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Will Sun Open Source Java?

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the free-coffee dept.

700

capt turnpike writes "According to eWEEK.com, there's an internal debate going on at Sun whether to open-source Java. (Insert typical response: "It's about time!") Company spokespersons have no official comment, as might be expected, but perhaps we could hear confirmation or denial as early as May 16, at the JavaOne conference. One commentator said, "Sun should endorse PHP and go one step forward and make sure the 'P' languages run great on the JVM [Java virtual machine] by open-sourcing Java." Would this move Java up the desirability scale in your eyes? Could this be a way to help improve what's lacking in Java?"

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700 comments

If they do, it will all depend upon the license. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242662)

"Open Source" covers a LOT of licenses.

What changes and how would depend upon which license was chosen.

Re:If they do, it will all depend upon the license (5, Informative)

SoloFlyer2 (872483) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242716)

I currently avoid Java like the plauge, my reasons are the same reasons that java isnt included in debian... http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/debian-java-faq/ ch5.html#s-license-concerns [debian.org] if they address those license concers i would be much happier...

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Re:If they do, it will all depend upon the license (3, Insightful)

BrainInAJar (584756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242824)

"Open Source" + "Sun Microsystems" almost certainly = "CDDL [sun.com] "

This would help (1, Insightful)

k8to (9046) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242663)

There are two major reasons I do not run java programs if I can help it in any capacity.

1. Restrictive licenses make it more difficult to reasonably deploy than any competing technology in a linux environment.

2. JVM is fat fat fat, it uses way more RAM than is reasonable.

Other than these two issues, it would be reasonable to run java software on linux, even if I don't love the language, environment in some ways.

Re:This would help (1, Informative)

aliquis (678370) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242707)

1) Yeah, it's really so hard to download Java, I mean, where do I start? http://www.microsoft.com/java [microsoft.com] maybe? oh fuck, it worked. http://www.java.com/ [java.com] maybe? Oh shit, it did. Hey, even http://java.sun.com/ [sun.com] worked, what is this?

2) Says who? It is a virtual machine afterall, and if you run more Java apps all of them won't use as much memory as the first one did. Also memory are cheap and who cares. It's a good and safe language and you probably ends up with less bugs.

It is very reasonable to run Java in Linux. It's harder/more painful/whatever in the BSDs but it works.

Re:This would help (2, Informative)

pebs (654334) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242803)

It is very reasonable to run Java in Linux. It's harder/more painful/whatever in the BSDs but it works.

FreeBSD now includes Sun Java [freebsd.org] as part of the distro, so it should be easy. Any Linux/BSD/etc distro can do this, it just requires spending the money to get it certified.

Re:This would help (5, Informative)

WebMink (258041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242928)

it just requires spending the money to get it certified.

Actually, FreeBSD were given a license at no cost by Sun, and any not-for-profit organisation with a need for access to a Sun-maintained compliance test kit can get it at no charge [sun.com] . So it's really just a matter of having the motivation to ask.

Re:This would help (1)

mycall (802802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242939)

So you are saying that the Sun JVM can be part of EVERY OS if the price is met? Doesn't Sun say NO to some distributions or companies?

Re:This would help (1)

WebMink (258041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242952)

Some communities decide not to apply for ideological reasons, but I'm not aware of any bona fides request being declined, no.

Re:This would help (2, Insightful)

rm999 (775449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242809)

"Also memory are cheap and who cares"

I do... I knew a few other people who may also ;)

For a good comparison of what c is capable of compared to java, compare the speed and memory footprint of azureus with utorrent. They have very similar functinality and interface, but utorrent uses about 1/5 the memory!

Re:This would help (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15242990)

You are failing to recognise the hidden costs here. Memory is cheap, paying a programmer is not.

Re:This would help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15243071)

They have very similar functinality and interface

Azureus is cross-platform, utorrent is not. Therefore there's a rather large functionality difference on Linux, *BSD, etc.

Java != fat (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 8 years ago | (#15243068)

Fatness is not inherently part of Java, Java (well limited) runs on a lot of very small devices. Witness http://lejos.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] -- Java running on a Lego Mindstorms, http://www.apms.com.au/tini/ [apms.com.au] -- running on an 8051-derrivative, http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-02-2000/jw-0 2-newsbriefs4.html [javaworld.com] -- running on a Scenix/Ubicom micro. AFAIK, none of these have anything to do with Sun.

JVM gets bloaty once you start adding all the GUI stuff, though J2ME (used in a lot of phones etc) is a lot smaller.

too little too late (2, Informative)

mycall (802802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242664)

Phalanger [php-compiler.net] is going to support Mono in their next release, which already support IKVM.

Re:too little too late (2, Interesting)

giliath (200249) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242950)

Caucho [caucho.com] has been working on PHP compilation called Quercus [caucho.com] inside their application server Resin. This is fairly new, but they already have some fairly complicated applications like Drupal and Mediawiki working in it.

Re:too little too late (2, Interesting)

mycall (802802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15243065)

Interesting find. Imagine running Quercus within Kaffe, which would be comparable to Phalanger within Mono as both would be using GNU Classpath for Java support. GNU Classpath's development is moving along fast [kaffe.org] . Now that Linux distributions are incorporating Mono and GCJ, the .NET vs Java camps are beginning to merge, which is fascinating.

