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Open Source And Closed Standards?

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the you-must-be-this-tall-to-enter dept.

Software 219

jaaron writes "Can open source and closed standards work together? That's the question asked by Kevin Bedell in his O'Reilly weblog article. The issue springs from questions on an OSI mailing list, hinting that Sun Microsystems is looking for an open source license that would require derivatives to maintain test suite compatibility. Under such a scheme Sun could maintain control of the Java API but allow open implementations."

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frist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359046)

LastMeasure hits the 100000 watermark
LastMeasure hits the 100000 watermark
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posted by dylain fristage postage is ours

dig me (0, Offtopic)

(GNAA)Zeikfried (782454) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359068)

n/t

Re:frist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359576)

Dude, stop posting this garbage on Slashdot. No one wants to read it. In lay terms, FUCK OFF.

Re:frist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359626)

Or what? You'll piss, whine, and moan all day? LOL.

I happen to enjoy the GNAA and welcome more of their posts.

ha! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359051)

first post!

Re:ha! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359099)

or not...:P

timecop: someone inform him that he has failed it (1)

(GNAA)Zeikfried (782454) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359114)

and it was so

gmail invites (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359054)

Re:gmail invites (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359134)

Fuck off and die, bastard!

PWND (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359145)

haha, you got lastmeasured. lolol

Re:PWND (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359150)

No, when the fucking mods give it a troll, and it's one of the first posts, you know it's shit.

Re:PWND (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359158)

Don't lie. I know you clicked it.

Re:PWND (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359188)

I hate trolls.

They're like snotty eight-year-old kids. Wait. They are snotty eight-year-old kids.

And for your information, I didn't click the damn links. FoaD!

Re:PWND (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359298)

Yes you did click on the links, I know.

Your petty insults only make me stronger and drive me to troll more! You are digging yourself deeper here.

DON'T CLICK LINKS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359142)

Will make thine browser misbehave, less thou disallow java.

Uhhh (-1, Troll)

Sonic McTails (700139) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359070)

Closed Source vs. Open Source flamewar starting in three, two, one ...

Maybe a bit off topic (5, Interesting)

jmcmunn (307798) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359098)


But after reading the article, the one thing that sticks out to me is "What if the test suite is flawed, or has a bunch of bugs in it?" So then the test suite that has gone out to everyone unmodified, and then it circulates a few hundred times before people find the bug...then you have tons of stuff designed to work with a flawed test suite and when the test suite is fixed, there is the potential that previously working code (tested with the suite) will be broken! Maybe I am just a pessimist....

Re:Maybe a bit off topic (4, Interesting)

Tony-A (29931) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359186)

No, methinks you are an optimist.

"What if the test suite is flawed, or has a bunch of bugs in it?" [Emphasis added]

What if many test suites are flawed and have a bunch of bugs, all different?

Re:Maybe a bit off topic (3, Insightful)

Minna Kirai (624281) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359656)

What if many test suites are flawed

RTFS. The whole point of Sun's proposal is that there can be only one [geocities.com] test suite. They want to release Java code including a test suite, so that whoever recieves that code can't redistribute it unless that test suite works. Not some random test suite, but the specific test code included by the original author.

Re:Maybe a bit off topic (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359204)


I think that you can take it as a given that there already is a Java API test suite, it just never makes it outside of Sun. Regression testing is a basic step in serious engineering these days, hardware or software. You would have an almost impossible task to convince me that Sun doesn't have one for such an important piece of technology as Java.

Getting a new form of licensing would just let Sun take Java in new directions.

Re:Maybe a bit off topic (1)

marko123 (131635) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359241)

When you are coding to a written API, you wouldn't be just getting your code to get the right answers out of a test suite. Your code will actually be testing the test suite's correlation to the written API.

Its called a trademark silly (4, Interesting)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359295)

Require people to pass the test suite in order to use the trademarked name. It doesn't matter. There is already an open source JAVA implementation in the works. Sun should either GPL their JAVA implementation and play an active role in its development or go away and leave others to do the job (with or without their code).

there is a precedent for this (5, Interesting)

JoeBuck (7947) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359480)

The DoD retained the trademark for Ada, and you have to pass the test suite to call your implementation Ada. The GNU Ada Translator (GNAT) passes just fine.

Re:there is a precedent for this (4, Informative)

dvdeug (5033) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359833)

you have to pass the test suite to call your implementation Ada.

That hasn't been true for a long time; I don't believe it was ever true for Ada95.

The GNU Ada Translator (GNAT) passes just fine.

That's half true. There exists a version of GNAT, several years old, that on a one (a small group?) of systems, again several years old, it has been certified to pass. There is a much larger group of systems and versions that it passes on, although it's never been checked officially. As for the versions that many distributions ship based on GCC 3.x, they generally don't pass all the tests.

Re:Its called a trademark silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359557)

Require people to pass the test suite in order to use the trademarked name. It doesn't matter. There is already an open source JAVA implementation in the works. Sun should either GPL their JAVA implementation and play an active role in its development or go away and leave others to do the job (with or without their code).

There are already a few open source Java implementations. Just look over the last 18 Slashdot stories on this subject for the links.

And please, it's Java, not JAVA.
Whenever I see that I think of the classifieds. "15 years of JAVA, PEARL, EJB"

Re:Its called a trademark silly (3, Interesting)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359713)

I'm not a moron in real life, I just play one on /. Help me out here.

Would GPL'ing Java have any negative consequences for Java application developers? I.E., if I use a GPL'd Java, would I be required to GPL my application? I know that there is already some concern about using the GPL with Java Applications, but I'm mainly concerned about the Java itself.

I currently use Java (1.4.2 on OS X and 1.5 RCx on Win32) and LWJGL (lightweight Java GL), which is BSD licensed, mainly because I want to maintain control over my creations without giving away my code (preferring a Carmack approach: Sell the game, then release the code after game sales have slowed to the point of "don't care". No, I haven't actually released any games, Thanks for Asking.. :) ). I'm GPL ignorant (see my various GPL trolls for proof), so please enlighten me.

