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Sun to Change Java License for Linux

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the friendly-coffee dept.

226

daria42 writes "It looks like the days of downloading Java every time you re-install a Linux box may be at an end. Reports are trickling in that Sun plans to alter the Java license to make it easier to bundle the JRE with Linux. From the article: 'Sun has faced calls several times to open-source Java, which advocates say would foster innovative open-source development. The company has resisted formally open-sourcing all of the Java software, but it has dramatically changed the development process around Java and changed licenses to make it easier to see Java source code.'"

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Finally! (3, Funny)

pryonic (938155) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269332)

It's about time they woke up and smelled the coffee!

I'm sorry...

Re:Finally! (4, Funny)

moro_666 (414422) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269338)

the exploding one [slashdot.org] ?

Well I do declare! (as grandma said) (3, Insightful)

davecb (6526) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269441)

Now that they've released their newest chipset under the GPL, they're going around and looking to see how much they can loosen their other licenses.

Java, due to MS's efforts to subvert it, is probably the hardest to free up, but this is a good, workmanlike step in the right direction.

--dave

Re:Well I do declare! (as grandma said) (1, Troll)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269495)

In what way is this related to the MS J++ effort? MS tried to pervert the _standard_ through an incompatible implementation, they could have done it without any access to the Sun source. It might even be easier to write a subtly incompatible Java version if you don't look at the source.

If anything, I think the Sun vs. MS war on Java shows why an open reference implementation can strengthen a standard.

Re:Well I do declare! (as grandma said) (4, Insightful)

davecb (6526) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269652)

Because MS tried so very hard to embrace and extand Java, it's reasonable to expect that the Sun lawyers are going to be very reluctant to change anything, for fear of starting the war back up.

Sun engineers, on the other hand, arguably agree with your desire to move to free reference implemntation, and in the short term, to fewer restrictions on the JRE.

--dave

Re:Well I do declare! (as grandma said) (2, Insightful)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269685)

Yes, but my argument is that the standard and an implementation of that standard are two completely separate things. They are using the argument that by opening up their reference implementation, the standard itself is opened, and that is just plain false.

Re:Well I do declare! (as grandma said) (2, Insightful)

JakusMinimus (49854) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269908)

that is a smart distinction to make, but i feel comfortable in declaring that sun's position (for the now) is that they will have better long term control over the standard/spec by maintaining control over the reference implementation. it is also worth noting that the reference implemnentation is of very, very good quality.

and no, im not a sun fanboi, but i am primarily a j2ee developer.

Re:Finally! (0, Redundant)

Fordiman (689627) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270026)

*inhales* Wooohooo! Wooop! Woop! Wooohooo! Wooop! Woop! *inhales* Wooohooo! Wooop! Woop! Wooohooo! Wooop! Woop!

Um, yeah. I approve.

Sweet... (3, Funny)

racebit (959234) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269342)

Three cheers for sun *reaches for mug java*....o wait, my self heating mug exploded

MOD PARENT UP (0)

PenisLands (930247) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269480)

This comment is incredibly funny. I suggest that you moderate it as "Funny".

Hard.. (5, Insightful)

ZoWnX (710685) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269350)

Because downloading the JDK or the JRE after installing linux was hard? If it wasnt for this, I wouldnt be periodically using the latest version.

Re:Hard.. (2, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269368)

Exactly. Especially if you're running multiple versions of Java. What really annoys me is RPMs that expect an RPM-installed Java.

Re:Hard.. (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269415)

This is what bothers me most about RPM. If RPM didn't install it, then it doesn't exist. Sure you can force the install, but if the package wasn't installed where it was expected to be, then things often won't work properly. It doesn't help that a lot of things aren't available as RPM. I'm using Mandrake(iva) 2006, and it still only has Firefox 1.0.6 available.

Re:Hard.. (3, Informative)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269463)

That's the fault of lazy packagers, not a problem with RPM itself. You can specify dependencies on a particular file (like /usr/bin/java) insesad of a package if you want to. And if that's not enough (e.g. if you want to allow people installing into /usr/local/ or /opt) you can write little dependency checking scripts at install-time. For example, this snippet makes sure a few X headers are present, regardless of if they are installed in /usr or /usr/X11:

%define xinclude %( if test -d /usr/X11R6/include; then echo /usr/X11R6/include; else echo /usr/include; fi )
Requires: %{xinclude}/X11/StringDefs.h, %{xinclude}/X11/Xlib.h

Re:Hard.. (1)

sgent (874402) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269509)

Or perhaps check for the exitance of $JAVAHOME.

Re:Hard.. (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269526)

Building your own RPMs isn't all that difficult actually.

Official instructions are here [tldp.org] , but you can google for every one in the worlds opinion on how it should be done.

Re:Hard.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15269973)

Actually, RPM can install tarballs also (look at rpm-build).

Re:Hard.. (5, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269369)

I think it has more to do with having the distro do it for you. If we want Joe User to be able to use linux for their desktop needs, then we are going to have to make it as easy as possible for them to use. Of course the people in control of the distro are the ones making the decision. If they don't want to include it because of some ideological values, then that's their business. If they feel the people using the OS has can just install it themselves, then that's their business. But if they're trying to put out an easy to use desktop distro, then they'd probably be smart thinking twice about including it.

