compiler and GNU Classpath, and reporting any problems you encounter in classes already implemented
Rather than appealing to developers, making free runtime easy to set up is the best way to make this happen. I applaud RMS for his work in this area, but it is not yet practical to take his advice.

Re:Give me a free java! (1)

gnuLNX (410742) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837548)

"I continue to write free software in java because Java is sexy"

You have got to get out more!

Re:Give me a free java! (1)

sporty (27564) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837562)

I disagree with RMS that we should not accept this even temporarily. I write open source Java libraries under the GPL so that people who find them useful and want to use them must adopt the GPL. Planting open source seeds in the Java community will help in the liberation of the platform as a whole.

The reliable way to avoid the Java Trap is to have only a free implementation of Java on your system. Then if you use a Java feature or library that free software does not yet support, you will find out straightaway, and you can rewrite that code immediately.

Combining RMS's idea and your own, come the day that java is "bad", your code can be ported to another language. Ruby, Python.. perl... you name it. Now mind you, you can't map it directly, but you can't write it.

You are doing more than developing java. You are developing algorithms and the likes. So come the day that you can't do java anymore, you still have a lot to walk away with, which is, those ideas.

Re:Give me a free java! (5, Insightful)

dmeranda (120061) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837586)

"Many of the things that I can do in java would be very hard in any other language..."

You really need to get out more. But I won't waste more space here debating technical misperceptions, this is about freedom.

"I write open source Java libraries under the GPL..."

Ahem, you mean free rather than open? That's RMS's whole point--it's not free. He never said it wasn't open.

"Planting open source seeds in the Java community will help in the liberation of the platform as a whole."

That's sure wishful thinking. I hope you're correct. But there's no way you can make it free. Only Sun can do that, and your seeds aren't falling inside their walls. That's like saying that writing GPL'ed software that runs under Windows will help in the liberation of the Windows platform. You're only fooling yourself, trying to justify using a sexy language. I commend you for GPL'ing your own programs, but you must not be fooled into complacency by your lack of freedom.

Re:Give me a free java! (4, Insightful)

BlackStar (106064) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837623)

Wishful thinking is the way Stallman has always approached solutions, and does so in his Java trap article. Getting more software written in Java with a greater demand on the platform and wider popularity is probably the easiest way to get more hackers working on teh GNU Classpath and related projects including the GNU Java Compiler. Computer science builds on itself, and on the work of others, both free and non-free. For years, Stallman's stuff only ran on Sun, as he pointed out. For years, many of us waited eagerly for the first HURD implementations. Good thing a pragmatist by the name of Torvalds came along and WROTE one rather than endlessly redesigning it. Results breed demand breed developer interest. Cygwin arose at least in part due to Unix programmers working on Windows and wanting the strength of their environment to be there. Demand and need.

Re:Give me a free java! (4, Interesting)

DeadSea (69598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837675)

That's like saying that writing GPL'ed software that runs under Windows will help in the liberation of the Windows platform.

Not entirely. I don't expect a free version of Java to come from Sun. I expect free Java to come from the open source community. There are already a significant number of people (including RMS) who are working towards this goal without Sun.

The more people with the itch, the more scratching that will get done.

As I pointed out, even those of us who want to work on these projects have a hard time because it is difficult to get the environment recommened by RMS set up. Bundling gjc, some free jre, and the classpath libraries into an install package would be a boon. Sun does this with their non-free Java and I have no problems installing their stuff.

Flash! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837637)

There's your multi-platform gui.

Free butt shackled? (-1, Offtopic)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837482)

Sounds like a remake of Perils of Gwendoline.

The Sun/Microsoft deal makes sense (0, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837498)

A slow bloated language-maker goes to bed with a slow bloated OS-maker. Can make more slow bloated software...

More seriously though, Java has lost to C#, dotNet and whatever Microsoft vaporware-du-jour. Plain and simple. The only reason Java has been around for so long is because Microsoft was slow to really set its target on it in the past.

Re:The Sun/Microsoft deal makes sense (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837582)

I just wish some posters would wake up and face reality:

Java is a bright success! All fortune 500 companies are using it in one way or the other.
Developers are counted by the millions.
Where is .NET?!?

No go to and search for job openings and compare Java and C#...

From a marketing perspective:
If you choose Java you have the choice
to sell your product on any major OS.

If you choose C# you just don't have the choice.
See how far Mono has come. Its not even close
to fulfill the WORA promise Java has.

.NET is vaporware? (2, Informative)

Kombat (93720) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837636)

Java has lost to C#, dotNet and whatever Microsoft vaporware-du-jour.

Uh... what? How is .NET "vaporware?" It *exists*, dude. My company has been using it for a couple of years now, and making good money selling ASP.NET web apps written in C#.

Did someone change the definition of "vaporware" while I wasn't looking?

Re:The Sun/Microsoft deal makes sense (5, Interesting)

jlrobins_uncc (136569) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837645)

The only reason Java has been around for so long is because Microsoft was slow to really set its target on it in the past.