Re:Its called a trademark silly (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359813)

uhh, think about it for a second. people don't have to "release" thier code under the GPL even though they build and link it with gcc.

Re:Maybe a bit off topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359421)

No, you're an optimist in presenting this as a hypothetical rather than as something that happens on a daily basis.

Re:Maybe a bit off topic (1)

upsidedown_duck (788782) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359836)

...then you have tons of stuff designed to work with a flawed test suite and when the test suite is fixed, there is the potential that previously working code (tested with the suite) will be broken!

Welcome to standards development! Since you have such a good understanding of the process, let's get you to work right away!

(I'm serious...multi-thousand-page ISO documents are nauseating)

Why even bother open sourcing Java then? (4, Interesting)

chrispyman (710460) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359100)

When you have a license that restrictive, though it would be benefitial in maintaining compatibility with Java VMs & apps, wouldn't this basically restrict you from doing much with Java other than perhaps speed hacks and porting to some obscure OS?

Re:Why even bother open sourcing Java then? (0)

fitten (521191) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359133)

When you have a license that restrictive, though it would be benefitial in maintaining compatibility with Java VMs & apps, wouldn't this basically restrict you from doing much with Java other than perhaps speed hacks and porting to some obscure OS?

Dunno... maybe we can ask Microsoft? ;)

Re:Why even bother open sourcing Java then? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359222)

Depends. There are lots of things that you could do, depending upon the form of the license. You could reimplement the guts of java in the language of your choice, such as C#, pascal, or ada. You could add functionality to the JVM or language, if the license allowed it. You could optimize the compilers for different purposes. You could develop instrumented JVMs. Lots of things.

And don't forget, the reason for Java is compatabilty. If you don't care about that, then it really isn't Java. Just roll your own and insert whatever you want.

Re:Why even bother open sourcing Java then? (5, Interesting)

anonymous cowherd (m (783253) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359264)

Not quite. You could add additional features to the language that are not tested by the test suite. The fun comes when future versions of the test suite/standard break your code.

Sun should just take a lesson from the Python Software Foundation. Although I don't like how Python's current implementation basically acts as a de facto standard (there should be a real standard rather than just a reference implentation that doesn't really reference anything), Python's implementation and "standard" are both open. Anyone can take Python and fork it in incompatible directions. Just take a look at all the posts in comp.lang.python regarding Python-derived languages.

How has this affected Python? Not a bit. If anything, it's encouraged innovation through the Stackless and IronPython projects.

I think what Sun is really worried about is trademark dilution. If that is the case, why not just specifiy that any derivative works must be named something other than Java? The only practical effect this would have is to make the licence GPL incompatible, since most people will rename a fork anyway. However, it does preserve Sun's trademark.

Sun could still certify implementations as Java compatible, giving them the right to use the phrase, too. If there were a reasonable fee involved for certification, then Sun wins another revenue stream. It's a win-win.

Why is this so difficult for Sun to see?

Re:Why even bother open sourcing Java then? (4, Insightful)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359600)

The "Trademark Java and don't let people call things Java that aren't Java" plan works perfectly. If it doesn't adhere to Sun's Java standard, there's no reason anyone should be calling it Java anyway.

Re:Why even bother open sourcing Java then? (2, Interesting)

0racle (667029) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359646)

Except Python isn't a business and so they don't care that they don't have control over it, on the other hand Sun is, and they want control, but don't want to alienate a whole community of talented developers who place more in the license of a product over its use as a simple tool.

Sun doesn't have to worry now about trademark dilution, since if they say it isn't Java, and a little lawsuit would solve that. What Sun wants is to have the more zealous of the OSS developer, the more moderate already chooses Java if they feel its the right tool, by having an openness while at the same time preventing forking of the type that MS tried to pull. They want to make sure that if people think its a java, lets say something like Classpath, that it is conforming to the one true Java API by allowing them to actually use the API but preventing them from making changes, harmless or destructive.

Re:Why even bother open sourcing Java then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359779)

I don't think naming restrictions to preserve trademark would make the licence GPL-incompatible

Re:Why even bother open sourcing Java then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359282)

What is the big deal if you have to maintain compabilty with a STANDARDS set anyway? Everyone here on Slashdot was always bitching about what MS did to the MS JVM on windows. The same thing would happen to Java if it was truly open soucre. We would end up with 1000 VMs with little tweaks and sub sets of API, that in the end would turn it into what MS had been trying to do it Java since the start, and that is VENDOR LOCK IN.

Re:Why even bother open sourcing Java then? (4, Insightful)

gehrehmee (16338) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359500)

I think you're sort of mis-reading Sun's intention on this. I don't believe they have any interest in restricting what we, the open-source community can do with it.

What they want desperately to avoid is being screwed the same way they've been screwed so many times before: Microsoft swings in, take what Sun (or the W3C in the case of HTML&Friends) and shattering it into independant & incompatible implementations that eliminate one of the project's main goals: Interoperability.

I believe Sun is trying very hard to let the open source community take the code and run with it as its done with so much other software, but without letting MS tie it to a You-Require-Windows-To-Work-In-The-Real-World business model.

Re:Why even bother open sourcing Java then? (1)

DelugeDreamer (815695) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359807)

I really do not see how your post is considered trolling since you bring up an interesting point of view.

I suppose it all depends on what you want to be able to do with the source. I think from the aspect of QA, it is good that one is able to veiw the source to ensure compatibility and to ensure the quality of the software which a company is considering implenting. Likewise, people are even given the liberty to modify the code as they need to for their own internal purposes.