Re:Hard.. (4, Funny)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269769)

Screw Joe User! Bob Sysadmin is lazy too!

Re:Hard.. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269410)

Because downloading the JDK or the JRE after installing linux was hard?

If your distro installs the JRE, then it can use an updater written in the Java language for safety. If your distro installs the JRE, then Java will work even if the user can't get broadband without moving.

Re:Hard.. (2, Informative)

ronmon (95471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269991)

It's not hard, but it is a pain in the neck. For example, in Gentoo:
emerge dev-java/sun-jdk

>>> Emerging (1 of 1) dev-java/sun-jdk-1.5.0.06-r2 to /
!!! jdk-1_5_0_06-linux-amd64.bin not found in /net/distfiles

!!! dev-java/sun-jdk-1.5.0.06-r2 has fetch restriction turned on.
!!! This probably means that this ebuild's files must be downloaded
!!! manually. See the comments in the ebuild for more information.

* Please download jdk-1_5_0_06-linux-amd64.bin from:
http://javashoplm.sun.com/ECom/docs/Welcome .jsp?...
* Select the Linux AMD64 self-extracting file
* and move it to /net/distfiles
So you have to go there, accept the 'clickwrap' license, download it somewhere, then mv it to your distfiles directory. Unnecessary mumbo jumbo.

days of downloading Java (5, Funny)

JoelMeow (740794) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269354)

days of downloading Java

That's what you get for having a slow connection.

But what about Windows? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15269363)

Sadly, this means that Windows will be the only major OS that can't seem to come with Java delivered right out of the box. Maybe they'll address that problem with Vista?

Re:But what about Windows? (3, Funny)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269399)

Don't worry, there will be .NET instead.

Re:But what about Windows? (1)

pebs (654334) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269603)

Don't worry, there will be .NET instead.

So Java apps will run in IKVM [ikvm.net] ?

Re:But what about Windows? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15269586)

This really comes down to marketing. Even if Java is useful for a majority of customers, Microsoft will not provide it because Java could diminish the effectiveness of their business strategy.

This is a dangerous game to play - at what point does Microsoft stop supporting their customers for the sake of their business strategy? Some will say that that time came long ago, and that it is an implicit sign of anti-competetive, monopolistic practices. I disagree - as some could claim that Java is simply not appropriate for most users, and if it is required, then the user may install it.

I think Microsoft's lack of proper open document support, as required by some local laws, is a much more glaring example of Microsoft's overt anti-commerse behaviours.

Re:But what about Windows? (2, Informative)

debiguana (826124) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269791)

Actually, sun has been working to get OEMs (Dell, Gateway, etc.) to bundle the JRE with their systems.

Re:But what about Windows? (2, Informative)

MrNougat (927651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270050)

As in another comment, Sun may get OEMs to bundle Java with systems they sell that have Windows preinstalled, but it's unlikely that Sun and Microsoft will come together to bundle Java with Windows directly anytime soon. Remember, it was legal issues between the two parties over the now defunct and soon to be EOL'ed Microsoft Java Virtual Machine that forced Microsoft to ditch MSJVM in the first place (rightly so, I think).

Re:But what about Windows? (2, Insightful)

raitchison (734047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270064)

All joking aside, Windows users actually would stand to benefit the most from open sourcing Java. The Sun JRE, which virtually ALL Java apps are arbitrarily dependent on is one of the worst apps I've ever seen when it comes to memory utilization.

I've seen Win32 apps consuming 150Mb of RAM.

If Sun were to open source Java it could open the door to different, better JVMs that might even be able to spoof itself as "Sun JRE" for the myriad of poorly written Java apps that refuse to run on anything else.

slackware has jre in 10.2? (3, Interesting)

Edzor (744072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269366)

not sure about pervious versions of slack, but 10.2 ISO has it, i dont see the problem way other distro dont include it?

jre-1_5 [slackware.it]

Re:slackware has jre in 10.2? (4, Interesting)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269384)

Mandriva Linux includes Sun's JRE5 too.

Re:slackware has jre in 10.2? (4, Informative)

moro_666 (414422) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269392)

i think debian/ubuntu keep away from it because it has an uncomfortable license that doesn't match with the rest of the system ;)

most debian/gnulinux software is either gpl/lgpl or bsd (or alike) licensed, can be distributed without any restrictions just about anywhere. the license of java which you are supposed to read and accept while downloading and installnig, differs a lot from the "free as in beer" or "even more free than beer" licenses mentioned above.

for the commercial distros - no idea, but possibly the same issue.

Re:slackware has jre in 10.2? (4, Informative)

zerblat (785) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269775)

The Binary Code License Agreement [java.com] , under which Sun's Java implementations are licensed, only allow you to distribute their software if "[...]you do not distribute additional software intended to replace any component(s) of the Software[...]".

That means that you can't also distribute e.g. gcj or GNU Classpath. The license isn't exactly clear on whether it means that you can't distribute Sun's JRE together with gcj or whether distributing Sun's software means you can't distribute gcj at all -- ever. It's also not clear exactly what they mean by "software intended to replace any component(s) of the Software". In the worst case, that could apply to any software that performs the same function as some part of the JVM, the byte compiler, the class library etc. Does distributing Swing mean you can't distribute GTK?

