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Gosling on Opening Java

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the if-you-love-something-let-it-go dept.

Java 453

An anonymous reader writes "It sounds like James Gosling's nudging Sun closer and closer toward open-sourcing Java, as requested variously by IBM, Eric S. Raymond, and Richard Stallman, though not by JBoss's Marc Fleury. 'Developers value Java's cross platform interoperability and reliability,' Gosling writes, adding 'If we do something to make Java even more open-source than it is already, having safeguards to protect the developer community will be something we pay a lot of attention to.' Surprisingly, 'the creator of the Java programming language,' as Sun usually calls him, seems to be at odds on this issue with his own CEO, Scott McNealy. So, who should have custody of the child, the father...or the boss?"

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Well, legally... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030239)

The boss. They paid him for his work, so it is there's to do with as they please.

Re:Well, legally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030333)

They paid him for his work, so it is there's

It is there is? Where is?

Re:Well, legally... (2, Informative)

The_Mystic_For_Real (766020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030337)

Actually, this was what the copyright ;aws were designed for. Just because you pay someone for something does not mean you own all rights to it. Think of every closed source program ever. The employee might still own it, though it is rare an employee will copyright it as opposed to the company doing it. Also, many employees have to sign a contract to say that anything they produce belongs to the company.

Re:Well, legally... (5, Informative)

generic-man (33649) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030390)

Copyright law defines something as a work for hire [music-law.com] if it was produced by an individual at the request of a company. All rights to a work for hire are retained by the company who paid for the work to be created.

Most of the employee contracts are supplemental to this definition. Many companies claim all rights to works created by employees without the explicit request of the company, as well.

Re:Well, legally... (5, Insightful)

Feren (97175) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030446)

[Also, many employees have to sign a contract to say that anything they produce belongs to the company.]

It's been standard operating procedure for years for most companies to have any employee who might even touch programming sign such a waiver/contract that gives all rights to the employer. Even some of the higher education systems (what we traditionally viewed as a bastion of free innovation because of projects like those put out by Berkely, etc) are taking on this practice. It's gotten to be a very dog-eat-dog world out there and everyone's looking to keep their cards close to the vest in hopes of gaining an edge over their competitors.

On the other hand it's generally a smart move on the employer's part to weigh the advice of the creator when they're about to do something with the project that the creator feels strongly about. They may not agree and ultimately they may not act on the employee's advice, but it's good form and wise business practice to at least listen to his or her opinion. Every once in a while these folks have an idea what they're talking about and it makes the employee feel as if his input is valued, meaning the company is less likely to lose a valuable resource.

Re:Well, legally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030622)

What a meaningless and totaly uninformative post that totaly tries to be wrong, but isn't because it actuallys states zero facts.

It is well established law that what you invent, write and create for your employeer, belongs to your employeer -- unless pre-employment agreements were made stating otherwise, or your employeer waives its rights.

logicly (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030629)

Saying that Java is Gosling's is like saying that the US government is Bush's.

While one can argue that Gosling is the core hand in Java, he neither financed it nor did most of the work.

More importantly, if it is open sourced, what license would it be under to prevent forking and the like since a (the) core value of Java is its universality?

Why open Java? (2, Troll)

JamesP (688957) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030243)

Please enlighten me? Why GPL Java?

Java is pretty good right now.

Re:Why open Java? (0, Troll)

superangrybrit (600375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030398)

And the parent post is moderated as Troll?

Re:Why open Java? (1)

BigGerman (541312) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030627)

and why is this a troll already?

Re:Why open Java? (4, Informative)

mindriot (96208) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030631)

Because it would be one hell of a Free software killer application. There's so many people using Java already, and Stallman's point against Java right now is that when writing code in Java (which many do simply because it's easy and beautiful to write in Java), you create dependencies to non-Free software making it practically impossible to run an entirely Free system using such dependent Free software.

Consider this: if Java were Free, it could easily be the world's most used piece of Free software (before you say Apache or something, let's say 'most used by private persons')

You might be a troll and I did bite, but it was just too good an opportunity to point out what Freeing Java could mean.

Joint Custody (5, Funny)

modifried (605582) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030252)

So, who should have custody of the child, the father...or the boss?

Boss gets it on the weekends, father gets it during the week.

kudos to gosling... (5, Funny)

all your mwbassguy a (720029) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030261)

...we need java to be open source, so we can fix all the flaws he left in it. i mean, no goto?!

mod funny, not interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030338)

For the mods that modded this "interesting" I think most modern developers would agree GOTO is clearly a "four letter word" in programming.

Maybe you should remod this funny, because as anything other than a joke it's frightening. GOTO has no place is readable code.