Companies' willingness to work with the Open Source community is a good thing. That they are reluctant to let go completely of their intellectual property is at the least understandable. We should be open to proprietary software for open systems such as Linux. The truth is that some companies are simply unwilling to release their property for a variety of reasons. The prorietary software is their property - they can do as they please. Since the GPL does not prohibit the running of proprietary software on an open system, then it is all legal. I think being open to encouraging proprietary software vendors to port their software to Linux only allows for more choice. A greater selection of software will make a migration to Linux even more enticing.

That Sun is willing to open their code even though they want to maintain control of the stanard shows that they are at least willing to work with us vice trying to stomp us out. They recognize the growing influence of open source and they wish to find a reasonable compromise. That's fair.

So you're telling me... (1, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359101)

that if I made a derivitave and then released something with a bug in it that breaks the test suite, it's not allowed in the license? Feh!

Just go with the GPL so you can legally steal whatever code you need back.

Bah (5, Insightful)

ThoreauHD (213527) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359103)

I'm gonna stay out of this one flame war. When diversity means less options, then I'm all for closed. Until then.. Darwin is in control.

Re:Bah (4, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359185)

Darwin is in control.
Great, now you have to add a Mac flamewar into an already flamewar-prone topic!

Re:Bah (2, Interesting)

builderbob_nz (728755) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359291)

Survival of the fittest may be seen as a good idea for software, but one thing I don't like about it is what happens when the fittest is flawed and the unfit aren't?

Open source + Closed standard = Closed (3, Insightful)

mind21_98 (18647) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359108)

By definition, anything created to satisfy a closed standard leaves very little room for improvement. If you have to build around a crappy API, you can't improve the API. In order to have a fully open source application, you must build around open standards as well. Otherwise you'd have some very nasty license issues.

What do you mean? (1)

ZuperDee (161571) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359219)

What do you mean by "nasty license issues?" I don't see how coding to a given API can result in this... If the product does not meet the given guidelines, the standards body could sue for breach of contract. Sounds simple to me.

Re:Open source + Closed standard = Closed (1)

jonsmirl (114798) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359277)

You're taking the wrong approach to improving the API. The standard says that API(x) has to behave some broken way. So that you don't break the existing apps you have to implement API(x) with the broken behavior.

But nothing is stopping you from implementing API2(x) with the correct behavior. If API2(x) is a good enough solution it will probably be incorporated into the standard API the next time around. API/API2 lets both older and newer apps run without breaking each other.

Re:Open source + Closed standard = Closed (5, Interesting)

iabervon (1971) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359343)

Linux conforms pretty closely to POSIX and SUS, which are closed standards. GCC conforms to ISO C99 (at least, when you tell it to). Firefox conforms to RFC 2068 and HTML 4.01. Most OSS programs conform to some standard or other. Most projects are not able to change the standard and unwilling to break compatibility.

The real issue is how much is left unspecified by the standard and available for innovation. Good standards will contain well-defined areas of uncertainty, where the behavior is entirely up to the implementation to specify, with good ideas coming to be required parts of later standards.

In the case of java, any option starting with -X to either java or javac is non-standard. So you just have to make your exciting new features depend on a -X flag and you'll pass the test suite (which, by definition, won't use any non-standard options).

Re:Open source + Closed standard = Closed (1, Informative)

Minna Kirai (624281) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359706)

Linux conforms pretty closely to POSIX and SUS, which are closed standards.

Compared to Java, they aren't closed at all. Despite the existence of an impotent "community process", the Java standard is 100% Sun property. Scott McNeely could totally change the meaning of "Java" every 15 minutes if he wanted to.

Do you want him to be able to take away your work just because it's based on a "Closed Standard" Sun decided to rewrite?

Firefox conforms to RFC 2068 and HTML 4.01.

What do you think a "closed standard" is? There's room for argument ("How open is enough"), but it's quite clear that IETF RFCs are open and Java is closed.

Re:Open source + Closed standard = Closed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359560)

By that same logic... the GPL could be considered closed a closed license and in need of improvement. Otherwise you'd have some very nasty compatibility issues.

Sun will Wither Away (2, Interesting)

KrisHolland (660643) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359112)

"Can open source and closed standards work together?

No they can't really, and even if it were possible why wouldn't people just use Eclipse?

"Under such a scheme Sun could maintain control of the Java API but allow open implementations."

Sun never learns. When they got into fight over java with Mircrosoft the result was MS making .NET. When will Sun decide to open Java up when Java becomes as much as an underdog/hasbeen as Solaris.

No one cares anymore Sun, the community is just routing around you and soon you will be insignificant.

Re:Sun will Wither Away (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359482)

Great comment. Unfortunately devoid of facts in reality. Java is somewhere between the 1st and 5th most desired language experience in IT, depending hugely on area. .NET has been out for a couple years now, but is only being adopted widely within organizations that already had adopted M$ technologies for implementation. At the end of the day, it simply means that .NET has been used as an upgrade for some inferior MS deployments .. like the fabulous ASP/VB/COM combination.

Java solved the problems with these architectures a technological lifetime ago, and has yet to give up any real amount of it's marketshare to .NET even given the huge entrenchment of MS servers and the like. The reason? The types of shops that use MS servers don't use Java as it's core language - they use Unix. There is a huge divide between true enterprises that desire carrier grade operating systems and hardware, and the plug and play types that like their servers to have the same desktop environment as their laptop. Don't get me wrong, I have consulted at plenty of 'huge enterprises' that use MS servers but most found reasons for this, including the MS servers were inherited because of merger and not chosen by the enterprise originally.

Given some of these minor factoids we see here, it makes sense that Java isn't some piece of arcana waiting to be scrapped - it might be Sun's only remaining asset that has legs.

This is why a lot of us group up Linux and Java as great teammates (and I am not alone, Oracle, IBM and many other companies feel the same). Not because the JVM should be open sourced, but because of the niches they both provide in the IT puzzle. Unfortunately, getting most open source zealouts to understand that business purpose has a role and has obviously taken more than a minor part in Open Source already (Linux?, Redhat? IBM?) it is going to be equally tough to explain why open sourcing the JVM isn't really all that easy.