Third-Party JVM (2, Insightful)

GetSource (807184) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242674)

I think this could be an excellent idea, if only to allow for third-party JVMs.
I, for one, have always seen Sun's JVM as bulky and slow on Windows PCs, and this is a large reason that I don't advocate its usage.

Re:Third-Party JVM (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242715)

Wasn't Java called slow because people used Microsofts JVM in the begining? I could accept that you said that Java used lots of memory when you start the first application, but would you really say it's slow? Anything to back that up with?

Re:Third-Party JVM (4, Informative)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242831)

Microsoft's JVM was actually one of the fastest in the day and had extentions for a native GUI similar to eclipse. (Of course those extentions relied on illegal JVM tricks.) It was certainly much better than Netscape Java or early releases of Sun Java.

The main reason Java has a terrible reputation (IMO) is/was it's tendancy to hang/lockup/freeze your browser when an applet loads, and general clunkyness with Swing.

Re:Third-Party JVM (0, Flamebait)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242836)

There are two main causes of java slowness. The most well-known is swing [sun.com] , the java graphics api which has one too many layers of indirection to be useful. The other main problem is Checked Exceptions [mindview.net] , which force a programmer to write "try{" before the body of every method and "} catch (Exception e) {}" after the body. Although relatively useless (if not harmful), these checked exceptions lead to a minimum of 122 extra CPU cycles per method invocation.

Luckily, you there are workarounds, such as using Eclipse [eclipse.org] instead of swing and a [python.org] different [squeak.org] language [ruby-lang.org] to avoid checked exceptions.

Re:Third-Party JVM (1)

TummyX (84871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15243059)

Uh, in its day, Microsoft' VM was the fastest. Microsoft was shipping JIT for Java whilst sun was still shipping their slow-ass interpreted runtime.

How about less heresay and more facts next time eh?

Re:Third-Party JVM (1)

Forbman (794277) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242766)

No, having 3rd-party langs run on the JVM could be nice, and would prove how tied to Java (the lang) it is. Oh, but that would make it slightly more feature-equivalent with .Net. Can't have that now...

Many languages run on the Java VM (1)

WebMink (258041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242884)

As it happens there are many projects [robert-tolksdorf.de] (200+) to make a variety of languages run on the various implementations of the Java VM. Even Sun supports Jython and Groovy [java.net] in addition to the Java language. Turns out this was another idea Microsoft copied.

Re:Third-Party JVM (2, Interesting)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242890)

Ever think part of that is Windows itself? Compare the same Benchmarks for JVMs on Windows and Solaris, you'll see Solaris and also Linux perform better than Windows.

Re:Third-Party JVM (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242926)

I think this could be an excellent idea, if only to allow for third-party JVMs.

Yeah, let's bring back Microsoft's VM... It did wonders for the reputation of Java.

No (5, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242690)

"Will Sun Open Source Java?"
No, haven't they already said that? Like hundreds of times? And does it really matter?

"Sun should endorse PHP and go one step forward and make sure the 'P' languages run great on the JVM [Java virtual machine] by open-sourcing Java."
"No", who would run PHP on Java anyway? Why? Why would open-sourcing it help?

"Would this move Java up the desirability scale in your eyes?"
No, Java is already desirable in my eyes.

"Could this be a way to help improve what's lacking in Java?"
No, what is lacking?

People who complain that Java is slow, should be open-sourced, and so on have never seemed to had a clue.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15242730)

People who say Java isn't slow and so on have never seemed to have a clue.

Re:No (5, Insightful)

Enonu (129798) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242740)

Hear Hear!

Will people stop trying to move Java towards a culture that won't keep Java up to the same standards Sun has? There's a reason why the top two server side platform these days are .NET and Java, and it's because a there's a quality standard and completeness not found elsewhere. The next time I look at another configured by altering it's code, hard tied to MySQL, non-tiered POS LAMP application, I'm going to cry.

The only place I ever see Java going is perhaps to be bought by another bigger company who has a similar path. My only hope is that it's IBM because their Java apps are of a higher quality than Sun's, and they've done such good work with the Eclipse platform.

Re:No (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242889)

I'm not going to defend LAMP garbage, but I think there's the reasonable criticism that Java does not scale down well to smaller webapps, and even the smallest thing seems to end up with a half-dozen third party frameworks.

That might be mainly programmer culture more than anything else, because you certainly can write PHP-style JSP code.

Re:No (5, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242751)

People who complain that Java is slow, should be open-sourced, and so on have never seemed to had a clue.

Irrespective of any ideological issues, there are a few reasons the current situation hurts Java a bit.

Foremost for quite a few readers of slashdot is that free Linux distributions can't include Java in their default install. That means Java-based apps are not going to be included either. And since users need to jump through quite a few hoops to get Java installed (don't say "it's easy" - for most people anything beyond using their package manager is too high a hurdle), you can't assume it will be available on desktops in general.

The second issue is that Java does not really play well with the desktop. I have set up my desktop to run fine using three languages - English, Swedish and Japanese - and made sure everything from localization to character input works smoothly. But Java does not cooperate; it has its own way of dealing with CJK characters and needs its own fonts and separate setup to work. I have fiddled a little with it, but have never gotten it to work properly (especially being able to run an app in Swedish while still being able to input Japanese). And since it uses its own input method, it does not share the local dictionary so typing becomes frustratingly different from any other application I use. And since the code is not open, distributions can't fix these interoperability issues.