We already have open source Java (5, Insightful)

CustomDesigned (250089) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269385)

Sun provides an open spec (actually multiple specs). There are open source implementations of the spec. Sun and others have proprietary implementations. There are applications where the open source implementations are superior (typically small memory and embedded). If you have tons of memory, Sun's Hotspot VM is very fast.

If there are areas where the specs need improvement to get closer to the "Write Once Run Anywhere" goal, by all means complain about those areas.

We want multiple competing implementations, both open and proprietary. That said, I could see Sun open sourcing the Java libraries - at least the Java parts. The SDK comes with Sun source for the publically visible parts of libraries. However, the licence precludes using that source in an open source VM. Instead, the GNU classpath project has to rewrite them from the spec.

Keeping the Sun VM proprietary but opensourcing the libraries seems like a good compromise between maximum interoperability and competition.

Re:We already have open source Java (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269404)

That is a fantastic idea! I'd love to see that: open source the java.* packages, but leave control of the language and the actual specs in Sun's hands. The best of both worlds.

Re:We already have open source Java (1)

jgilbert (29889) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269601)

my preference would be along similar lines. i would like it if they would separate the core language from the many pure java, vm indendepent library classes. the core would be along the lines of what the original j2me or personal java was. maybe java.lang.*, java.net, java.util., etc. actually separate the language from all the add-on libraries.

Re:We already have open source Java (2, Insightful)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269670)

The way I see it, there are three relevant levels of openness here:

* A standard which is well defined, whose license can not be arbitrarily terminated and is provided to everybody free of charge or at a reasonable cost. (This is the most important one)
* An open sourced reference implementation of that standard, prefereably released under the BSD licence so anybody can extend it. (This is nice but not crucial)
* An open standards process. (If the standard is stable and well written, this is not all that important)

Sun is doing the first but is avoid doing the second by giving the strawman argument that it would somehow imply the third.

Re:We already have open source Java (3, Insightful)

The Warlock (701535) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269449)

The problem is that the open-source implementations of Java tend to be a version or two behind the official Java, which can be a problem for some Linux users (such as CS students like myself).

Re:We already have open source Java (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15269452)

Keeping the Sun VM proprietary but opensourcing the libraries seems like a good compromise between maximum interoperability and competition.

Which is exactly why it'll never happen. The giant Java library ensures that, even with a 100% compatible JVM, most Java applications will only run on the Sun runtime. (Especially applications that use "sun.*" or "com.sun.*" packages in open defiance of Sun themselves saying not to do that. But that's beside the point.)

Sun learned from their experience with Microsoft. When Microsoft had their own JVM implementation, Microsoft added various extra libraries and functionality to their runtime that Sun was missing. Sun responded by sueing, and forcing Microsoft to remove their JVM from Windows. (And then Sun responded to that by sueing Microsoft for removing their JVM from Windows...)

By having a massive and hard to implement class library, Sun ensures that anyone else trying to create a compatible Java runtime will always be playing catch-up. They'll never be able to be 100% compatible with the "latest and greatest" Java runtime.

And that's just the way Sun wants it - they're able to keep control of Java that way. Open sourcing the libraries would cause them to lose that control. And that's why it'll never happen.

(It's worth noting that the source for all the classes that appear in java.* and javax.* are, indeed, available with the Sun JDK. However, the license prevents doing anything useful with them, and much of those classes rely on large amounts of code implemented in com.sun.* or sun.* packages, for which the source is NOT available.)

Re:We already have open source Java (1)

NekoXP (67564) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269787)

By having a massive and hard to implement class library, Sun ensures that anyone else trying to create a compatible Java runtime will always be playing catch-up.

Yeah because being feature-rich is an outright intentional action in order to stop people implementing compatible Java runtimes and class libraries.

Wasn't there a day in the past when you got some software and thought "wow, it does everything I wanted it to", instead of "OMG this has too much relevant stuff. I wish I would have to code it myself. I bet they did this so that they can enforce their proprietary engines and technology!" or have you always been that paranoid?

Re:We already have open source Java (4, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269853)

Microsoft. When Microsoft had their own JVM implementation, Microsoft added various extra libraries and functionality to their runtime that Sun was missing. Sun responded by sueing

MS added classes to the java.* package hierarchy, in contravention to the terms of their licence. That's why Sun sued. Had MS put their classes in a com.microsoft package hierarchy like you're supposed to, Sun wouldn't have cared (or had a leg to stand on).

The restriction was/is in the licence to prevent exactly what started to happen - people started using the classes, and thus were writing code that could only run on MS's VM, which is completely against the core Java ethos of "write once, run anywhere". (Ok, so in practice that's often easier said than done, but this was threatening to make it completely impossible)

For what it's worth, MS didn't have to stop shipping a VM with Windows; they just had to stop shipping their non-compliant VM. They were perfectly at liberty to remove the offending classes and continue developing a compliant VM. Instead they chose not to do so, shifting their efforts to .NET instead.