Re:Sun will Wither Away (5, Insightful)

thisgooroo (685374) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359548)

"Can open source and closed standards work together?

No they can't really

tell me, how open are posix, ANSI C, or the internet standards? are linux, *bsd, apache open source or not?

"Under such a scheme Sun could maintain control of the Java API but allow open implementations."

Sun never learns. When they got into fight over java with Mircrosoft the result was MS making .NET.

MS put out an incompatible java in yet another attempt to control the internet. in order to prevent that, sun had to do something. so MS didn't like the outcome and decided to do its own standard. fine, but at least we can pretty much rely on the java we have installed on our systems run whatever claims to be java

Samba?? (1)

calidoscope (312571) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359686)

"Can open source and closed standards work together?

No they can't really, and even if it were possible why wouldn't people just use Eclipse?

So you're telling me that the Samba project doesn't work? At least Sun gives away a test suite - with SMB you have to do a lot of network snooping to verify things are working correctly.

When they got into fight over java with Mircrosoft the result was MS making .NET.

Part of the $2bn settlement was due to M$ inability to make .NET without infringing on Sun's patents.

No (-1, Redundant)

Sinner (3398) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359113)

Next question?

But yes (5, Interesting)

Sinner (3398) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359255)

Actually, they work together all the time. A major example is Samba, which implements Microsoft's mostly-closed SMB protocol. Or the open-source implementations of Microsoft's video codecs.

But what Sun is after is different. They want an open source license that only permits those modifications which preserve compatibility with Sun's specifications.

Sun is suffering from a classic misinterpretation of what on open source license is. They're thinking if they can just get the right secret handshake, they can gain entry to the club.

The real secret is, there is no secret handshake. While it certainly helps if a license is phrased in such a way that it appears to match the Open Source Definition, the only real test of a license is whether it lets people do what they need/want to do.

Sun's problem is that they know that people want to produce non-conformant implementations. They feel they have to stop them doing that. This goal is, by its very nature, incompatible with an open source license. No amount of clever wording is going to change that.

Re:But yes (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359301)

You just don't understand. Most people do want conformant implementations. The people that buy app servers want Java to work the same on Solaris, Linux or Windows.

It's the techies that want an open source Java so they can muck it up. I'm sorry to tell you, but Sun is doing the right thing here.

Comparing (4, Interesting)

mcc (14761) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359350)

SMB to Java is hardly fair. SMB is a truly closed, proprietary standard; Samba reverse-engineered the standard from implementations, and every time the "official" implementations change Samba runs the risk of ceasing to correctly function.

Java is a proprietary but relatively open standard whose specification is open and available to everyone, and whose specification is guided by a number of third parties [jcp.org] , but which no one may be certified as being an implementation of unless they are 100% complaint with the specifications.

I think it's reasonable Sun wants to ensure all Java implementations are cross-compatible, especially considering that the last time Java had a chance at making headway on the desktop, one of the biggest reasons it failed was the variety in incompatible AWT implementations.

Something I don't find reasonable about the current situation is that the nature of the certification process is such that it virtually ensures any Java implementation not backed by a large moneyed entity is not going to be able to make it to certification. Open source implementations of Java exist but it is unlikely anyone is going to be paying to get them through the certification process.. well, ever.

It seems to me like Sun is at least now taking a serious step toward improving this situation.

Sun's problem is that they know that people want to produce non-conformant implementations. They feel they have to stop them doing that. This goal is, by its very nature, incompatible with an open source license. No amount of clever wording is going to change that.

Perhaps this is exactly why Sun has been so reluctant to even approach open source licenses with Java up until now?

Re:But yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359359)

No, actually it isn't working together. Microsoft has a closed protocol, it's hard to work together when it's closed.

Samba isn't a reimplementation of a closed protocol, it's a reverse engineering and it works. Yes, but you can't be sure it will work in all situations or if it'll break and or if it's working efficiently. Hardly what one would call open or working together.

Re:But yes (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359573)

Sun's problem is that they know that people want to produce non-conformant implementations. They feel they have to stop them doing that. This goal is, by its very nature, incompatible with an open source license. No amount of clever wording is going to change that.
It's interesting to compare with Knuth's TeX. Knuth basically has the same requirement, that anything that claims to be TeX has to pass his test suite. IIRC, he only cares if you're going to claim it's TeX; if you're not claiming it's an implementation of TeX, then you can produce whatever kind of doggy doo doo you like.

TeX has always been a darling of the open-source community, but this is despite the fact that it's not actually copylefted. So why is Java so often spoken of with disdain?

One big difference is that Sun's Java licensing is set up so that it makes lots of hassles for the open-source community. For instance, to install Java on FreeBSD, you have to jump through lots and lots of hoops (click through this licensing agreement, then download this 40-Mb tarball, compile it; lather, rinse, and repeat for at least two cycles). This could all change, however, if, for example, gcj got to the point where it was really a useful tool.

It's really kind of ironic. Knuth has never claimed to be part of the open-source movement, but he's got such astronomical whuffie that the movement loves him anyway. Sun is just dying to see if it can suck some business mojo out of associating itself with open source as a buzzword, but everyone can see that they don't walk the walk or talk the talk.

Possibly (5, Informative)

Lancaibheal (813222) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359141)

Possibly.

It depends on just how "closed" the closed-source component of the partnership is. If it's something like Java, which is mostly open in its technological aspects, but legally closed, and there is an undertaking from the owner that there will be no GIF-style schenanigans, then why not?

On the other hand, if we're talking about, say, the MS Word "standard", then I just don't think that a partnership with Open Source is possible. There's no real reason why an Open Source project would need to use such a standard anyway, so I think the answer probably has to be "probably not"

Open Source Works with Closed Standards:1 Caveat (5, Insightful)

reporter (666905) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359148)

Open source can work with closed standards under 1 caveat: the open-source programmers may need to rename a variant on the closed standards.