Re:kudos to gosling... (3, Insightful)

malakhi (318136) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030339)

goto statements in Java are virtually useless. There are other, better ways to accomplish anything a goto statement would be used for in Java (break and continue come to mind Remember, Java is not C or C++. It has it's own way of doing things. That's why we use Java. If we tried to "fix" everything C/C++ developers thought was "wrong" with it, we'd just have C all over again.

Thanks, but no thanks. I'll stick with my "evil" non-GPL Java.

Re:kudos to gosling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030429)

Remember, Java is not C or C++

Also, even though C and C++ do have gotos, it is considered highly evil to use them anyway ...

Re:kudos to gosling... (1)

LaBlueCow (768184) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030532)

There's always better ways to do things than with goto, unless you're programming QBASIC... but that's just my opinion :)

Re:kudos to gosling... (1)

trompete (651953) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030611)

What's wrong with having #ifdef, #define or some other kind of compile directive?

I don't like adding extra login to my programs in hudreds of places.

Re:kudos to gosling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030497)

" ...we need java to be open source, so we can fix all the flaws he left in it. i mean, no goto?!"

goto is sloppy, and not a part of structured programming.

Re:kudos to gosling... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030556)

What you talkin' bout foo? [sun.com] GOTO has been long supported by Java, it just hasn't been used by its developers. Using a GOTO statement in OO code is a rediculous thing to do. Even semi-functional languages like C have no need for GOTO statements.

Re:kudos to gosling... (1)

jmb-d (322230) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030595)

GOTO has been long supported by Java, it just hasn't been used by its developers.

If you define "supported" as "reserved by the developers precisely so it wouldn't be used as an identifier, or, worse, as a method name, then yeah, it's been there all along.

"Even more open-source than it is already"... (2, Interesting)

JessLeah (625838) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030272)

Java is not open-source at all [gnu.org] .

(Pre-emptive response to the argumentative sorts who point out the various GNU Java projects: These are not "Java proper". Java is a Sun product, and it is not open-sourced.)

Re:"Even more open-source than it is already"... (2, Insightful)

blackdragon7777 (720994) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030423)

When you download java, you get the source files along with it. GPL is not the only license that makes something open source.

Re:"Even more open-source than it is already"... (2, Insightful)

Earlybird (56426) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030545)

  • When you download java, you get the source files along with it. GPL is not the only license that makes something open source.
Both of the above assertions are true. However, in the context of the parent, they imply that because Java comes with source files, Java is open source, while is categorically false. The "open" in open source represents a freedom to modify and redistribute, which is encoded in the GPL and other open-source licenses. The sources that come with the Sun Java distribution -- which, incidentally, only cover the standard class libraries -- are not "free as in speech".

Re:"Even more open-source than it is already"... (5, Informative)

vegetasaiyajin (701824) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030563)

When you download java, you get the source files along with it. GPL is not the only license that makes something open source.
Actually, the source code you get is for the standard library, not the JVM source code. That one is a separate download.

Re:"Even more open-source than it is already"... (2, Informative)

T-Ranger (10520) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030615)

Correct.

The list of licenses that make something Open Source is here. [opensource.org]

While there are some Sun licenses on the list, the Sun Community Source License (which Java source is provided under) is NOT.

This is not an opinion question. This is a fact. Java is NOT Open Source. It is not a little Open Source, or almost Open Source. Open Source is a binary state. It is, or it isnt. Java IS NOT.

Re:"Even more open-source than it is already"... (1)

Henrik S. Hansen (775975) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030466)

Actually, this is a very good example of the kind of confusion that can arise from using the term 'open source'. Since you do get (some of) the source with the JDK, is it not at least partially open source?

If we choose to use the term 'Free Software' instead, there is no confusion. It is not rms-free (yes, I just invented that term), since the license is too restrictive.

This will probably be modded flamebait, but needs to be said.

Re:"Even more open-source than it is already"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030512)

>> rms-free

Let me guess: root mean square?

Re:"Even more open-source than it is already"... (1)

T-Ranger (10520) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030626)

There is no confusion.

"Free Software" has a specific meaning. "Open Source" also has a different specific meaning. Besides the meaning itself, "Open Source" is also an enforceable specific meaning, as "Open Source" is a trademark.

Re:"Even more open-source than it is already"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030553)

-1 redundant

Click on "Richard Stallman" in the article summary and you will have seen this article already.

wow! (4, Funny)

narkotix (576944) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030288)

first maybe solaris....now maybe java...whats next...open source star office??? oh wait..

Not such a big deal? (5, Insightful)

spellraiser (764337) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030293)

Question from the artice:

2. "Some have asked what IBM would get if Java were open-sourced: doesn't IBM already have the source?"