Especially applications that use "sun.*" or "com.sun.*" packages in open defiance of Sun themselves saying not to do that.

That's a really dumb thing to do if you care about cross-release compatibility. There's no guarantee whatsoever that classes that are present in one release will be present in the next.

Re:We already have open source Java (2, Insightful)

tomcres (925786) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269460)

That's because Mr. Volkerding cares more about his users' experience in providing something that just works, works reliably, and is complete than ideology and software politics.. Slackware has been including xv (a shareware image viewer) since like Slackware 1.0..

Re:We already have open source Java (2)

fossa (212602) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269611)

...and perhaps the users of Debian *want* a completely DFSG Free distribution? There's room for both.

And now for the unbiased point of view (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15269920)

If that's his plan, I'd expect to end up with something like Mac OS: easy to use, but no freedom to modify or redistribute. Except that apparently it's not going well for them, because Slackware is known for being *hard* to use. Sounds like the worst of both worlds, to me.

In the meantime, Debian/Ubuntu (and others) have been pushing free software, which we're both free to distribute and free to improve. So we have image viewers that are far better that xv, and (though I no longer program in Java or .NET) I fully expect Mono to be the superior development environment. Because it's open-source (and has been for a while), there are all kinds of bindings, which mean people actually use it.

For example, the GNOME project is also about making things that "just work", and there are lots of projects for GNOME apps that use Mono. I don't know any Java GNOME projects. This is a release of desperation for Sun.

Re:We already have open source Java (2, Insightful)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269760)

We already have open source Java
Yeah, and they don't work correctly. Just yesterday I was helping a person at work with their code. They had a Java program that was doing an LDAP query. It worked fine on other machines but not on one of the test machines. Turns out some JRE called Kaffe was in the path before the Sun JRE. Changing the path to the java executable fixed things.

Re:We already have open source Java (1)

Decaff (42676) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269921)

If you have tons of memory, Sun's Hotspot VM is very fast.

And it is pretty good even if you don't. For example, there is an implementation of Hotspot for J2ME/CLDC that runs in 1MB.

Re:We already have open source Java (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269935)

If there are areas where the specs need improvement to get closer to the "Write Once Run Anywhere" goal, by all means complain about those areas.
the problem is twofold.

1: the java.* and javax.* trees are bloody massive so reimplementing it all is a huge ammount of work
2: most java developers don't give a fuck about runtime environments other than suns and some of the platform isn't very well documented (just go and have a look at some of the stuff in javax.swing.plaf). The result is that most java apps only work with sun java (and things that are slightly modified versions of it rather than from scratch implementions). This is essentially the same problem that wine has.

Sun's commitement? (4, Interesting)

SWroclawski (95770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269389)

I remember hearing about two or three weeks ago that Sun said it was committed to "Open Sourcing all of its software, everything they make."- this is from LugRadio and a Sun representative.

Given this /very/ progressive stance, I don't see why they're stalling when it comes to Java.

If anything, this slows Java adoption.

Java was all the rage in the late 90s. Had they made it Free, I think it would have been a tour de force. Now we see competition from simpler technologies. We're learning that we don't need a J2EE infrastructure when a simple Model-View-Controller model with a database backend will do the job just as well, and so on.

Freeing Java would spread adoption, if nothing else than by including it in every distribution shortly thereafter.

This new license system isn't good enough, it'll just frustrate people.

Re:Sun's commitement? (1)

tomcres (925786) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269468)

I think their problem with Java is that if they totally free it, then they no longer control the language itself. It could lead to compatibility issues where certain distributions of Java have one API or feature and others don't... basically it would become Linux.

Re:Sun's commitement? (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269581)

> basically it would become Linux

No, it would be much worse. Think back to the bad old days of Basic, where each vendor had their own version of the language. Think pre-ANSI pre-stdlib C++.

Re:Sun's commitement? (1)

SWroclawski (95770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269674)

I don't see this as a real problem for a variety of reasons.

First, as many have pointed out Java is a trademark that Sun owns. They can control it. I can't fork Java and call it Java. I could maybe fork it and call it "Half-Skim Soy Latte" but that's not Java.

Considering how many Java alternatives there are already, I don't see it getting worse.

But there are plenty of languages with an official version other spinoffs. Perl and Python both have an official version and then spinoffs.

Re:Sun's commitement? (1)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269798)

You are confusing an open reference implementation with an open standard. They are not the same, and so long as Sun controls the standard, there is no harm in making their reference implementation open.

Re:Sun's commitement? (4, Funny)

fossa (212602) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269547)

(Luke Skywalker stands hands bound on the edge of a plank)

"Java! This is your last chance. Free yourself, or die."

(laughter ...but Java the Hutt will soon learn he's too sluggish as he is choked to death by Princess Ruby)

Re:Sun's commitement? (2, Interesting)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269606)

We're learning that we don't need a J2EE infrastructure when a simple Model-View-Controller model with a database backend will do the job just as well, and so on.

There's nothing stopping you from implementing that MVC architecture in Java with a servlet container, of course - in fact, in my experience the vast majority of websites that use Java use it in exactly that way.