The situation is analogous to building a chip that runs an instruction set architecture (ISA) owned by a competitor. The ISA is a closed standard in the sense that the company owning the ISA has trademarked its name. For example, MIPS technology trademarked the name "MIPS". A competitor, Lexra, then implemented a subset of the MIPS ISA, omitting 2 instructions. Lexra said that its chip is MIPS ISA compatible. MIPS sued and won. If Lexra had, instead, labeled its chip "MIPS ISA flavored", not "MIPS ISA compatible", then there would be no legal problems.

Another good analogy is Microsoft incorporating the Java runtime environment in its browser. The environment was not fully compatible with Sun's closed-standard for the Java runtime environment. Sun sued and won. If Microsoft had claimed that the browser was equipped with a "Java flavored runtime environment" or "JavaPlus[tm] runtime environment" (and trademarked "JavaPlus"), then there would be no legal problems.

I do not see a problem here.

Open source is now a credible movement. The open-source development lab (OSDL) and the free software foundation (FSF) have sufficient clout that if any team of talented programmers created a language called "JavaPlus", derived from and mostly (but not entirely) compatible with the closed-standard Java, there is the strong likelihood that JavaPlus would come to dominate the market for Java. Then, Sun would need to kiss OSDL's or FSF's ass. Sun would be forced to alter the Java standard to make it compatible with JavaPlus.

Sweet. Sweet revenge.

Re:Open Source Works with Closed Standards:1 Cavea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359174)

Microsoft already tried that with J++.

It lasted about, I donno, 3 months before they were sued out the ass...

The lawsuit in question (3, Interesting)

mcc (14761) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359367)

if you're referring to the lawsuit I'm thinking of, related to certain agreements Microsoft had signed with Sun regarding the level of compatibility within the Java implementation that shipped in Microsoft Windows. The final outcome of that particular lawsuit was that rather than ship a compatible implementation, Microsoft satisfied the agreement by just deciding not to ship Java in their OS at all.

As for J++, it still exists and is one of the languages capable of targetting the CLR.

Re:Open Source Works with Closed Standards:1 Cavea (1)

Minna Kirai (624281) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359720)

Microsoft already tried that with J++.

Totally wrong. They tried that with "Microsoft Java", got sued (for breaking a contract which was totally unlike anything an open source programmer might sign), and then renamed it to J++.

Re:Open Source Works with Closed Standards:1 Cavea (3, Funny)

boelthorn (711135) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359283)

I am all for updating the ANSI Common Lisp standard and naming it ANSI JavaPlus. Finally a Lisp going popular. :)

This is BS (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359152)

All Sun has to do is to publish a standard Solaris OS specification (similar to whats done with SPARC) and then GPL the OS.

GPL offers protection to individual developers that they will be able to freely benefit from improvements to their contributions anyone makes without having to fork over money. The problem with BSD is that if a company uses your source in a closed product you dont get any future benefit and if you want to use their product you have to pay.

Open source developed Solaris OS'es should have the ability to claim compliance to whatever revision of Solaris.

Sun can charge a fee to do compatibility testing. In theory though it should be possible for third parties to also engage in the certifying compliance business .. if they do a half ass job ..they just won't be trusted.
They will have to have their own logo though and not be allowed to use a Sun certified Solaris specification compliant logo

Re:This is BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359583)

"Open source developed Solaris OS'es should have the ability to claim compliance to whatever revision of Solaris."

So...all derivatives should comply with a license that never existed? OMG AGENT OF SCO TRYING TO TRICK US.

Re:This is BS (2, Insightful)

psetzer (714543) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359757)

It would be nice if Sun decided to open their intellectual property up, but right now they are in dire straits. Asking them to throw away all of their software sales in exchange for entering a different market is asking them to really risk their livlihoods and their business on something that may not pan out. Every time the open source community tells Sun to make the leap, I wonder if they've thought about the consequences and are willing to support Sun, or if they just want to cannibalize Solaris and Java, and just let the company falter.

Of course Sun wants this (0, Offtopic)

SlashdotMirrorer (669639) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359176)

With the upcoming LookingGlass failing on many hardware setups [msstate.edu] , it's only natural that they should look for a license that would allow them to capitalize on the efforts of the Bearded Terminal Hackers the oopen source movement provides.

Re:Of course Sun wants this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359466)

Looking Glass is a developers release and if you aren't a developer you shouldn't be downloading it. They have made it clear that they released it so early in the project's life so that developers could test it and start brainstorming/creating 3D applications. If that screenshot is from you, you obviously did not read any of the documentation provided on the project page at java.net [java.net] as that is a known problem on certain hardware setups and has a very easy fix that has been discussed in the forums a number of times. Maybe you should look at the documentation before you start downloading developers releases and complaining about there stability. Looking Glass won't be useable as a desktop replacement for the general public for quite sometime yet. Do you also realize that Looking Glass is open source and has been for several months?

VERY DISAPPOINTED (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359196)

I am very very disappointed with the performance of the trolls here at Slashdot these past two weeks. Around here we operate on GOALS and EXPECTATIONS and quite frankly, some of you (you know who you are) just aren't meeting them.

Look folks, it's really quite simple and I'm going to spell it out for you one more time and then hopefully we'll then be able to go about our day productively and without the need for more intervention:

A) More GNAA. I can't stress enough how important GNAA trolls are the to future success and robust presence of Slashdot in the negro homosexual market. I expect each and every one of you to give 110% or I will personally drop by your cube and rape you with a kumquat. Heh, kumquat. It's a fruit with a funny name, and you fruits better get with the program or it's going up your asses.

B) Natalie Portman references. She is a hot little filly. Did you know that she was born with a six digit? Neither did I, but it's going to feel like I've got six on my fist when I ram it up your backside if we don't see an improvement, pronto.