Gosling's answer: Again yes, they do have the source. It's also true that anyone can get the source. The major restriction is that if folks want to redistrubute their changes, they have to pass the test suite. Which means that about the only thing that they could get from liberalization is to be able to skip testing.

So it doesn't seem to be such a big issue after all. The source is already available, and all that is required to change it and redistribute it is to pass a standard suite of tests. Now, call me crazy, but I think that's not A Bad Thing. This restriction is what helps Java to be uniform and platform-independent.

The benefits of making Java fully open source therefore seem overrated. Isn't the availablity of the source most important? Or perhaps I'm misunderstanding something ...

Re:Not such a big deal? (0, Offtopic)

EsbenMoseHansen (731150) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030328)

Two problems: 1, I can't really fork Java I think Sun is killing it. 2. That test-suite should then be publicly availble, so Joe Hacker can test his YAJ-compiler-etc against the suite. But who cares? It's not like there is a lack of languages out there, and Java lacks some pretty vital stuff anyhow (e.g fork() --- and forking the JVM is not really a solution).

Re:Not such a big deal? (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030358)

Java lacks some pretty vital stuff anyhow (e.g fork() --- and forking the JVM is not really a solution).

A good thing then, since you can't fork().

Re:Not such a big deal? (5, Insightful)

Chalybeous (728116) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030354)

The source is already available, and all that is required to change it and redistribute it is to pass a standard suite of tests.

I agree with the parent. I'm not 100% clued up on such technical matters, but it seems to me that if Java were opensourced, suddenly every developer would implement their favourite functions and fixes, and it could risk losing its crossplatform compatibility.
As it stands, I understand that Sun is (as the parent quotes) pretty liberal with its Java policy. Would it be worth creating potentially problematic issues by changing this policy to make Java opensource?
It seems sensible, at least to me, to keep Java as it stands with regard to source changes, or we'll end up having Joe's Java, MSJava, Java for Nokia Mobile Phones, Java Reloaded... all built off the same core, but all implementing the same thing different ways, possibly with platform dependence or crosscompilation compatibility issues.
I'm guessing that Sun's "standard suite of tests" for additions/changes to Java is designed to prevent this kind of branching, and is (in a multi-OS, infinite-diversity-of-hardware-combinations world) A Very Good Thing.

Opinions, developer-type /.ers?

Re:Not such a big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030447)

I'm also not terribly familiar with Java, but from what I've heard, Java is already somwhat fragmented. Apparently, many projects have to repackage their Java releases for several different versions of Java.

So I think the benefits of keeping Java closed source are overrated.

Re:Not such a big deal? (2, Informative)

Chalybeous (728116) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030515)

Interesting, AC.
I know that since switching to Mozilla Firefox and the latest version of Sun Java, I've had some minor issues with web-based applications (mostly games) which refuse to work with anything but MS Java VM. So I suppose there's at least one forked (or b0rked, depending on your view of MS Java VM) version of Java out there in widespread use.

Anyone else wants to throw their 2c into the ring on this?

Re:Not such a big deal? (1)

FatherOfONe (515801) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030590)

Here is my 2c....

Our company tested around 10 JVM's (including different versions) and what we found was the following.
1. Old JVM's were around 10X slower than modern ones.
2. 9 out of 10 JVM's behaved EXACTLY THE SAME!!! Only one JVM had major issues. Any guess which one? Microsofts.... shocker!!!

The Microsoft JVM was fast though, but the latest ones from IBM and Sun were just as fast and behaved correctly.

Also here is the scoop with older to modern JVM's. Sun use to have only a handfull of test to "certify" a JVM. Specifically this was with the 1.0 JVM. Then with 1.1x the test to certify got a little more tough. Now with the 1.2 and above, it got a LOT more tough. I have heard that it went from a few hundred test to many thoughsand test. It is my belief that this coupled with the fact that SWING was decent, made Microsoft aware NOT to support Java at all.

I have developed many JAVA apps, on Linux, Solaris, NetWare, and Windows and have never found any major issues with compatibility with "MY" code. Granted most of my stuff is business apps, so take this with a grain of salt.

I will add that the test that our company did, actually did open up a Microsoft fan boy of their tactics. He tried hard to defend Microsoft, but you can only do so much when EVERY other companies JVM worked.

Now, having seen what Microsoft has been able to do without open-sourcing JAVA, I kind of like the idea of Sun controlling it, in such that they maintain the standard for testing.

Re:Not such a big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030441)

The questions in the article:

1. *Some* have asked ...
2. *Sone* have asked...
3. *Some* of IBM's statements have essentially distilled...
4. *Some* have asked
5. *Most* of comments I have heard

Hmm, fabricating and/or selectively choosing questions and then giving arguments - every can do this. If the guy wanted to fabricate a FAQ, it is very poor job...