Re:Sun's commitement? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270037)

except you'll need to spend 2x the money for all the bloated layers j2ee requires. I work for a VAR, java sells hardware, that's for sure. Of course, some of our clients are waking up and realizing they can't afford java anymore. And I love it when benchmarks "proving" java speed are procedural math codes, do some actual oo stuff and you'll see what a pig it truly is.

Re:Sun's commitement? (1)

mwood (25379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269766)

They're not necessarily stalling. Sun's a big company. It takes a while to pass The Word to all of the middle managers and beat the lawyers into submission.

The Triad of DOOM! (1)

alucinor (849600) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269390)

This is great! Now Linux development can equally support the Big Three: Java, .NET (Mono), and the P-languages (plus one R)! The next step ... get it all to run on Parrot [parrotcode.org] ! Convergence like none other, bwa ha ha huh!

Re:The Triad of DOOM! (1)

leoxx (992) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270065)

Actually that is a good point. I wonder if the recent inclusion of Mono in Fedora core 5 helped prompt Sun to do something about Java.

Limits? (4, Insightful)

J.Y.Kelly (828209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269396)

Unfortunately the article is a bit light on details. It says that Sun are going to make the JRE easier to redistribute but that on it's own isn't enough for many distros. It would also have to be at least able to be repackaged (so it goes somewhere more friendly that the Sun supplied RPM) and preferably modified (to make it play nicer with the rest of the system) before it's really useful.

Also, it's a shame it seems they're only going to include the JRE. Nice and easy for linux users to run java programs. Shame they won't be able to write any...

Java as electricity (5, Interesting)

aphaenogaster (884935) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269400)

Odd analogy, but I guess it kind of makes a little sense maybe... http://www.forbes.com/2006/05/04/sun-microsystems- schwartz-cz_ec_0504schwartz.html?partner=yahootix [forbes.com] In shwartz's words...

Forbes:

You're trying to woo customers with free hardware. How do you make them paying customers? You haven't monetized Java proportional to what's out there.
JShwartz:

That's a misnomer. Largely an American misnomer. Nearing 1 billion Java handsets.

Forbes:

So what's your Java revenue?

JS:

Close to $13 billion.

F:

That's not money in Sun's pocket, though.

JS:

It's like asking a company that produces generators how much of their demand comes from people using electricity. It's 100 percent.

F:

But it's about how many customers are paying you for the privilege of using Java.

S:

And I'll point out that a billion handsets fuels an enormous market in the telecommunications industry. Java running on Sun's Java Enterprise system, whether it's at American Express or General Electric or Vodafone, is fueling Sun's overall revenue. Asking us how much money we make on Java is like asking Verizon Communications how much money they make on handsets. The fact is that they lose a fortune on handsets, but they make a fortune in subscribers.

F:

So are you going to convert Java users to subscription service for Sun?

S:

Partially, we're already doing that. American Express runs on the Java Enterprise system. That's per employee subscription for core middleware for Sun. My broader point is that Java ensures Sun has access to an open market. Java allows us to reach out to customers who don't run on Sun hardware and ensure we can serve them wherever they may be--whether it's on a Dell box or HP box or in an IBM customer base.

Again, it's hard to explain to people. Here's an analogy. With the advent of electricity, Thomas Edison tried to patent a lightbulb so that you would have to use his lightbulbs if you used his dynamo. That strategy obviously failed. And what emerged was the standard plug. Asking Sun the value of Java is like asking GE--which is, I think, the largest manufacturer of power turbines in the world--what the value of the standard plug is. It ensures they can serve a global marketplace. So if you asked them what's the value of the plug, how would they respond?

Here are some stats on Java: There are more than 1 billion Java cards in the marketplace, securing everything from set-top boxes to handsets. There are more than a billion Java handsets, all driving demand for network infrastructure. There are nearly 1,000 members of the Java community process, who collectively contribute to the standard called "Java." It is the default standard for set-top boxes in Brazil. So what will the infrastructure opportunity be in Brazil to serve 100 million Java-enabled set-top boxes? I promise you it will be enormous, and Sun will be among many participants that can serve that demand.

Re:Java as electricity (2, Interesting)

Zigurd (3528) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269528)

Schwartz is right, to the extent he can be at this time: Sun does benefit from Java.

The interviewer, however, has a point that Schwartz did not address: It is equally clear that Sun could benefit more from Java.

Schwartz brings up mobile Java. Sun won by default: Qualcomm keeps their application environment on their chips, and Microsoft keeps their's on their OS. Schwartz has no answer to how this victory is monetized. There are some obvious missed opportunities in mobile commerce servers, for example.

If Sun really wants Java to be like electricity and Sun to make generators, the open-sourcing of Java is critical: It has to be a top-tier choice when considering managed lanaguages for all kinds of Linux software, including desktop software. That means it has to be in the top Linux distributions - VM, libraries, everything.

Sun has done a great job of turning NetBeans into an open sourceIDE that is very approachable for beginners. Matisse brings NetBeans up to Visual Studio standards and beyond for making GUI layout easy. Debugging, profiling, and round-trip UML are easy and free in NetBeans. If they can convince Red Hat and Ubuntu to bundle Java and Netbeans, it will be the path of least resistance for new coders making application on Linux.