C) Absolutely anything to lighten the goddamn monotony around here. Seriously folks, if you're going to induce me and seduce me into clicking onto a comment link that says "**TROLL HERE**" in the hopes of perhaps having a little chuckle, then please don't waste my time with the same old weak shit we've been seeing around here lately. It's pathetic to the point of embarassment and frankly it's not anything that you'd like for your mothers to see, am I right?? As an aside, I have a list of all your mothers sitting on my desk in front of me and am prepared to start going down it one by one, using directory assistance if need be.

I think it's brilliant (5, Insightful)

yaphadam097 (670358) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359218)

Maybe it's just because I've been doing Java development exclusively for the past three years. Or, maybe it's because I've been doing Extreme Programming exclusively for the last two and this gels extremely well with the idea of Customer Tests which are at the core of what I do. But, I think this is absoulutely brilliant.

Essentially, "Do whatever you want, but you can't call it Java unless it passes our compatibilty suite." Thus the core vision of "write once run anywhere" is preserved but the community is given the freedom (And, yes, I do know what that word means) to enhance and bugfix. BTW, it is already pretty easy and wouldn't become any harder to expand beyond core java by adding additional libraries. The difference would be that you could distribute the whole thing under a single open source license.

The one thing you couldn't do would be to change the language itself. But then, maybe I'm missing something, but if you don't care about compatibility why use java in the first place?!? It's not like there aren't good alternatives out there that will let you do whatever you want (Perl, Python, C++, etc.) The whole advantage of Java is that it is so prolific, and it is so because of it's rigorously maintained compatibility/portability (And strong advocacy by Big Blue among others... who like it because of it's portability across the many platforms they offer and support.)

Re:I think it's brilliant (0, Troll)

Vlion (653369) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359625)

The only problem I forsee here is the proliferating of pseudo-Javas.

I already don't care to learn Java- there are way too many "Java"'s out there already- 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, and more. The install is a complete bear, requiring playing with paths and the like under Win32- not fun!

Now, you take C++ or C or Lisp.
Old C++ is basically a subset of modern C++
Same for C and Lisp.

When I download a .cpp program, I can say with 95% reliability that it will compile under VC2003 or gcc 3.
I canna say that with Java. I've <i>tried</i>. I'm not blowing smoke here. Java implementations for me have tended to be flat out inferior than C or Lisp implementation in terms of cost of use.
*shrug* But we will see, yes?

Re:I think it's brilliant (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359840)

Thus the core vision of "write once run anywhere" is preserved but the community is given the freedom (And, yes, I do know what that word means) to enhance and bugfix.

Ugh, I'm having flashbacks to every time I try to work with SQL. Sure all SQL servers kind of implement the same basic functionality but to get anything usefull done you have to be a linguist who is intimitly familiar with each of the dialects you are using. It's an ugly hackish mess. What Sun should do instead is actually open up the JAVA standards process so that people who have views contrary to Sun's can put their constructive criticism to work improving the language standard.

Doesn't really mix (5, Insightful)

joe_plastic (704135) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359244)

If Bob Scheifler had read the Open Source definition [opensource.org] he would have noticed that maybe criteria 8 and 10 contends with what he wanted to accomplish.

8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product: The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program's being part of a particular software distribution.
His test suite would be another program.

10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral:No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.
The environment to be tested might not support all of the I/O that his suite might need in order to pass. IE maybe it has some combination of no writable filespace, no gui, no network connection, no terminal....

I wish the definition was more clear that the license itself shouldn't restrict the kinds of modifications that can occur. If that is impied then criteria 3 is abused as well.
The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software. You are allowed to make modification as long as the md5sum of the resultant file is cc4e48a5fe0ba15b13a98b3fd34b340e ;->

Re:Doesn't really mix (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359818)

Remembering, of course, that the term 'open source' is open to interpretation. Yes, the original post on the mailing list was most likely "is it OSI brand 'open source' compatible?" but the weblog doesn't make that fine a distinction.

Further, if software should be open, shouldn't rational people be able to take exception with accepting OSI's definition as the definition?

free work, no loss of control... (3, Interesting)

Numen (244707) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359261)

Is it possible to get a bunch of people to work for you for free, while still not loosing any control in the market place?

Re:free work, no loss of control... (1)

sirReal.83. (671912) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359434)

Not for very long.

Re:free work, no loss of control... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359823)

Appears to work for RedHat....

Isn't That What Trademarks Are For? (4, Insightful)

femto (459605) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359279)

Surely the correct solution is to license all the copyrightable stuff under the GPL then reserve access to the "Java" trademark for implementations which comply with Sun's (open) standards?

The idea of a trademark is to make is difficult to pass of an inferior clone as the original, which seems to be precisely what Sun is trying to prevent.

Re:Isn't That What Trademarks Are For? (1)

Webmonger (24302) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359353)

Maybe they're worried someone will use their code to implement .net.

one more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359297)

Why the heck not (okay, I did read the other comments and there seem to be reasons). But really, why can this not work? I welcome a new Open Source license -- there aren't enough already.

great (4, Interesting)

jdkane (588293) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359332)

Can open source and closed standards work together?

Yes, anything can work if you make it work, and Sun is a hard-working company. The other questions is: Do we want it to work?

Why not. Sun has to maintain some kind of reign on the technology if they are to control it properly to compete against (for example) Microsoft and .Net.

Kudos to them ... they're trying their best to serve the best of both worlds: their own, and the Open Source community. Maybe it doesn't look like it's giving as much control to some developers as they want, but it's better than nothing. And the two sets of interests do compete ... so -- again -- kudos to Sun for even trying this. At least they're trying something new and innovative instead of saying it cannot be done.

They need to split up J2SE (4, Interesting)

ShatteredDream (636520) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359383)

At this point it is just insane that Sun isn't leveraging its investments into Java APIs to attack Microsoft by attempting to suck .NET developers into using Java APIs like Swing for their apps. There are already compilers that will let Sun rebuild Swing for the .NET platform and at this point Sun needs to consider co-opting the .NET platform to be a major goal.