COBOL is still around in big installations, although Y2K probably reduced that number to some extent, but certainly did not kill it off.

Java, believe it or not, via J2EE / EJB is the COBOL of our time. Business logic gets done today in Java -> EJB -> relational database, instead of COBOL -> VSAM.

Which will be more readable? COBOL today or EJB code 30 years from now? At least COBOL was inherently single-threaded!

Java won't be 'dead' until all of this generation's buisness logic gets reimplemented. But at least the data is (should be) housed in something more language-neutral than VSAM.

gay sex in my bedroom now STAT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837503)

highway gangbang -- in da butttt

Until it is set free (-1, Redundant)

codepunk (167897) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837530)

The future of java as I see it is very uncertain and is even more so now. That being said I could really care less as I pretty much use Python for everything now. Python does everything that java can do and it does so freely and more productively. Or perhaps I should use C# and have that pulled out from under me whenever MS desires. Java and C# are crufty languages anyhow.

Re:Until it is set free (5, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837598)

Java and C# are crufty languages anyhow.

I don't care much for OO myself, but many people say at least the newer Java implementations are really quite good.

What put me away from Java since the beginning is the size of the executables, and their truly atrocious speed. And also the size and speed of another monster called Swing.

But, I remember a certain OS called Unix that used to be the archetype of bloatware, with a graphical system that used to open 2 megabyte (gasp!) temp files, in the past. Now that computers have caught up with it in terms of memory and speed, Un*x looks thin compared to Windows, and its creators seem like precursors and visionaries.

So sometimes I wonder if I'm not missing a boat with Java : perhaps it too is ahead of its time, and one day nobody will balk at the speed, because it'll run fast by virtue of the underlying hardware.

But I guess now that Microsoft and Sun have agreed to kill it, the question of whether or not I should try it is getting moot.

Re:Until it is set free (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837607)

Can you create scalable, distributed appliations that run inside an application server with Phython?
Do you have the same array of libraries and APIs in Phython?
Me don't think so.

JavaMail? JTSA? JNDI?
You could JPhython of course ;)
So Phython in itself is simply not a viable
programming language.
Just go to big companies and try to sell them
something written Phython.

Free World? (3, Insightful)

sielwolf (246764) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837532)

RMS's talk of a Free World devoid of any contamination by non-free dependency sounds eerily like Juche [] . I guess self-reliance is nice and all but all the talk of "rescuing Java programs" from "shackles" seems to remove one of the most basic freedoms: the freedom of choice. I myself must not only be free but must all of my friends must be free as well? And if they aren't, I really shouldn't because that's just accepting their unacceptable lifestyle?

That just doesn't sit well with me.

Come on Sun, do it for us. (4, Insightful)

Lao-Tzu (12740) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837547)

Many people have argued that it doesn't do Sun any good to "open source" Java. They might be right. You can argue that an open source Java may have a good chance of becoming _the_ platform for software development, but Sun may no longer profit from it regardless. From Sun's point of view, they really don't see the benefit.

Well, screw them. I don't care about Sun. I'm a programmer, and all I want to do is write a piece of software that I can move from system to system without a lot of pain. Swing is the best toolkit out there for this, right now. It is relatively well documented, consistant, and available to any programming language that can run under the JVM. It can run on multiple operating systems, looking fairly native-like, or with it's own ugly but usable UI where a native look-and-feel isn't available. Some classes, like JOptionPane, actually require fairly small amounts of code to do relatively robust things.

The Java platform has a huge number of libraries available for it, and they work all over the place.

There might be no benefit to Sun in open sourcing Java. But there is benefit to me. I want to be able to rely on Java as a platform, but right now any Java developer would be rather screwed if disappeared. I don't like that risk, and I won't build a Java application (except for consulting work - who cares there) because of it.

(I'm not interested in alternative programming environments, by the way. I already know about them - after all, I don't do Java development, like I said.)

What a load (4, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837579)

Where does RMS get off? Java belongs to SUN, they are the one who invested the time, money and effort to develop it. If you dont like it go build your own version rather than trying to imply that SUN are unethical or trying to maliciously entrap developers.

RMS might better ask why Java has been so successful. It addressed a gap in the market, not its original intention but a need none the less and developers like it. There is an extensive Java developer base now. RMS's comments have a serious smack of petty jealousy about them. Shock horror a commercial company came up with something that has attracted developer mindshare on a far larger scale than anything FOSS can manage and almost 10 years down the line the 'free alternative' is still so half assed its not even a realistic alternative.

Re:What a load (1)

deanj (519759) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837652)

Man, you got this dead on right. I wish I had some mod points to mod this up right now.

Java's been successful, and not "free" under RMS's definition. That's obviously driving him nuts.

Did you read the article? (4, Insightful)

dmeranda (120061) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837687)

Did you even read the article? RMS never told Sun what to do. He was speaking to programmers who write software using Sun's Java platform. It is those programmers who think they are writing free software, and may not realize that it really is not free after all. His audience does not include Sun programmers; they are already aware that their software is not free--they need no warning.