Re:Not such a big deal? (2, Interesting)

pfafrich (647460) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030460)

The benefits of making Java fully open source therefore seem overrated. Isn't the availablity of the source most important? Or perhaps I'm misunderstanding something ... For most users I'd agree with you, for me personally the current way Java is licensed seems fine. The one thing which could happen is that people could fork the source to try some language extensions, something like adding aspect oriented programming (aspectJ) or adding in operator overloading. Sun could keep their community process for the main branch.

A lot of this just seems to do with the name Sun could feel good about being "open source" GNU can feel good about another OS project, IBM can feel good about making it happen and Microsoft can feal confused. But it does not mean anything really changes for developers.

Maybe there needs to be a distinction between and Open Source License and an Open Source Development Process. Just because the code is open source does not mean they need to follow the same development model as Linux.

Re:Not such a big deal? (2, Informative)

rutwms (737121) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030528)

Maybe there needs to be a distinction between and Open Source License and an Open Source Development Process.

Open Source [opensource.org] software is based on a development process. You are asking for a distinction between Free Software [gnu.org] and Open Source software witch does exist, but is often confused.

Re:Not such a big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030487)

Gosling's answer: Again yes, they do have the source. It's also true that anyone can get the source. The major restriction is that if folks want to redistrubute their changes, they have to pass the test suite. Which means that about the only thing that they could get from liberalization is to be able to skip testing.

Of course, because, for an OSSzealot, they think they should have the fundamental right to swap the meanings of + and -

The devil's in the details (4, Insightful)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030568)

One thing Gosling neglects to mention is that it costs tens of thousands of dollars to get access to the test suite.

While compatibility is great, a major advantage of open source is the ability for people to make and distribute experimental changes (after all, new features often start out as experiments).

While anyone can get the source code to Sun's VM, there is concern that looking at the code taints you for life, unlike open source.

Color me confused... (4, Insightful)

ItMustBeEsoteric (732632) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030297)

"If we do something to make Java even more open-source than it is already"

Is it even possible for something to be partially open source? As far as I've always been concerned, something either is or it is not.

I know someone will definitely say "well, X part of Y OS is open source, while the OS isn't" but Java isn't an OS. Even in that case, let's use OS X. Are its Darwin portions open source? Well, yeah. I doubt we'll argue that? Will any /.-er in their right mind say OS X is open source?

Hell no. And I love my Macs.

Re: Color me confused... (1)

Ploum (632141) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030322)

As far as I've always been concerned, something either is or it is not.

You're a one or a zero... Dead or Alive... (a famous-for-geeks movie)

Are you pregnant? Wow, do we have a child? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030498)

Well, dear, yes and no...

custody problem? call Jerry Springer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030301)

Sun has demostrated that for every OS framework based in java they have their own like Java Sever Faces and Struts, for sure Struts is way more flexible and useful despite some confusing configuration variables. There is so much redundancy in Java that soon or later will haunt it back and the so called portability will go to hell.

Custody? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030302)

I say we put the baby through the mulcher. Next...

Please Mister the Boss... (0, Troll)

Ploum (632141) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030308)

I don't like programming in Java, but having a free Java (as in speech) would be really great !

Think about how it can be easy to include Java in a Linux Distro.

If Java becomes free, I can imagine a lot of thing. Why not bindings with GTK for example ?

Re:Please Mister the Boss... (1)

chez69 (135760) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030374)

you mean this? [sourceforge.net]

Re:Please Mister the Boss... (5, Informative)

vegetasaiyajin (701824) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030468)

I don't like programming in Java, but having a free Java (as in speech) would be really great !

There is a very good free java implementaiton. GCJ (GNU Compiler for Java) [gnu.org] . The library lacks a few things (e.g. AWT/Swing), though, but other than that it is a great implementation. And it is not based on a JVM, but is a traditional ahead of time compiler, so the related disadvantages (as well as the advantages, if any) dissapear. It uses the same (or at least a very similar) object model as C++, so interoperation with it is much easier.

Think about how it can be easy to include Java in a Linux Distro.
Sun's Java JVM can be included in linux distributions without problems. Knoppix, SuSE and SoL include it. Don't know about others. The reason some distributions don't include Sun's Java implementation is because they don't want to include it.

If Java becomes free, I can imagine a lot of thing. Why not bindings with GTK for example They already exist. Check Java-GNOME [sourceforge.net] . It includes GTK and GNOME bindings for Java.
There are also bindings for Qt and KDE. [kde.org]
You can also use GTK via the SWT toolkit [eclipse.org] .
Java is NOT a proprietary language (despite some ignorant people who say so), you can find many open source libraries for it, and there is at least a high quality free (as in speech) implementation of it.