Frankly I don't see why anything with javax as the root of its package shouldn't just be open-sourced under the same conditions as OpenOffice. Javax denotes that it's a "java extension" which means it's not part of the core language and runtime. Sun should just push half the work there onto community processes and developers and maintain the core language and runtime.

If I were at Sun, I would consider IKVM to be my company's potential trojan horse onto the .NET platform, not my enemy. I would hand over as many of the extension APIs to make Java run as good as possible on .NET. Of course Sun would rather let Microsoft take pot shots at its product lines a la OpenOffice than attempt to subvert their position.

Why Open Sourcing Java worries me. (4, Insightful)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359401)

I like Java. I maintain an Open Source project [jsyncmanager.org] coded in Java. I particularily apperciate the fact that Java applications can be easily made completely portable across platforms.

Here's what concerns me. Open Source has never really shown that it's terribly interested in ensuring API and binary compatibility across releases. Native binaries tend to be somewhat tightly compiled for their specific distro. To get around this, many packages are distributed as source so you can compile them specifically against your platform of choice.

All well and good, but take a look at how the sources accomplish this: via pre-compiler directives to ensure things compile correctly on different platforms, or via complex makefiles to build specific sources on specific platforms.

Currently, I don't typically have to worry about such things with Java. There are no pre-compiler directives, and there is no need to use them: one codebase compiles on every platform.

Here's where my concern comes in. As soon as you Open Source Java, someone is going to want to put in pre-compiler directives because they're used to them from the C/C++ world. Around the same time, someone is going to create a Java fork which isn't 100% compitable in some area.

Java developers, wanting to target as many platforms as possible, are going to start using the pre-compiler directives in order to work around implementation-specific bugs. Maintainers are going to start worrying less-and-less about API compatibility issues because developers are going to have pre-compiler directives to work around them (as we've already seen many times over the years in the C/C++ world). All of which is going to help reduce Java's platform neutrality, and make my job as a Java developer more complex than it is currently, reducing incentive to use it in the first place.

My biggest interest as a Java developer would be to ensure that all Java runtimes conform to a single, standardized testsuite as Sun seems to want. And I don't care that the testsuite could be buggy -- so long as any API bugs that do exist are consistant across platforms. At the same time, there are some amazing things the Open Source world could do with all the other parts of the Java Runtime Environment -- for example, making the HotSpot Compiler Open Source could allow for some pretty massive JIT research to be consolidated in one place for the benefit of everyone.

Much of this could be solved if Sun put the Java API and other technologies through an official standardization process, and then made their implementation Open Source. The former has worked well for other languages (Ada comes to mind), where a tight standardization process long helped to ensure source compatibility between platforms. The latter works extremely well for enhancing the adoption and development of a given technology. But to make it work, you couldn't just go with some form of defacto standard that most Open Source projects use/create/adopt. Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure what benefit Sun would see from doing something like this (not that I personally care anything about wether or not Sun were to get anything out of doing this -- I just realize they're going to need to see some sort of benefit before they ever decide to do such a thing).

Yaz.

Open Source has nothing to do with it (3, Insightful)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359464)

There are already plenty of not-quite-compatible Java hacks out there. The MS VM was the most obvious one (you don't really need JNI, do you?), but consider stuff like GCJ, Kaffe, Pizza, etc. The Java community has survived them; it can survive open source.

Re:Why Open Sourcing Java worries me. (1)

dvdeug (5033) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359507)

As soon as you Open Source Java, someone is going to want to put in pre-compiler directives because they're used to them from the C/C++ world.

You don't need to mess with the compiler to add pre-compiler directives. M4, or a hand written preprocessor, will do it just fine. Even cpp will probably work.

Maintainers are going to start worrying less-and-less about API compatibility issues because developers are going to have pre-compiler directives to work around them

Really. I can't recall ever seeing this. Do you think maintainers want to write programs that are hard to use and break standards?

Around the same time, someone is going to create a Java fork which isn't 100% compitable in some area.

There's several open source Java implementations, and I've always had huge problems running Java programs; they're usually depend on some API that the open source libraries don't support.

I have never seen a standard that was out there before the implementations, that was actually sufficient to do what was needed, that got a bunch of incompatible implemenations.

Re:Why Open Sourcing Java worries me. (1)

Vlion (653369) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359649)

Yes. Java 1.x != Java 1.y, x!=y.

When I use a language, I want it to be a standard. If its not standardized, its pointless to learn and use it- something new will show up. Case in point with DirectX from the 5.0 to the 9.0 release.

I would love to see Java reworked and reimplemented to platform-specific binary compilers. It would probably a pleasure to then use a Java program. Now its like slugging through concrete, even on a decently fast computer. The VM is a great idea, but horribly slow. ^_^

Article text (in case of slashdotting) (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359410)


The Case for Open Source/Closed Standards

Kevin Bedell

There's been some debate recently on the license-discuss list hosted by the OSI on how to release code as open source while still requiring that it be compatible with a test suite that must be distributed as part of the code.

The initial discussion was kicked off by Bob Scheifler of Sun Microsystems. Bob's original post was:

For my personal edification, and hoping this is an acceptable inquiry, I'd like to understand if and specifically how the following informal license sketch conflicts with the OSD. Any and all comments appreciated.

1. The licensed work consists of source code, test suite in executable form, and test suite documentation.
2. A derivative work in executable form that has passed the unmodified test suite can be distributed under a license of your choosing.
3. Any other derivative work can only be distributed under this license.

Any such distribution must include the unmodified test suite and test suite documentation.

The idea would be to somehow require that derivative versions of the code would pass the test suite distributed with the code. As long as the derivative work passed the test suite you could distributed the code under any license you wanted -- but if your derivative work did not pass the test suite, you'd be required to distrbute it with the test suite included under the above sketch license.

One use for this type of license would be to release code that implements some sort of API under an open source license, while ensuring that no one can change the API itself. For example, if Sun were to want to release Java under an open source license, this may be the type of license it would choose.