Both of these issues serve as disincentives from using Java apps and from writing them in the first place.

Yes (1)

zx-15 (926808) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242819)

>No, haven't they already said that? Like hundreds of times? And does it really >matter?
Yes, they said that, if they hadn't said that, it wouldn't have matter.

>"No", who would run PHP on Java anyway? Why? Why would open-sourcing it help?
Yes, because you would be able to use middleware such as JBoss and Hibernate API directly from PHP, Perl and whatever else there is. For example, there is a nice implementation of Python under Java so you can use Swing/AWT api, that makes a big difference, of course you can always use wxWidgets instead.

>No, Java is already desirable in my eyes.
Yes. I'll worship the person who would implement multiple inheritance in java.

>"Could this be a way to help improve what's lacking in Java?"
>No, what is lacking?
Yes, change "Write once debug anywhere" to "Write once, run anywhere"

And what about that thing that every P language has to re-invent the wheel of translating script into its own format bytecode(I'm using Python as an example) and garbage collection if developers of that language could just use and/or improve already existing jvm. Little late, but not too late, plus, I'd really like to see a chip in a sell phone or such that understands java bytecode natively, since there are so many people who are using and developing applications under java on mobile platform, someone could actually make it run there fast.

Re:Yes (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15242923)

Yes, change "Write once debug anywhere" to "Write once, run anywhere"

Java already has the best "Write Once, Run Anywhere" technology on the market today. Programs that fail to be portable are usually due to:

1. Idiot programmers who can't figure out that "c:\\My Files\\data.txt" is not portable across Operating Systems.

2. Hardware inconsistencies that screw up many more programs than just Java. Hyperthreading is the worst offender, but general SMP can wreak all kinds of havoc on unsuspecting code.

Re:No (4, Interesting)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242883)

"Will Sun Open Source Java?"
No, haven't they already said that? Like hundreds of times? And does it really matter?


Sure it matters. A lot of people have issues with it because of the license. It would clearly expand the number of potential adopters to go open source. More adopters will mean better tools.

"Sun should endorse PHP and go one step forward and make sure the 'P' languages run great on the JVM [Java virtual machine] by open-sourcing Java."
"No", who would run PHP on Java anyway? Why? Why would open-sourcing it help?


Well, I agree with the first part. But presumably integration will get better/faster in open source.

"Would this move Java up the desirability scale in your eyes?"
No, Java is already desirable in my eyes.


But a lot of people would find it more desireable. You can trust that java won't go away in open source, whereas you can't really say the same as long as SUN is at the helm.

"Could this be a way to help improve what's lacking in Java?"
No, what is lacking?


Mostly modernizing. The pace of java development is glacial, compared to say what is going on in C# or Ruby. People with specific integration issues that can't get sun to address compatibility problems are stuck.

People who complain that Java is slow, should be open-sourced, and so on have never seemed to had a clue.
There's no doubt java is still slow in a number of contexts. There are also obvious opportunities for performance enhancement that could be addressed in an open source process. I recently benchmarked ten of my applications in c++ and java, java is about 2x slower for most of the cases I tried, and never faster. To me, that's perfectly acceptable, but java could make more inroads into other areas of computing if it was more competitive in performance. More inroads means more developers, and that means better tools, which is what I yearn for.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15243023)

The pace of java development is glacial, compared to say what is going on in C# or Ruby.

Most of your post is either correct or arguable, but this is just flat out wrong. Java development has proceeded at a pace faster than any other language in history. Each version that comes out (about one every 1.5 years) contains a boatload of new features and APIs. Besides those that are integrated into the core, there are thousands of mature APIs available from Sun and third parties. Everytime a new technology hits the scene, Java has a stable or leading API before every other langugage.

If Java's pace seems glacial, it's because everyone else is still playing catchup. Java's trying to break new ground while they're working on adding even a tenth of the functionality.

The only other area of contention is the matter of features like Operator Overloading. Most long-time Java coders are actively standing in the way of such features as they screw with the basic tenent of the language. That tenent is that the language itself should be minimal, and that EVERYTHING else should be implemented in libraries. If you have a problem with that, you're free to use one of the few hundred [robert-tolksdorf.de] languages that target the JVM, or create your own to meet your needs.

Re:No (1)

jnana (519059) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242900)

Those people who care about their PHP running up to 6 times faster might want to think about PHP on the JVM: http://www.theserverside.com/news/thread.tss?threa d_id=38144 [theserverside.com] .

But everybody knows that Java is slow (I tested it myself in 1997, so I speak from experience), so that must be total bullshit, huh?

Re:No (4, Insightful)

TheWama (793038) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242917)

How about the people who claim it's tedious and sprawling*?

Simple example...

Java: BufferedReader in = new BufferedReader(new FileReader("foo.in"));
Python: in = open('foo.in')
Ruby: in = File.open('foo.in')
C++: ifstream in; in.open("foo.in");

To be fair, I'm no Java expert, but in my experience with it, I'd have to be masochistic to look at it all day...