Free Java? (1)

oO Peeping Tom Oo (750505) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030472)

Well, I DO care for a hot complimentary drink from time to time....

Closed for your own protection (4, Insightful)

Curtman (556920) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030315)

This sounds a lot like pkware's strategy with DCL [pkware.com] . They actually tried to tell me I should use it because its patented. I told them it's surprising that we'd even consider using it in spite of it being patented.

Re:Closed for your own protection (1)

blackcoot (124938) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030463)

the more obvious question is: why pay for dcl when there's libz and libbz2 available open /and/ free?

Re:Closed for your own protection (1)

gnu-generation-one (717590) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030584)

"This sounds a lot like pkware's strategy with DCL. They actually tried to tell me I should use it because its patented. I told them it's surprising that we'd even consider using it in spite of it being patented."

Thanks for saying it.

If I see another "proprietry" in a press-release or product catalog, I'm gonna puke...

Re:Closed for your own protection (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030616)

Pantents used to be a marketing gimic. "try pats patented medison"(made with mercury and arsenic). Now patents have a bit of a negative contation, and it is seen as a piece of junk if they have to advertize a patent.

So... (-1, Troll)

rokzy (687636) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030316)

Sun is dying but Java is good. Cut the umbilical cord so the baby lives when the mother dies. What kind of bitch would take her son down with her!?

Re:So... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030335)

What kind of bitch would take her son down with her

Your mom apparently didn't hesitate. Too bad you survived...

Re:So... (0, Troll)

Moofie (22272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030345)

What kind of idiot would confuse a freakin' computer program with a child?

Re:So... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030372)

duh you freaking retard it's a language not a program. jeez, get a fucking clue or stop wasting oxygen, prick.

Re:So... (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030408)

Computer languages are defined by...what? Compilers. And compilers are...what?

I'll let you figure out the rest.

Re:So... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030594)

was it worth it, bitch?

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030409)

What kind of idiot would confuse a freakin' computer program with a child?

A computer program is much like a child : when you release the first versions, it keeps on crapping out and you're constantly after it to fix it, then it slowly grows and grows and costs more and more money to maintain, then it's big enough that it becomes an ugly unmanageable thing that keeps on making unreasonable demands on the system, then when it finally matures, it leaves the development team and goes in maintenance mode until it's end-of-lifed.

Re:So... (1)

mukund (163654) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030422)

Just why is the parent post marked flamebait? It makes perfect sense.

Re:So... (1)

njcoder (657816) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030550)

It's marked flaimbait because "Sun is setting" is just wishful thinking by the linux community. Sun has a lot of things going for it.

They've hit hard times for a lot of different reasons. Companies come back. Novell kinda did, Apple did.

Sun has a lot of stuff going for it and they are finally starting to listen to their customers more. Better integration with MS, no more bickering with MS, more support of Linux and open source, more options in commodity hardware, bringing back solaris x86.

Another anology could be that Java could be what's keeping them from hemoraging even more. Release Java, and Sun could be in worse shape. It's a difficult decision they have to make but they're the ones that have to make it. They've been good to the Java developer community and whether they GPL java or not, they're track record indicates that they will take the needs of the developer community into account.

What's important is (4, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030318)

that they open-source it before Sun tanks, or before some nasty company takes control of it. In short, they ought to do like Netscape did, and I'm sure even McNealy would rather do that than any other alternative...

Re:What's important is; Shareholder lawsuit (3, Insightful)

David Hume (200499) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030424)


What's important is that they open-source it before Sun tanks, or before some nasty company takes control of it. In short, they ought to do like Netscape did, and I'm sure even McNealy would rather do that than any other alternative...


Well, at least as long as they don't admit to doing so publicly. :) Can you say, "Shareholder lawsuit for waste of, or giving away, corporate assets?" I knew you could. :)

Yes, your Honor, we decided to essentially give away our valuable intellectual property for no consideration (i.e., nothing in return) before some "nasty company" could either: (a) buy the property; or (b) pay more for Sun's stock based on Sun's owndership of the property. NO, we wouldn't want that! Not if it meant Microsoft might get the property. Similarly, we couldn't possibly take the risk that MS would buy the asset out of bankruptcy, thereby enriching our creditors and/or stockholders.

doesn't matter who SHOULD have custody (1)

igotmybfg (525391) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030321)

in the real world all that matters is who DOES have custody, which is essentially guaranteed to be the boss...