After that, Sun still has the task ahead of it of getting the most out of Java in a market that rejects lock-in. There will be no replay of the dot-bombs that raised millions and immediately spent millions on Sun hardware and Oracle database software. Sun has to make their hardware the most attractive for key segments of a market that is using Java. They have a good start in their deals with Google. They need to build on that.

micro payment opinion submission (1)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269406)

This is the kind of thing you'd like to reward a company for. All companies should have a comment submission box where you can click, "I totally dig what you just did, here's my dollar that says I really mean it." ... is that a crazy idea? I mean, in all seriousness. The dollar is the only vote an american really has.

Re:micro payment opinion submission (1)

palfrey (198640) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269790)

Only if we also get a button that says "your idea is heavy on PR fluff, contains zero real information and it was in fact a waste of my time to RTFA. Therefore, I would like one of your dollars to compensate for my wasted time"

Re:micro payment opinion submission (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269815)

Isn't that the whole point of shares (apart from getting some money back)

whocares (-1, Flamebait)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269423)

Not me. I've never installed Java on a Linux box. Not out of protest at the license, but simply because I've never come across the need to.

I'm open to being convinced that it's useful, but so far I haven't needed it at all.

Re:whocares - Why is this interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15269590)

Just one troll asking another flamebaiting troll

Re:whocares (0)

$1uck (710826) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269616)

How did this get modded "Interesting" how about "Troll."
If you really don't care, why are you posting here?
Me thinks secretly you must care a lot.

Re:whocares (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15269710)

If you really don't care, why are you posting here? Me thinks secretly you must care a lot.

Why do you care what he cares? Furthermore, how can you justify Java on Linux? Java isn't needed, it's not Free or open source, and compiling it is a pain in the ass. Why should Linux users use a proprietary language born out of a greedy corporation when there are better FOSS alternatives available?

Re:whocares (1)

SirTalon42 (751509) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269912)

Hopefully you're not using OpenOffice or Firefox then.

Re:whocares (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269838)

Read the fucking summary:
It looks like the days of downloading Java every time you re-install a Linux box may be at an end
You're the troll

Re:whocares (1)

$1uck (710826) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270001)

I read the summary, I also read your message if you truly don't care why are you still reading the thread? I mean if you read the summary and don't care why post? But if you want an answer to your question, I guess the people who care are the ones posting.
Me thinks you care even more now.

Programs, getcha programs here! (4, Informative)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269427)

Section 5.3 [debian.org] of the Debian Java FAQ sums up the present licensing issues that prevent Debian from including Sun Java.

I wish Java was more like CPAN (5, Interesting)

johnnnyboy (15145) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269434)


The more I hear calls that Java to be more open source the more I wish all these Java libraries worked like the way CPAN does.

CPAN is great and its what keeps Perl relevant and it works well for the Perl community. All these java libraries bundled with the JDK should be more modular with a lean core distro and then the rest can be organized and installed as modules.

And like everything CPAN all these modules will be peer reviewed by other Java developers in the open source and corporate worlds.

Ah, one can only dream.

Re:I wish Java was more like CPAN (1)

lagerbottom (704499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269715)

/me clutches chest. Is it? Do I hear? Ahhh, a voice of reason.

please no! (1)

asv108 (141455) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269723)

One of the best traits about java is the fact that there is a wide variety of standardized core libraries that are consistant with the JRE version. Anytime I have to install a perl script I cringe at having to install a ton of random libraries through CPAN.

Re:please no! (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269901)

But...that's not true.

ORM, RPC, IoC, and many other TLAs are only supported by third party stuff.

And that stuff gets installed using Ant or Maven...which are very difficult to get working right with a package management system.

Finally, the fact that Java packages are a lot more willing to change their APIs in minor versions than non-java packages are, and you have a portability crisis If you want to use two different java programs that use different versions of the same library, then you have to play monkey business with the classpath, as libraries don't link to specific jars.

If there had been a good language package management system from the beginning (or had they gone with something standard like autoconf) then this wouldn't be an issue.

Re:I wish Java was more like CPAN (2, Interesting)

vdboor (827057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269764)

All these java libraries bundled with the JDK should be more modular with a lean core distro and then the rest can be organized and installed as modules.

So you mean that the distribution should decide which modules/classes it should omit?

That could cripple the standard platform of Java modules developers can depend on. It could cause worst-case scenario's like this one [plan99.net] , quoting:

Debian has packaged Wine in a way different to upstream, and this can cause extremely subtle bugs. One incident that sticks in my mind is where I wasted an entire Sunday afternoon and evening working with a user to track down why a program was crashing when they selected a menu item. It turned out that when the program started it was querying a registry key that didn't exist, and squirreling away a NULL pointer in some internal data structure. And when it tried to access that key it crashed. Why was the key missing? Because the installer invoked the regedit.exe program to merge a pre-written .reg file into the registry, which is more convenient than using the registry apis. No error checking of course because on Windows this cannot fail. And why was regedit.exe missing? Because Debian decided it looked like a "utility" and as such should be in an optional package