Re:No (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15242960)

Oh please, no one would do that in Java. You need to have control of the character encoding. A real example would be:

import java.io.BufferedReader;
import java.io.FileInputStream;
import java.io.IOException;
import java.io.InputStreamReader;
import java.io.Reader;
 
... and later ...

try { Reader in = new BufferedReader(new InputStreamReader(new FileInputStream("input.file"), "utf8")); } catch (IOException ioe) { /* handle this? */ }

See - nice and terse.

(Of course if you think that's bad, you should see how many wrapped objects Swing uses!)

Running PHP on the JVM (1)

Dlugar (124619) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242933)

While I agree that open-sourcing Java won't be a magical solution that will somehow improve the codebase and allow people to run all sorts of languages to run on the JVM ... there is in my opinion a good reason to get other languages to run on the JVM--to compete with .NET. Right now, .NET devotees don't have to use C# to get .NET code, they can use a scripting language instead. Having a scripting language (like PHP) that people can run on the same VM as Java would be a great boon to both people who use the scripting language as well as to Java's popularity in general.

Dlugar

Re:No (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242998)

"No, haven't they already said that? Like hundreds of times? And does it really matter?"

Well they say a lot things and then contradict themselves. They also say java is already open sourced as they define open source. Sun executives don't live on the same planet as you and I do. They make up their own definitions as they go along. Here is a nice diagram [arstechnica.com] of sun's strategy.

Does it matter? I think it does. I mean I just tried for a couple of days to get java 1.5 loaded on to ubuntu PPC. Is there a reason why it has to be so difficult? Doesn't it help Java programmers if the JRE and the JDK can be redistributed freely.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15243047)

> "Could this be a way to help improve what's lacking in Java?"
> No, what is lacking?

Decent startup times. If java started up as fast as python or perl or php it would rock my socks off. When in memory and given enough ram, Java runs fine, but the slow startup time sure doesn't make it feel "tight", even though when running it's faster than the interpreted languages.
Unsigned native datatypes would be great for embedded devices.
Menu accelerators, when doClick()ed, pause the GUI thread for 68 milliseconds. Don't hold down an accelerator key for too long or else the GUI locks up (if your KB repeat rate is faster than 14cps). This is just retarded. (get around this by overriding doClick or using some keyboard manager stuff I don't remember the names of)
How 'bout something in Sun's API to make JComboBox popups a different width than the control. In the native look & feel. I don't want to subclass and write 5 pages of code to work this basic functionality in.
Menu drop-shadows in the native look and feel, like every other native app does in say winxp.

Ah well. I like java anyway. Actually it would be proper to say I hate it less than some other languages.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15243061)

Simon Phipps was interviewed in http://lugradio.org/episodes/45 [lugradio.org] and stated that Sun's policy was to open source everything (including java) within the next 2 years or so; however it was up to each project to come up with their own roadmap to facilitate this.

might finally be willing to try it! (2, Insightful)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242691)

> Would this move Java up the desirability scale in your eyes?

It would certainly bring it across the threshold to something I might be willing to install on my machine. I'm not sure I'd actually be interested in using it for anything, but at least it would no longer be in the "completely unacceptable" column.

Of course, I'd probably wait till it was "apt-get"able. But I suspect that an actually-Free Java(tm) wouldn't have to wait long to find a Debian packager.

same here (2, Insightful)

r00t (33219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242764)

Today, as far as I'm concerned, Java is:

1. gcj (the gcc that does Java-to-JVM and JVM-to-native)
2. GNU classpath
3. Kaffe?

I've never seen it do anything, either in a browser or in OpenOffice. Oh well.

(not that language which overloads "+" for string+number is sane; that ought to be a compile error)

Desirability (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242693)

This would definitely make Java more desirable to Free Software users. If any licence were compatible with GNU GPL (or at least LGPL) then it makes it easier to justify using OpenOffice.org. I would encourage Sun to free Java as it would improve it and mean that less effort would have to go into programs such as the GNU implementation (assuming a decent licence).

Evil? (0, Troll)

SurturZ (54334) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242694)

What is it with tagging pretty much every story on Slashdot "evil"? Is Evil the new black* or something?

-SurturZ
*Which was the old pink, which was the new black when black was the old black

Alternate VMs (3, Insightful)

Flounder (42112) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242701)

Could an open source be faster, more stable, and have better resource management than the Sun VM?

Certainly couldn't do worse.

Re:Alternate VMs (3, Informative)

ghakko (261165) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242869)

gcj (the GNU Java compiler) allows Java programs and bytecode to be compiled into native code. It can even generate statically-linked executables which do not require a runtime. These executables tend to start up much more quickly.

Sun, on the other hand, does not allow anything of the sort with their own Java stack and has held off on open-sourcing because it sees its Java runtime environment as a beachhead through which it can colonize your system (especially on Windows, where it comes bundled with all sorts of seemingly-unrelated stuff, like browser toolbars). Allowing third parties to ship stand-alone executables would undermine this.

This is probably to the long-term detriment of the Java platform because the runtime environment is now large and unwieldy enough to really complicate app deployment.

I believe Sun intentionally obfuscates the issue by pointing out that native code is not portable, is somewhat more fragile (because it is not insulated from system dependencies by a VM) and does not necessarily perform better than bytecode in a VM with an aggressive JIT. All these are true, but is besides the point.