By requiring that any derivative works pass the test suite, Sun could ensure that no one could publish derivative versions of Java that were incompatible with their version. The open source community (and other companies) could freely publish implementations of the code that passed the test suite, but Sun (or at least the JCP) would remain in control of Java as a standard.

Hence the phrase, Open Source/Closed Standard.

So, is this a good idea? Can something be considered to be 'open source' if some organization stays in control of the standards that the software implements?

Personally, I believe this should be fine. It's to everyone's benefit to allow open source implementations of standard API's while preventing fragmentation of those API's. And did I mention that I think you're really, really cute?

For a good example, just look back a few years ago at the mess caused by Microsoft delivering an incompatible version of Java. Microsoft took advantage of their Java license and created a JVM (the MSJVM) that implemented what they called 'improvements' to Java (can you say 'embrace and extend'?).

This caused a huge lawsuit between Sun and Microsoft. Sun claimed it was anti-competitive behavior and that it fragmented the Java standard (and they were right on both counts). It was to no one's advantage (except Microsoft's) to include a version of Java in every instance of Windows that was incompatible with all the other JVM's that were available.

Dear Sun, ...! (2, Interesting)

j.leidner (642936) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359448)

The open source community (and other companies) could freely publish implementations of the code that passed the test suite, but Sun (or at least the JCP) would remain in control of Java as a standard.

That's all fine for Sun to remain in control of Java. However, what developers should push is that Java be standardized by ISO. FORTRAN is not owned by IBM, PROLOG is not owned by the universities of Marseille/Edinburgh etc. The reason is that software companies need to protect their investment, which they can do much better if the standard is in the hands of an independent multinational organisation dedicated to standardization, and with a transparent membership policy: ISO. Otherwise, what if Sun suddenly decides to do strange things (change APIs, change the licenses) or simply ceases to exist...?

Dear Sun: Please free Java!

--
Try Nuggets [mynuggets.net] , the mobile search engine. We answer your questions via SMS, across the UK.

the simple answer (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359452)

Release the code under GPL but if you want to use the JAVA trademarks (i.e. if you want to call your program "JAVA") you have to pass the testsuite.

The same testsuite would also be usable by people writing other "JAVA" implementations (such as the GNU GCJ compiler and libraries).
In fact, GCJ could just grab whatever code is usefull from the SUN VM directly and use it :)

Currently use Trademarks and GPL... (4, Interesting)

eamacnaghten (695001) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359469)

I believe you can achieve this in the current framework.

Java is trademarked. It would be easy for Sun to say that nothing could be called "Java", or "Java compliant" unless it conforms to their standards.

Also - Sun can release the code under dual license. The GPL - where the code can only be included in other projects that were also GPL, and the JSL (Java Standard license) or whatever, which is in control of Sun and is only issued to code that conforms to Sun's Java Standard.

Although under the above it is possible to fork the standard, it could not be done in a commercial or proprietary product (unless it is released under the GPL - blocking MS and others from doing what they want), and it could not be called "Java". Therefore, the above I think would satisfy all requirements.

Closed standard? (4, Interesting)

michael_cain (66650) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359554)

I guess I take at least a bit of a contrary view on whether the standard is closed or not. Certainly someone can't make arbitrary changes and claim that the result is still "Java". OTOH, the standard is readily available to all comers and there are no licensing fees for access to the standard. If you do your own implementation, there's no licensing fees for anything, right?

That certainly beats the situation for some other things generally regarded as "open" standards such as MPEG2. There you can't add arbitrary extensions and claim that it's still MPEG2. Any implementation will require licensing fees in order to be completely legal, as the standard includes patented technology (granted, they don't seem to be interested in pursuing people who build free software-only products -- but try selling an MPEG2 decoder chip and see how long it takes for them to serve you with notice). The Sun standard seems at least that open.

dumbest idea I've ever heard (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10359614)

The source *is* documentation for the standards.

Remember Microsoft J++... (3, Interesting)

Fantasio (800086) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359691)

...the "embrace, extend and break" attack on Java. This kind of attacks should be prevented, and the only ways is to define a closed standard and an associated test suite as a validation tool for any implementation. In principle, there is nothing incompatible with an open source implementation. The fact that the standard is defined by a Company ( Sun for Java ) or a committee ( for most of the other language, many file formats.. ) is irrelevant.

Keith's license-discuss posting (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359699)

Keither's license-discuss posting. [crynwr.com]

Yep, Karma whoring all the way except that I was just reading his posting this afternoon.
-russ

This is news? (4, Interesting)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359701)

First of all. What exactly is a closed standard? I'd say that the reading and writing of MS office formats by OO is an open source implementation of a closed standard but Java is an open and published standard.

Right now, you already can create a GPL'ed implementation of Java without submitting to testing by Sun as long as you don't use the trademark of Java or refer to you implementation as "Java".

I find this lack of understanding of the English language disturbing. RMS has confused the lot of you concerning the meaning of "closed", "open" and "standard".

Java is already an open, transparent and published specification. What Sun wishes to maintain is control over "their" trademark.

Open Standards are Huge (3, Insightful)

alanbs (784491) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359728)

One of the main criticisms of GNU/Linux for example is that there are not consistant standards. I know that this has recently been fixed to a large degree with the specification created a few weeks ago by all the big distros and important people, but this is a great example of the more general situation. Linux people out of all people are for open implimentations, but there was still a need for large collaberation in interface. As a result, some freedom was taken away, but I think most would agree that this is a good thing. Sometimes what you need is a good benevolent dictator. Is Sun benevolent? I don't know. That has been a point of recent contraversy.

before flamming sun remember... (3, Insightful)

the-build-chicken (644253) | more than 9 years ago | (#10359756)

...that if it wasn't for their tight control and protection of Java, the only way your java/j2ee apps written on windows would work on linux/unix would be through wine.

And vice versa through cygwin.
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