Gosling??? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030330)

Worth noting that Gosling is the one who produced the first non-free version of emacs, which was a direct motivation for RMS to produce the GPL!

He also produced NeWS which was superior to X in almost every way... except... it wasn't open either!

I've always thought that Java will become open source over Gosling's cold dead body, but maybe he'll prove me wrong.

Per King Solomon (4, Funny)

big tex (15917) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030332)

McNealy gets Ja, and Gosling gets Va.

Now that's a fork.

Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030342)

At my workplace we've all been gosling about whether Java should be opened or not. We must have gosled at least one hour about it, it's pretty hard to decide! Anyway I'm sick of Java, and I'd rather gosle about something else now. What does gosling mean anyway.

Java is a shitty language (0, Troll)

bsdpanix (170144) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030353)

I don't use Java now and I wouldn't use it if it were Open Sourced.

No pointers? What, do you really think were that stupid?

Sun can keep it and take it to their grave, which is imminent

Sun's plan (0)

dioscaido (541037) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030355)

1) Open Source Java
2) ???
3) Profit

Already been done... (1)

MisterLawyer (770687) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030420)

The open source gnomes tried that one, but it didn't work.

how about downloading it w/o clickthru? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030379)

It would be great if java was Free software as RMS et al point out. But at this point, what I would like is just the ability to download sun's java without the goddamn clickthrough. I'd like to just "emerge sun-jdk" or whatever on my Gentoo box and get the damn thing, without having to navigate all the different mutations and bundles.

That's one cool thing about Free software. You can just get the URL and download it, no BS.

So Sun, even if you don't open-source it, can you please just get rid of the clickthrough junk??? Nobody reads it anyway.

How can a language be open-source? (3, Insightful)

creidieki (110659) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030380)

I'm very confused by both the article from Gosling and the discussion here.

"Java" is a programming language, right? Programming langagues doesn't have source code, they have specifications. Are they talking about open-sourcing a specific compiler for Java? Or are they talking about releasing or loosening license restrictions on the specifications for the language?

Re:How can a language be open-source? (2, Informative)

vegetasaiyajin (701824) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030531)

"Java" is a programming language, right? Programming langagues doesn't have source code, they have specifications. Are they talking about open-sourcing a specific compiler for Java? Or are they talking about releasing or loosening license restrictions on the specifications for the language?

They are talking about open-sourcing Sun's compiler and runtime. The Java language specification is very open. It literally says:
"Sun Microsystems, Inc. (SUN) hereby grants you a fully-paid, nonexclusive, nontransferable, perpetual, worldwide limited license (without the right to sublicense) under SUN's intellectual property rights that are essential to practice this specification. This license allows and is limited to the creation and distribution of clean room implementations of this specification...".

Re:How can a language be open-source? (2, Informative)

mindriot (96208) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030544)

Don't forget that there's a whole run-time library associated with Java. You have the language specifications, of course, but there's also all the classes that are coming with the JRE already. These are available in source code within the Java SDK, but under a more restrictive license. And then there's also, of course, the compiler itself, the virtual machine, and tools like javadoc. OK, there's kaffe [kaffe.org] , for instance, but they're not completely there yet (read their What is Kaffe not? section on the title page). There's also GNU classpath [gnu.org] to replace Java's core class libraries, but they're not quite there yet either [kaffe.org] .

Possible solution: exclude Microsoft et. al. (2, Interesting)

MisterLawyer (770687) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030383)

From the article:
"Developers value Java's cross platform interoperability and reliability. They're afraid that if Java is open-sourced then someone will try to fragment the community by creating incompatible versions of Java and ignore the community process, just like Microsoft did. Microsoft did a lot of damage to the community and many developers strongly do not want that to happen again."

Microsoft is one of a handful of entities in a strong enough position to be able to do a lot of damage to the community.

In the present situation, that damage could be avoided by writing a License that, for example, specifically excludes 'any employee of Microsoft'.

Re:Possible solution: exclude Microsoft et. al. (1)

revolvement (742502) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030406)

In the present situation, that damage could be avoided by writing a License that, for example, specifically excludes 'any employee of Microsoft'.

Hey, and then also they(Microsoft) could write a compiler with a licence that reads "For none of you poopyheads at Sun. Nyah nyah, you have to use GCC!"

Re:Possible solution: exclude Microsoft et. al. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030435)

But Sun's not going to be around, so it won't matter. :D

Re:Possible solution: exclude Microsoft et. al. (1)

revolvement (742502) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030443)

But Sun's not going to be around, so it won't matter. :D

Sun's not going to be around? Is there still time to sell my solar panels then?