Maybe I can finally get this bug fixed.. (1)

doormat (63648) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242708)

Using JVM 1.4.x or 1.5 I get display artifacts when scrolling in various controls - datagrid, text boxes, etc. It only seems to happen when my display is in portrait mode.

Save Apache some time ... (5, Insightful)

SickLittleMonkey (135315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242724)

... and just do it.

WINE did it for Win32 and Mono did it for .NET, so Java *will* be open source some day anyway. Sun needs to get at least J2SE out there before .NET runs on every electronic device available.

Now that Sharp's Zaurus has dropped Java, .NET is looking like the only alternative for managed coding on handheld platforms. (Cellphones are not yet good PDAs, ok?)

SLM

Open Java (1)

gatzke (2977) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242821)


Kaffe and GCJ are open source Java implementations, but I don't know how active or good they are.

Real men write FORTRAN...

Re:Open Java (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15242881)

While I agree with you that FORTRAN has its strengths, what makes it particularly desireable in this context?

Re:Open Java (1)

SickLittleMonkey (135315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242935)

Probably not active or good enough.
Otherwise why would Apache have the Harmony project to recreate J2SE?

I'm saying there is no time to lose. Newton is gone, Palm has hit the wall ... .NET mobile will be the only binary compatible handheld platform unless Sun act now.

Re:Open Java (4, Informative)

WebMink (258041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15243073)

Otherwise why would Apache have the Harmony project to recreate J2SE?

Kaffe and GNU/Classpath are excellent, active projects with dedicated developers. Notably, GNU/Classpath has recently passed the 99% code coverage mark measured against the Java SE specification. Apache Harmony was started because Apache won't use code licensed under the GPL, not because of any technical defect in the work of the Kaffe and GNU/Classpath developers. Harmony is also making excellent progress and has a skilled and active community. Both are committed to making compatible implementations of Java, but licensed under the licenses their communities need.

Open Sourcing Java makes sense... but php? (1)

junkgui (69602) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242727)

Open source Java would be great, swing and J2EE would really benifit from more community engagement... I would love to see a linux distro that really endorsed java (like fedora is going), swing is a very powerful platform, and it would be nice to see some real desktop apps built on it... With the proper licence we might start to see companies see linux as the best platform to run java and that would really spur java desktop and linux desktop development. But why would they endorse PHP? Arguably J3EE deployment is simpler then php, and if it were open source I think the kind of cheep hosting that is available for php would become available for java. What is so great about php or python or perl, they have VMs but they just arnt as fast... What does php have that JSF or tapasrty don't, besides dynamic typing. JSF is about as easy to learn as Ruby on Rails... But at the end of the day the HotSpot JVM is a really kick ass technology, that could really be used for the next big thing....

Bad idea (5, Insightful)

cpuh0g (839926) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242731)

Why do people just assume that saying the magic words "open source" will automatically improve a particular piece of software? Rarely do the most vocal proponents of "open sourcing" something actually get involved and start contributing to the codebase. It's all about religion for the most part, unfortunately.

I still fail to see the benefits of "open sourcing" Java. How will it be improved? It's not as if the engineers at Sun are stupid and don't know how to engineer enterprise software. Don't you think Sun has heard that same complaint from some major league/big $$$$$ customers and done everything they could to improve said performance?

Even if they *do* open it up, Im sure the slashdot community will still hate them because they don't use a GPL variant license. Its a lose-lose situation for Sun, I don't get why they would even consider it. Is there a business case that will generate a 9-figure revenue jump from giving away the source for Java? I don't see it, but Im sure someone around here will happily clue me in.

Re:Bad idea (1)

Slayk (691976) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242953)

I still fail to see the benefits of "open sourcing" Java. How will it be improved?
Porting the JVM to something other than x86, sparc, and amd64 would be a good starting place. It would be spiffy-keen to have a decent JVM on my PPC box running linux, and I'd imagine that java having an official VM for OSX isn't a bad idea either.

I'd imagine fixing the write-once-run-anywhere-that's-one-of-three-archit ectures issue would be high on the TODO list if/when Sun opens up java.

Java on PPC Linux (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 8 years ago | (#15243008)

It would be spiffy-keen to have a decent JVM on my PPC box running linux...
If your PPC machine is a Mac, have you tried IBM's JVM [ibm.com] ?

Re:Bad idea (5, Insightful)

goldsounds (787265) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242992)

Rarely do the most vocal proponents of "open sourcing" something actually get involved and start contributing to the codebase. It's all about religion for the most part, unfortunately.

Rarely do the most vocal critics of "open sourcing" something actually understand the rationale behind free software, which is NOT to have the best code, NOT to have the most secure code, NOT to ship a product the fastest, NOT to contribute to the code, NOT to get something for free, or even to become the "commodity" implementation of a specification.

The best reason to "open source" something is purely and simply the freedom to access the code behind the software you are running; the freedom to change, or port to another platform, the software that you purchased or downloaded. This is the original philosophy of the Free Software Foundation, and the GNU project, who were collectively the inspiration for the "open source" movement.

So if you're wondering why anything less than a GPL license is unsatisfactory to the hairy, unwashed free-software factinista, why don't YOU look up the facts and get a clue about the software freedoms that may, one day, mean that your descendants can read e-books, watch movies and examine the collected creative output of humanity unencumbered by the imposed obscurity of closed-source software, DRM and other impositions on our freedom.