Re:I wish Java was more like CPAN (2, Insightful)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269835)

Dumb idea, and that is why you aren't in charge of these things. One of the biggest pains in the ass with perl software is that whenever you run it you have to read a 20 page reamde saying "Before you run this program, you need to run this list of commands in this order so you can install the dependencies." In good scenarios you just run a script first, or in some circumstances you can use the distro's package management, but regardless it is a pain in the ass. Java's "everything and the kitchen sink" approach is way better. You no longer concern yourself with such nonsense. If you distribute a java program, you'll know the receiver has the capability to do graphics, encryption, compression, sound, XML handling, networking, etc... all without having to lift a finger. Java is a platform. I only wish more languages, in particular Python, would get a set of libraries that is as comprehensive as Java's and comes by default. Keep in mind that since the 5.0 JDK you've been able to create a minimal redistributable JRE that includes only what your program needs to run (you use pak200, which is a utility that comes with Java 5.0), but by default the JRE should definitely include everything... it makes life and integration soooo much easier in the end.
Regards,
Steve

Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15269448)

" easier to bundle the JRE with Linux"
does that mean they are going to put it in Linux? I wonder if it would be a LKM or compiled static. That would definatly increase performance!

foster? (3, Insightful)

dghcasp (459766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269456)

... advocates say [open-souring Java] would foster innovative open-source development.

Because there are so few innovative open source java projects right now? Heck, I can hardly keep track.

Leaving aside the politics of open source, and the "I can't play with your toys" argument, the main issue here seems to be the license incompatability that keeps Java from being bundled with the 267 different Linux distributions.

If people want to be innovative, how about working to unify the basic functionality of all those distributions, specifically one common, simple way that works on all distributions and architectures to install 3rd party packages, like, say, Java?

ObMetaDig: And besides, why do you care? Every time I see java on /., the whole thread seems to be "it's slow / no it isn't / GC sucks / no it doesn't / .NET rules / no it doesn't"

Re:foster? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15269637)

Because there are so few innovative open source java projects right now? Heck, I can hardly keep track.

Name one. You can't, because there isn't. The only innovation Java projects have contributed is making modern computers run like shit. Why the fuck does Java make a 2 GHZ/2 gig RAM computer run like molasses? I could add another gig of RAM and it would still run slow.

Re:foster? (2, Funny)

metallic (469828) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269969)

My development machine for J2EE work is a 2ghz machine with a gigabyte of RAM. Even with JBoss and IntelliJ IDEA running, I don't have any performance issues. This is obviously a troll.

Can we get this stuff off the slashdot front page? (0, Troll)

expro (597113) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269475)

Can we get this stuff off the slashdot front page until Sun decides to do something that will make any difference? It is probably so late in the game that nothing they do will.

Run-time, not development tools (2, Insightful)

gvc (167165) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269576)

I don't see how this is any different from tainted binary kernel drivers. They'll allow redistribution of the JRE run-time environment. Big deal.

If they allowed redistribution of JDK compiler and libraries, we'd be making progress.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Re:Run-time, not development tools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15269796)

I don't see how this is any different from tainted binary kernel drivers. They'll allow redistribution of the JRE run-time environment. Big deal.

If they allowed redistribution of JDK compiler and libraries, we'd be making progress.


You don't need the Sun JDK to write programs for the JRE. Heck, you don't even need to use the Java language; there are many projects that have leveraged the Java byte code to target any number of languages at the Java virtual machine.

Being able to include an open source acceptable Sun JRE would be a big help, and nowhere near as controversial as binary drivers. I doubt it'll happen, though; distributions like Debian in particular more or less require complete open source freedom. However, being able to just distribute a repackaged version of Sun's JRE would mean Java could be pop up in non-free or something, instead of having to use java-package and a download from Sun's site, with all the clickety-click EULAs that involves.

re-install a Linux box? (3, Funny)

gall0ws (902335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269604)

Uh?

64-bit? (4, Insightful)

escay (923320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269607)

well they could start with providing the mozilla-firefox java plugin for amd64 systems on linux...libjavaplugin.so, anyone?

I'd Be Happy (3, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269657)

If they'd just fix some broke-ass things about the language. Seems like every time I run up against a limitation in the language, I find a bug open from 1998 complaining about the problem and either closed wontfix or "We'll fix that in a future release of java" and then they don't.

Three recent thorns in my side:

The Process object's destroy method sends a SIGINT or some such rot to the child process, which may or may not kill the child process. There's no way to send a SIGKILL, no way to get the PID of the process, no way to set the process group and no way to get or kill children of the child process.

There's no way to get OS-Specific permission settings on a File. For that reason if you try to archive some files in Java using an InputStream that takes Files, you'll lose the permissions settings on them and the files will restored with something both generic and useless like 644. They make a halfhearted attempt to address this in 1.5, but it's still useless.

It would appear that the only way to get disk space left on the volume is to open a file and start writing 1 byte at a time until you get an IO Exception.

It's deficiencies like this (And the ~50MB VM overhead) that make Java a poor choice for system programming tasks, but the robustness of the language design itself could be so easily changed to address these issues. The fact that it hasn't and that all of these issues have been around for over half a decade lead me to believe that Sun isn't really serious about the language and probably shouldn't be in charge of the standard, either.