Re:Possible solution: exclude Microsoft et. al. (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030467)

At which point you would have RMS crying that its not compatible with the GPL, and all the little people that hang on his every word would declare Java evil and would go on a crusade to try and convince everyone not to program in Java.

In short the only thing that would change is Sun no longer has control of Java, so what was the point.

Re:Possible solution: exclude Microsoft et. al. (2, Informative)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030617)

The open source definition [opensource.org] includes "No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups" specifically to head off such misguided ideas.

Besides, Microsoft doesn't need Sun's source code to fork Java. They have enough people to write a VM from scratch. Or they could use Kaffe.

On the topic of BSD-derived projects... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030388)

Is it just me, or is ezine.daemonnews.org finally deader than a doornail? I mean, what with not having an issue out in two months and all....

Why IBM Wants Open Sourced Java (5, Insightful)

njcoder (657816) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030397)

Basically, they want to be able to have more control of it and Sun, or anyone else to have less.

The reason for this is that IBM is the big money maker in the Java/J2EE Space. It is fighting strong competition from BEA and now JBoss, maybe soon to be Jonas and Geronimo.

I think it's a credit to Sun that while they help build and manage the standards, they are not the big players providing the solutions that are being sold in that space.

They would like to sell more of their Java middleware components and are working towards it but they are not dependant on that to make (lose) money. The fact that they haven't made changes to the specification to favor their products over any one else's products speaks volumes. They have said they were going to open the standards so that others may benefit and everyone will compete on other merits while offering a lot of common features. The market proves they've kept their word.

I don't see IBM doing the same. Look at Mark Fluery's comments on how IBM forked a version of Axis back into a proprietary product. They did the same with other products they worked on. JetSpeed I believe is one.

They get the open source developers to help build the application, help people get buy in, then they take the codebase in house and work on it from there making improvements and selling it for mucho dinero.

That's not a bad thing, and is allowed under the license. The OS community has a good base to start building based on the initial investment by IBM. It's just something that isn't acknowledged by others.

With the JCP, the new arrangements with the Apache Group, Java keeps getting more and more open (with a little 'o').

Sun IS doing good things with Java and for the java developer community. They are making it easier for people to contribute back to java. Sun has a lot of things it needs to do in other areas but they really are doing a good job with Java. If it ain't broke why fix it?

One of the reasons's Java/J2EE is doing so well is because of the competition in the marketplace. Different vendors bring different things to market. Some wind up becoming standards, some get coppied from others. It works out to the advantage of the user community who relies on these different technologies to do their jobs.

Whether IBM will do this, we really don't know. They have more of an incentive to do this as JBoss is cutting into some of their installations. We do know that Sun isn't.

Re:Why IBM Wants Open Sourced Java (5, Insightful)

psycho_tinman (313601) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030628)

Ok, I'll bite. Sun is in the application server market, they have their own product [sun.com] . Is it one of the big names? No, it's not. Would they like that to change? I am certain they would. Just that it doesn't seem to be working too well at the moment. If you think for a moment that Sun isn't interested in controlling the direction of Java, google a bit for the rants people have written on how "heavy handed" and "autocratic" (I quote those terms because I don't completely agree) they can be in the JCP process.

IBM already has the source, they have an implementation of the JDK, there is nothing to stop them from making competing products. The fact of the matter is that for IBM or anyone else, once you open source Java, they can fold it back into your own product, but nothing can prevent someone else from doing the same. We, as consumers, have the freedom to decide which implementation we wish to use. Do you honestly think that BEA and other application server makers won't scream blue murder ?

I can't make a decision either way. On one hand, yes, there would be benefits to open sourcing Java. The community *could* get more involved in contributing extensions and patches to how Java works. The developer community surrounding Java being such, I think the pace of development would proceed at a much higher pace than Sun does. Another worrying factor is that if Sun has to fight for it's survival, it needs to make some tough decisions down the road. How many engineers will be pulled off a project which doesn't (strictly speaking) provide Sun with any revenue ? If Java development is left solely in the hands of a company who's survival is uncertain, then Java development will suffer as a result and I don't like seeing that happen.

On the other hand, Sun hasn't done badly in it's role as "steward" of the directions in which Java goes.. They've (their marketing has) driven the Java brand relentlessly forward and I think the sheer size of the developer community is a good thing. I can't think of any reason why it would be advantageous for them to spend 8+ years promoting and developing the product, only to "give" it away to the masses. Even the Linux kernel has Linus at the helm. Who else can be trusted to take the helm of such a commercially valuable piece of intellectual property ? Who would resist the temptation to subvert it to their own ends?

One final note to everyone who wants Java open sourced just so their favourite distro can start packaging it.. please, think a bit. Not all useful software is open sourced now, nor will it be in the foreseeable future. If it's your only reason for Sun to cast out a decade or more of research and development, it's not enough.