Yes, this is about religion. It's about an idealogical divide between people who would rather have free-as-in-beer convenient software, rather than free-as-in-freedom software that preserves your rights. Frankly, your arrogant pragmatism nauseates me.

Re:Bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15243080)

Nicely said, goldsounds.

Too bad the Microsoft trolls have taken over Slashdot and you won't be modded up to +5 insightful like you should be.

Re:Bad idea (1)

TheDreadSlashdotterD (966361) | more than 8 years ago | (#15243010)

Its a lose-lose situation for Sun I didn't know that THEY were the village bicycle.

Re:Bad idea (1)

TheDreadSlashdotterD (966361) | more than 8 years ago | (#15243024)

Oops. That was actually right. Now I'm the idiot. Congrats to me!

all the things java was supposed to be great for.. (3, Interesting)

vacorama (770618) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242737)

all the things java was supposed to be great for, all the portability, consumer gadgets, smart coffee machines, etc. there's where Sun could really benefit most from open sourcing. There just isn't that much of a reason to use it on the net anymore, unless you work at a financial institution, the technology at large is just moving too slow. But when hobbyists can easily adopt java to connect the things around the house, that will be a big push forward for everyone. and open sourcing java only speeds up that barrier that keeps most java programmers working on desktops and servers...

Don't they mean.... (-1, Troll)

70Bang (805280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242743)


...are still discussing?

This crops up about as often as a coder who farts after making a big stop at White Castle for some gut bombs and Bawls.

Can't anyone find new stories to report?


Are you kidding me? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15242744)

Open sourcing Java? Are you kidding me? Chaos would reign. Every month new features would crop up and we have to keep learning and learning and learning. Look at Ruby on Rails, new features every couple of days. Nobody can keep up.

No no no. Let Sun handle Java.

Re:Are you kidding me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15242909)

Every month new features would crop up and we have to keep learning and learning and learning.

Yeah, because the "new features" that microsoft added to Java worked wonders...

gcj, gnu classpath? (1)

icydog (923695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242745)

What would happen to the GCJ and GNU Classpath projects if Java goes GPL-style open source?

Re:gcj, gnu classpath? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15242802)

Darwinism, baby. Survival of the fittest.

Re:gcj, gnu classpath? (1)

bhav2007 (895955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242944)

It would still have incomplete support for awt and swing

who owns it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15242975)

Since the community owns (holds copyright) on gcj/classpath/kaffee/etc, I'd prefer those even if Sun frees Java (yeah, right!).

No; Too Little, too late (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15242765)

No, Sun will not open source Java, they've repeatedly shown they have no interest in open sourcing Java (beyond the current incredibly restrictive license).

Even if they do, it won't solve the main problems Java has:

1. Massively bloated library. The current JRE I have installed has 77MB in the "lib" directory - those are simply ".jar" files that contain the core libraries!

2. Massively bloated VM. Thanks to the massive class library I just mentioned, it takes FOREVER for the VM to start, because it has to first load the class library. The VM takes something like 5 seconds and 5MB just to do a simple "Hello World" application. That's not right.

3. Massively broken VM. The VM is designed basically exclusively for use with Java. Yes, other languages can be shoehorned into the class format, but the VM is designed around Java's OO model. If your language doesn't use Java's messed-up "everything is a Java" model, combined with "except for static methods which belong to an object's static instance" - the class format won't work.

Java is simply too bloated and too slow to be useful as an open source application. Maybe if it was open sourced before it ballooned out of control, but now, I doubt there's anything useful outside of Java in there.

Make sure 'P' Languages run on JVM.....huh? (3, Interesting)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242773)

"One commentator said, "Sun should endorse PHP and go one step forward and make sure the 'P' languages run great on the JVM [Java virtual machine] by open-sourcing Java."

Explain that to comment to me, please. It makes no sense.

Re:Make sure 'P' Languages run on JVM.....huh? (1)

SixDimensionalArray (604334) | more than 8 years ago | (#15243039)

I am not the person who made the comment, but I THINK what they were trying to do was comment on the relationship between Zend (the private company that supports PHP) and Sun that has been growing for several years. Zend recently released a PHP to Java bridge, and there have been folks who have said that PHP presents a lower barrier to entry, extremely large developer base and easier syntax than JSP. As far as I am concerned, JSP, ASP, PHP, etc.. are just tools.. pick the right one for your environment.

I think, perhaps, the comment may have been referring to a better integration of PHP with Java-supporting web servers, such as Apache Tomcat or JBoss, in addition to increased PHP and JVM integration. Since PHP is so widely supported as a web-scripting language, and Java is so well supported as middleware, server-side software, etc.. well I think you get the idea.

Just my 2c.

Re:Make sure 'P' Languages run on JVM.....huh? (1)

danharan (714822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15243044)

Googling "PHP JVM", my second hit was Caucho Resin adds PHP [theserverside.com] : "Caucho, the company behind the open source application server Resin and the open Web Services protocols Burlap and Hessian, has recently added PHP to its list of supported features. Apparently, the PHP pages are compiled in the background to byte-code, and the resulting performance is six times that of Apache mod_php!"

Being able to call some of the Java libraries from PHP or even Ruby would be pretty nifty; there's some really top-notch stuff that has been developed in Java.