Re:I'd Be Happy (1)

mwood (25379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269860)

Not defining a standard library location into which the sysadmin can place locally-required libraries for his users to share is high on my list of jaw-dropping omissions. Having to maintain a 4KB CLASSPATH string for every application is not my idea of robust design.

Re:I'd Be Happy (4, Informative)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269882)

There's no way to get OS-Specific permission settings on a File. For that reason if you try to archive some files in Java using an InputStream that takes Files, you'll lose the permissions settings on them and the files will restored with something both generic and useless like 644. They make a halfhearted attempt to address this in 1.5, but it's still useless.

It would appear that the only way to get disk space left on the volume is to open a file and start writing 1 byte at a time until you get an IO Exception.


These two are finally fixed [sun.com] in Mustang. I agree it has taken long though:

    Three new methods have been added to java.io.File class:

          getFreeSpace()
          getUsableSpace()
          getTotalSpace()
[...]

  Changing File Attributes:

  In Mustang the java.io.File API provides access to the file attributes for changing its readability, ability to write and ability to make it executable. Check out the following methods for playing around with file attributes:

  Changing readability: owner-only, owner or everybody
  Making it writable or read-only: owner-only, owner or everybody
  Making it executable or not executable: owner-only, owner or everybody

Re:I'd Be Happy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15269924)

There's no way to get OS-Specific permission settings on a File. For that reason if you try to archive some files in Java using an InputStream that takes Files, you'll lose the permissions settings on them and the files will restored with something both generic and useless like 644. They make a halfhearted attempt to address this in 1.5, but it's still useless.

It would appear that the only way to get disk space left on the volume is to open a file and start writing 1 byte at a time until you get an IO Exception.


Might want to read up on Java 1.6 as I believe both of these issues have been solved.

Open Source Java Now (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15269686)

Yes, Sun should open source Java right now. That way there can be 10 forks of the project, all of which eventually become incompatible with one another! That would be another win for the already overly complex world of Linux!

Why is the modification required? (1)

JPriest (547211) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269709)

Why does Sun have to open source the JRE in order to have it bundled?
I don't remember seeing anything in the GPL that says it can't share disk space with non-GPL binaries.

Is this what is meant by "choice"?

Re:Why is the modification required? (2, Informative)

cduffy (652) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269794)

They don't have to open source it. They need to stop requiring that it be downloaded directly from their servers and that the user view and affirmatively accept the license for every installation.

What about OpenBSD? (2, Funny)

barbazoo (604828) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269736)

Installing Java on Linux is easy as pie. Try installing it on OpenBSD....

Re:What about OpenBSD? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15269817)

OpenBSD's still around? Didn't Theo shut it down after he couldn't gather enough funds to run it? Too bad. If only he would've used the GPL...

Why not dual-license like OpenOffice.org? (2, Insightful)

benmhall (9092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15269752)

I've never really understood why Sun doesn't just dual-license the Java VM and libraries like it does with OpenOffice. This would allow Linux distributions to include both the JDK and JRE and wouldn't preclude commercial developments. This wouldn't be that different from what Trolltech does with Qt. With Qt, this limits commercial KDE development, but Java already enjoys strong commercial support. If they GPL'd (not LGPL) the JDK, they would open doors to the Open Source community while still supporting their commercial contracts.

I wouldn't think that forks would be a big problem either, as everyone would likely stick to Sun's JDK by default. I certainly haven't run into IBM's JVM very often and one needs to look no further than Mozilla, OpenOffice.org and Qt for evidence that dual-licensing doesn't necessarily lead to uncontrolled forks.

The truly bizarre thing to me is that this hasn't already happened. It's not like Sun is trying to keep Java sources secret. They've already exposed them to the world with their fairly liberal research license.

Mayber things will change. I'm reminded of Eric Sink's comment on Slashdot years ago regarding open sourcing OOo:

"The only glimmer of hope has been Sun, which seems to have a practice of being smart during the even-numbered years and downright silly during the odd-numbered ones."

AKA Stuff All (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15269858)

The article states, "She said the changes affect the Java Runtime Environment (JRE), the software that needs to be loaded on PCs for them to be able to run Java applications."

Developers requires the JSE (Java Standard Environment, formerly J2SE) to build Java applications and the Server VM for better performance with long running and numerically intensive code (including best performance with games).

Many Linux users and developers expect to be able to build applications and run them at optimum speed. This is like being able to distribute Linux so long as you don't distribute gcc.

Re:AKA Stuff All (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15269898)

Developers requires the JSE (Java Standard Environment, formerly J2SE) to build Java applications and the Server VM for better performance with long running and numerically intensive code (including best performance with games).

LOL, there's Java games? What are they, like text adventures and stuff? Because Java sure as hell can't run 3D.

Who cares about seeing the source code? (0)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270033)

The company has resisted formally open-sourcing all of the Java software, but it has dramatically changed the development process around Java and changed licenses to make it easier to see Java source code.

Who cares? I can see the Windows source code if I sign the right NDAs. That's doesn't mean that I can actually do anything with it, though.

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