The boss (4, Insightful)

Omega1045 (584264) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030400)

So, who should have custody of the child, the father...or the boss?

I think making Java open source would be very cool. But I am sure all of the developer who invented Java were paid well for their time, and Sun should make the decision.

"If Done Carefully" (3, Insightful)

njcoder (657816) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030470)

He says "if done carefully". Open sourcing Java isn't just a simple matter of replacing the license.txt file. There is a lot at stake and you don't want this to be the thing that kills Java.

Of course if it doess all the OS zealots will say "see they did it too late".

I don't see Gosling's comments as as strong a call to open source java as other's do.

He's saying there could be a good thing.

The rest of Sun thing it could be a good thing too that's why they were looking into it. It's neither an easy decision to make nor an easy one to implement.

by definition Gosling is not the father of Java (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030474)

He was (and still is) a Sun employee and developed Java during that time, by today standards any product developed by an employee is property of the company, so even McNealy is the father, McNealy is just the obnoxious uncle that says wierd things when is drunk.

Gosling was just a surrogate father.

BTW what happened to the other people around OAK project?, did sun killed all of them and throwed them into a ditch?.

GPL Java? Who cares... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030517)

As has been pointed out, it's a programming language with an environment. Open sourcing it is irrelevant. What it really needs is ISO Standardisation - so that the test suite is not a moving target as defined by a single vendor.

For goodness sake, MS did that for C# and environment that it requires. Anyone can implement it and MS get no say and no kickback.
Please may Sun do the same for Java.

Fuck Java (-1, Flamebait)

fire-eyes (522894) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030526)

Java is a piece of shit, fuck it.

Weekly Schedule (4, Funny)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030536)

Monday: Open source Java
Tuesday: Forked
Thursday: Enormous whirling clusterfuck

Saturday: Start on new language

what if things work out fine? (1)

MozillaFireBird (701394) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030538)

Let's say RMS and ESR pushed Sun to open up Java. What are we gonna call it? Open-Java or Free-Java? Mind you, free as in freedom.
If your program is free software, it is basically ethical
Classic Stallman, talking about ethics again. So guys, which one do you prefer? Open? Free?

Re:what if things work out fine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030636)

RMS will call it GNU/Java, I guess

dont know if its a good idea. (3, Insightful)

xmorg (718633) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030559)

I dont know if its a good idea to open source Java. Imagine every website you come to demanding that you install their "version" of the java plugin. Which then of course, in addition to adding addware to your system, will generally screw up your java environment. MS VM anyone?

Response to Mono? (5, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030582)

I think -- and I'm really serious -- Sun should probably be looking at open sourcing Java as a response to Mono, if for no other reason.

Miguel and Ximian took a look at Java and decided it didn't suit their needs, as far as developing rich desktop applications for Linux (e.g. Evolution). So rather than use Java, they decided it was actually better to implement the .Net environment themselves, from scratch. To me, that sounds like a fairly heavy indictment, and one that Sun should be looking into, if they're smart.

Now you've got Mono humming right along, with the developers busy implementing two distinct stacks: One that's a Microsoft compatibility layer, for using all the stuff you might have written with Visual Studio, and another that's more Linux-oriented, with GNOME and GTK bindings, Linux printing architecture support, and so on -- the kind of things that people hope would come of an open-sourced Java.

If Sun doesn't care about this, they've got more problems than I realized.

"Java" is a standard, not a product. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9030586)

Anyone is free to make their own implementation of a Java framework. There's an (outdated) list here [dwheeler.com] of alternative implementations (and possibly more here [geocities.com] as well).

For example, SableVM [sourceforge.net] and Joeq [sourceforge.net] are the first two that I found on Sourceforge (and there are several more).

So it's not really a question of "open sourcing Java" - because there are already open source implementations of Java (and a few commercial ones as well). It would be a question of Sun opening up their reference implementation of Java.

So the main advantage of opening up their reference implementation would be to focus the software community's efforts more on one Java implementation and to stop the fragmentation. People would still be free to develop their own Java compatible VM's & compilers, but it would provide less of an incentive for them to do that if there's one central, relatively community-oriented distribution.

McNeely married Java, but wants some XAML lovin. (1)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030634)

The man repeats the word "Avalon" in his sleep. His old faithful is gettin fat and doesnt put out as much, and Bill Gates introduced him to a hot young thing that made him want to abandon his family and take up with the slut across town with all the new moves.

last time I checked, java was already open source (0, Informative)

aggieben (620937) | more than 10 years ago | (#9030642)

http://www.blackdown.org [blackdown.org]
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