Re:Make sure 'P' Languages run on JVM.....huh? (1)

therevolution (525890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15243076)

An example is Jython, a Python implementation for Java. It lets you write Python code that can interact with pure Java classes.

http://www.jython.org/ [jython.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jython [wikipedia.org]

As for why you'd want to mix Python and Java... I'm really not sure. Perhaps someone else can describe a situation where it would be warranted.

It already is (0, Troll)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242776)

It is opensource.

if you want to ask an open ended (and useless question) atleast get the correct format...

it should have been "should Sun change the open source license java is currently under?"

Can we just not have these trolltastic lame open ended articles that begin with a question.

Confused on the "p-language" part (0)

timecop (16217) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242784)

"Sun should endorse PHP and go one step forward and make sure the 'P' languages run great on the JVM [Java virtual machine] by open-sourcing Java."

What? I read this sentence like 10 times, what exactly are they trying to say here?
'p' as in pseudocode? p-code? huh? p as in php, perl, in that case what does that have to do with a JVM... Confused/lost here halp.

a tool for the job (0)

b17bmbr (608864) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242796)

like all religious zealots, open source purists just marginalize themselves and the overall community. look, java is a tool, and while hardly "open source", is overall a helluva lot better than any microsoft license. but that's not the point. java is a very good tool for certain things. it has strengths and weaknesses. the license should be one of the last things to worry about. refusing to use a tool simply based on a license is not wise. no tool is perfect. use what is best suited for the job.

Oh, geesh..... (2, Insightful)

deanj (519759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242827)

"Would this move Java up the desirability scale in your eyes?"

Java isn't the answer for everything. Either is C, C++, Perl, Python, Ruby, or PHP. Each language has it's strengths and weaknesses.

Nobody should be making decisions about what programming language to use based on whether it's open source or not. There are freely available implementations of those languages.

If you've got your company, that's another story, do what you want. If you're basing decision on open source ideology instead of what's best for your employer, you're not doing your job.

Is the employer always right? Hell no. But making decisions based on open source ideology instead of the right technical decision, you'll be no better than the managers "upstairs" you like to complain about.

out of curiosity, how does sun make money??? (1)

thechronic (892545) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242840)

I don't see how open sourcing Java would help Sun, it's the only thing they have left. They've open sourced everything. I mean, yeah, great, thanks...but they've turned themselves into something like Xerox PARC. Anyway, if they do choose to open source it, this will help increase Java's presence in the development world. It really is a great language (and virtual machine).

Why Should Sun Do This? (5, Insightful)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242859)

Writing a fully compliant JVM takes a lot of time and a lot of effort, especially the class libraries. Sun spent years writing that code, and none of the JCP partners can be bothered re-writing it themselves.

IBM, BEA, Oracle, etc pay Sun to license their source code so they can release compliant JVMs.

So, it should be no suprised the the open *cough*IBM*cough* source community "demands" that Sun open source Java. Guess how much money a certain company would save getting free source code that they're paying to license now? In the same of "the open source community", they'd like nothing better than to get the #1 competitor's hard work for free so they stop having to pay them for it.

The Java spec is open for anybody the re-implement, the source code is viewable by all, and the JDK is a free download. Sun has stated that they won't stand in the way of Apache Harmony or any other open source project that aims for a full open source implementation of the JVM/JDK spec.

So what exactly is the problem?

Re:Why Should Sun Do This? (4, Interesting)

typical (886006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15243052)

So what exactly is the problem?

I don't have the Sun JDK on my Fedora system by default because of the Sun license.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has been adopting ocaml as the next big language [microsoft.com] . For once, Microsoft is technically ahead of its competitors -- ocaml [inria.fr] (which Microsoft did not produce) is very fast and safe, and from a technical standpoint is much more impressive than C# and Java.

Plus, ocaml can be used as a pure functional language -- such languages eliminate almost all the reason to use (error-prone, difficult to guarantee correctness with) threads. Pure functional code is inherently parallelizable any time the compiler can say "hey, no data dependency here".

Ocaml is picking up quite a bit of steam -- there are a slew of open-source libraries for it out there, it's the only safe language that I'm aware of that provides performance comparable to C and C++, yadda yadda yadda. The INRIA ocaml compiler is open source (though, annoyingly, QPL instead of GPL). The runtimes and the stuff that you stuff into your code is LGPL. I didn't realize that Microsoft was backing it and integrating ocaml support into Visual Studio until quite recently, though. There have been gtk+ bindings for ocaml for a while, but MS may actually be ahead of the OSS world in providing complete ocaml bindings.

If you've never used ocaml before, wait until the first time you break in the debugger at a problem...and then step *backwards* to watch the problem occurring. It's simply delightful. :-) Plus, it's even more concise than C (which is saying quite a bit), is safe and garbage-collected, has very strict typing (I've heard one ML fan say "If your code compiles, it's correct" in only half-jest)...ah.

What's particularly satisfying is that C was well-designed -- for a specific set of systems and circumstances that don't apply to most application software development today. Ocaml is the first language in a long time that I've seen where I can say not just that the language has good ideas, but that it is really well-designed. It's also a lot better-suited to application development than C is.

Gah...sorry. Ocaml gives me the warm fuzzies.