He is cautioning those people who desire to write free software to reevaluate whether they are really achieving their own goals, to not be blinded by Java's sexiness and Sun's apparant benevolence. But to say that RMS want's to force Sun to do business in a different way is to read something that I'm not seeing in his article.

kaffe? (1)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837597)

Is there a good Free implementation of Java? I've been looking at the Kaffe [] project.

RMS playing Spin doctor (4, Insightful)

Aumaden (598628) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837639)

Sun's implementation of Java is non-free. Blackdown is also non-free; it is an adaptation of Sun's proprietary code. The standard Java libraries are non-free also. We do have free implementations of Java, such as the GNU Java Compiler and GNU Classpath, but they don't support all the features yet. We are still catching up.

If you develop a Java program on Sun's Java platform, you are liable to use Sun-only features without even noticing. By the time you find this out, you may have been using them for months, and redoing the work could take more months. You might say, "It's too much work to start over." Then your program will have fallen into the Java Trap; it will be unusable in the Free World. -- RMS

I generally respect RMS, but I have a problem with this. Like it or not Sun (and others via the JCP [] ) set the Standard for Java. I fail to see how using the Standard is falling into a trap.

The real reason Java would be unusable in Stallman's "Free World" is because the current, free compiler is sub-standard.

I shouldn't use the features supported by Sun, Blackdown and IBM because the GNU Java Compiler hasn't caught up with the pack?

Now, whose trap is that again?

I need a RMS to English translator... (3, Funny)

Random Guru 42 (687672) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837653)

Or some other way of disambiguating all those "free"s scattered throughout his article. That word's as overloaded as a ctor. Perhaps a complementary program to RMS-Lint [] would be good?

What's the point?! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8837670)

I've never seen the point with Java to begin with. So what if it's portable and what not it's slow, sluggish and while yeah those embedded applets are sometimes cool to work with I've yet to see anyone incorporate java applets into their desktop to any degree. Why should you when you have all the free non-java apps out there these days. Lates! []

There will always be a non-free dependency. (1)

duslow (648755) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837683)

Free software depends on non-free hardware to run. Even if hardware became free, you still rely on non-free electricity to make your hardware run.

Would Stallman then advise us to avoid the Electricity Trap?

Sun only features? (5, Interesting)

deanj (519759) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837693)

From RMS: "If you develop a Java program on Sun's Java platform, you are liable to use Sun-only features without even noticing."

Does anyone have a clue what he's talking about? The "com.sun.*" libraries? How could you use those without noticing?

Doesn't sound like this guy has ever programmed in Java.

Where are the BSD trolls? (3, Insightful)

thogard (43403) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837694)

According to the Borders metric, java is dead.

The Borders metric is where you wanter into a Borders book store and count the shelf space allocated to each subject. Some subjects grow to several racks and then die out and others just sort of stay at their 1/4 rack for ever (like Ada, Fortran and C).

Is this right? (5, Interesting)

jthulin (766465) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837714)

Sun won't release the source code for their JVM and Java compiler, but they allow development of an open-source compiler and VM or a Java-to-C[++] translator which can be used for future-proofing today's Java applications. Therefore, programming- and CS-savvy amateurs and professionals should undertake such a project to improve their skills and make the world a better place in which to live.

Ross's comments (3, Interesting)

Leomania (137289) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837729)

Rick Ross made this parting shot in the close of his article:

I hope you will join me in watching how things progress before we draw conclusions about this settlement (or was it a purchase?)

The body of the article was well-written and I agree completely with his fundamental question -- where is Java in this settlement? I was shocked to hear pretty much squat about Java in the wake of the settlement, and I think his point that we must just wait and see is unfortunately correct.

But this little jab right at the end wasn't in keeping with the rest of the article. I wish he had instead expanded upon the idea of "What sorts of things might there be in the settlement, both good and bad for Java and/or Sun?". It almost feels as though it was inserted by someone else, it trips up the reader (well, me anyway) so badly.

- Leo

Java Trap (5, Interesting)

technomancerX (86975) | more than 10 years ago | (#8837731)

Ok, let's face it, there IS NO JAVA TRAP.

Java is an open specification. The libs are open specifications. Just because the FSF hasn't been able to finish an implementation doesn't mean it can't be done.

Stallman's argument about libraries being required to conform to the specs if they're publicly available is also a load of crap. Basically it only applies if YOU CLAIM TO IMPLEMENT THE API. In other words, don't claim to be J2EE compliant until you actually are. There is nothing stopping anyone from starting a project and saying "Out goal is to build a system fully compliant with API x." and developing it. The only restriction is you can't claim to be API x compliant until you are. That's a real hardship, being required to actually support the feature set you claim to.

I'm sorry, I develop in Java (in addition to C, C++, Perl, and PHP) and I like to know that if something says it complies with specification X that it actually does.

Also, as a side note, Java is not going anywhere. SAP, Oracle, and IBM have too much of an investment to let Java die. Sun could declare bankruptcy tomorrow and IBM would buy the technology tomorrow, guaranteed.

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