I'd like to see IBM or Sun's JDK shipped w/ Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15242877)

I understand the ideology. I even appreciate it and I totally respect kaffe and gjc but if you're really doing java and shipping it, you're using one of those 2 JDKs (most likely)


They are much better than the competition. Java with those JDKs is compelling, java with Kaffe, isn't. I also think using java like technologies to make more complex apps, more reliable apps, safer apps is key to furthering the adoption of linux.


Sun, opensource your JVM and make the redistribution license more liberal.

Open source License model. (1)

bestadvocate (816742) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242894)

Wouldn't it be great if Sun says OK lets open source under an almost exact copy of the GPL but list three companies that will not be able to redistribute the code without expressed written permission of Sun. I don't really even think it would violate the spirit of the GPL, and the community low-to-no-profit organizations would be able to dig their fingers into the technology, many of whom are the type to contribute code for that reason.

I know its not going to happen, but wouldn't it be nice?

Yes, sure (1, Interesting)

Piroca (900659) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242895)


This same exact rumor has been spread several times before. And it always ends up with the same thing: it's a basic part of Sun's strategy to keep full control over Java, therefore it won't be open sourced. Now stop daydreaming.

As a highschool student, I feel used. (1)

tapo (855172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242931)

I'm about to take the AP Computer Science exam in oh... 7 hours (I should sleep). Now the thing is, I'm a terrible programmer and took this to learn. And Collegeboard regulations have made Java the language over C++ since 2002.

I've never, ever learned a language aside from Java, and I'll probably program everything I make in Java, simply out of familiarity. Undoubtedly, many of my fellow CS AP students taking the exam tomorrow will probably end up doing the same.

Anywho, back to the point of this post. It seems to me that Sun pretty much owns the upcoming generation of programmers at this point. Why, oh why would they want to open-source it - when they see this gravy train slowly making its way down the track?

Re:As a highschool student, I feel used. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15243056)

When I started programming I used Basic. I moved to C, to C++, to Java. Sprinkled in there is some bash, perl, tcl, python, and sundry other languages.

Thing is, as you learn more languages the new ones are that much easier. Languages are all the same. The difference is syntactic sugar and learning what libraries are available.

If you were "used" for java you would be just as used for any other language. If it was "open source" then you would be "used" by the open source lobby.

A professional programmer should continually adapt and change and learn new things, otherwise they will be left behind.

For hobby programming java is just as good as any other language, and you are not funneling money into Sun's coffers by using it (or IBMs for eclipse).

"Sun should endorse PHP" (5, Funny)

oSand (880494) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242945)

Yeah, because what the world needs is more php.

of course they will... (1)

malraid (592373) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242959)

And they'll ditch the Java language and only support PHP in the JVM of Java 6. Of course, since MS follows closely the development of Java to chart their own roadmap, will revert to basic BASIC (the one with out "objects" from the MS-DOS days) as the only language of .Net for version 3 just to stay one step ahead of Sun. Meanwhile the rest of OSS languages will converge to a single language running on Parrot. Eventually (about 10 years down the road), OSS historians will realize that they have rediscovered the holy grail of languages: FORTRAN.

Shortly after, the whole universe will crash on one huge dive by zero exception.

Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week with more forecasts...

Overlords (1)

xbmodder (805757) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242966)

I for one welcome our Java/PHP/Python overlords! I would really love JAVA+PYTHON, thats like crack for a programmer.

Re:Overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15243013)

FYI: Java + Python already exist. It's called JYTHON! Do some research before you post man....

jython... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15243035)

is already out there

End the Evil? (1)

egarland (120202) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242981)

This might be good though because people would get under the hood and decide the whole thing is just garbage and we should just compile java apps to Parrot [parrotcode.org] instead.

All languages that aren't built on parrot slow it's development and are therefor evil.

Who cares? (2, Informative)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242984)

Really. At this point, who cares? If they did it at this late date it would speed up the process by a year or so at the cost of keeping Sun in the driver's seat. If they don't open their implementation GCJ will catch in a year or so and it will quickly become the reference implementation that everyone will track in server environments.

Why do I say that? Because it is the one all non-Sun/Microsoft server environments (meaning Linux & *BSD) will be shipping. RedHat is already there. If you want a different Java you have to deal with the implications of having it co-exist with GCJ. Although they do use alternatives to make that managable, they ship the IBM JDK on their extras CD, not Sun's and the Sun packages almost certainly (haven't bothered to check a recent vintage) don't deal with that, their 'rpms' are brain damaged tarballs wrapped in a thin rpm wrapper.

So it no longer matters what Sun does. Five years ago they could have turned around the fortunes of Java when it was under serious threats. Ten years ago OPening Java would have meant we wouldn't be dealing with .NET today. But that is history that could have been and wasn't, now Sun needs to just continue to quietly fade away.

Personally I don't want Java open-sourced (5, Funny)

layer3switch (783864) | more than 8 years ago | (#15242987)

I fear, some smart ass Java programmer will fork off the Java OpenSource and give some crackpot name like "Javalava" or "JavaJ" or "JuJu Bean" or "Grande Capacino"

I am scared...

Would some of you GPL zealots ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15243012)

... please direct your rage at the Mozilla Foundation. They don't use the GPL. They use a more restrictive license than OpenSolaris.

Java pays the rent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15243060)

or mortgage as the case may be. It has since 1996. Never been unemployed during this time either. And yes, I probably make more than you.
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