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Red Hat Not Satisfied with Sun's New Java License

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the talking-coffee-related-smack dept.

Sun Microsystems 338

twofish writes "According to a Register article Sun Microsystems' new GNU/Linux-friendly Java license does not go far enough for Red Hat. Brian Stevens, Red Hat CTO, says Sun should have open-sourced Java instead. The new license does have the support of Canonical (main Ubuntu sponsor), Gentoo and Debian." From the article: "He says the failure to open-source Java means that it can't be used on millions of $100, Linux-powered PCs envisioned under Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child project, to bring affordable computing to children in developing nations. Negroponte wants only open source software on the machines, according to Red Hat, which is a member of the project."

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That's kind of a cheap shot... (5, Insightful)

nebaz (453974) | more than 8 years ago | (#15368999)

This may not be a popular sentiment here, but I think the statement the failure of open source Java
means that it can't be used on millions of $100, Linux-powered PC's ... to bring affordable computing
to children in developing nations
is a bit of a cheap shot. The way it is stated, it makes Sun look
like some sort of terrible ogre, that is denying children access to computers, when it is the program
creator that does not allow Java on the laptops.

It is similar to the argument people make saying "corporations that make genetically modified food
are causing people in Africa to starve", in countries that forbid the import of genetically modified
food. The policy, not the companies making the food, are what is causing the lack of that particular
food to be used.

Don't get me wrong, it would be great if Sun made Java open source, but what they have now is not evil.
The software is free as in beer to use, and as such would add no more cost to the laptops, if installed, it would just conflict
with the philosophy of the program's founder.

Also, if you want to write your own JVM, Sun has written books [sun.com] to let you do just that.
It is not an easy project, it is similar to JBoss in complexity, but JBoss was written. If the CTO at
RedHat was that concerned about Java not being on the laptops, he could have part of his company work
on an open source JVM implementation. That company has a lot of resources, and would be more able
to manage a project of that complexity than several freelance developers in their free time.

Re:That's kind of a cheap shot... (2, Insightful)

illumin8 (148082) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369043)

The way it is stated, it makes Sun look like some sort of terrible ogre, that is denying children access to computers, when it is the program creator that does not allow Java on the laptops.

Exactly. It's a bit vindictive to say "Sun is preventing kids from running Java", when there is nothing preventing them from freely distributing Java with every kid's laptop, other than their open source only rule that was arbitrarily made by themselves.

From TFA:
Negroponte wants only open source software on the machines, according to Red Hat, which is a member of the project

You can't always have your cake and eat it too. How about a compromise? Only open-source where possible, but free as in beer is OK if there is no better open-source alternative. This would allow people to use a mostly free OS, but still use quality closed-source yet free as in beer software like Java.

Sadly, the Linux community is sometimes blinded by zealotry in cases like this.

Re:That's kind of a cheap shot... (3, Insightful)

sgholt (973993) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369104)

I am thinking that Negroponte probably doesn't really care, Redhat on the other hand would benefit from a open source java....in this situation I don't see why Redhat/Negroponte are being so anal about it...

Re:That's kind of a cheap shot... (3, Insightful)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369309)

I think the funniest part is that the license seems to have Debian's support... and the Debian guys are just about the "worst" OSS zealots (in Stallman's sense of OSS) you can find, I'd like to get more infos of that from guys who read it but if the debian-legal madmen have endorsed or considered Java's new license "good enough"... duh...

Re:That's kind of a cheap shot... (4, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369414)

No, no one of those "debian-legal madmen" you're talking about endorses that license. In fact, only a single person (although it's the DPL) dared to say that it's acceptable for Debian's non-free section, and even then after a personal meeting with a Sun's person on the DebConf.

The license has pretty few clauses that are good enough even for non-free; on the other hand, those "zealots" you're bashing typically have problems with one or two issues per license. Sun's piece of crap is actually worse than their previous license.

Re:That's kind of a cheap shot... (1)

July 21, 2006 (968634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369364)

"but still use quality closed-source yet free as in beer software like Java."
Java is not closed source. The source code is available.

Re:That's kind of a cheap shot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15369434)

That depends on your definition of "arbitrary". It's not just "because we say so". There are good reasons for demanding an Open Source license for all software on these laptops. A device which is supposed to make people in the third world more informed and independent doesn't look very honest when you make its users dependent on the decisions of an American company. Either Java is added as a toy, then it is unnecessary bloat, or it is an integral part of the system, then a non-free license is unacceptable. Another reason against non-free licenses is that whoever gets his software on these things, will shape the information technology future of entire countries, continents even. If you get on that slippery slope, everybody will fall over themselves to add their proprietary software to these machines and try to harvest the fruit of their investment later. But that's not what the project is trying to achieve. It's not a market expansion ploy for first-world IT companies.

Re:That's kind of a cheap shot... (1)

d_jedi (773213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369093)

I absolutely agree. In fact, I was just about to post just about exactly what you did (but I won't, for fear of being modded redundant :->)

The only reason I can see why Negroponte would practically prefer OSS over proprietary software - aside from cost, which for Java isn't an issue - is the ability to modify the source, if necessary.

Flat out rejecting the use of proprietary software (I apologize if I'm misrepresenting his views..) just because it's not open source (ie. if the software already functions as desired, or the creators would be willing to code the desired modifications) is absurd..

Re:That's kind of a cheap shot... (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369178)

I disagree. The idea is to help raise the third world up, not keep them dependant on the first world. By only giving them free software, we give them the ability to make changes, to adapt the technology to their needs. It also gives them an entrance into the IT market, one of the few tech areas that can be entered into with no formal training and done from anywhere in the world. These are very good reasons to say OSS only. If Java wants to be a player there, that up to them. But OSS only is the right option for the laptop program.

Re:That's kind of a cheap shot... (1, Insightful)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369447)

By only giving them free software, we give them the ability to make changes, to adapt the technology to their needs. It also gives them an entrance into the IT market

I'd agree with most of that but see no need for the "only" part. Give them OSS. However, I'd think the goal of such a project would be to expose them to technology. The more you can expose them to, the better of they are. If they want to make changes, etc and learn how to do all that then great they can do that with the OSS provided, but I don't see how you can argue that they'd be better prepared to enter the IT market by ignoring a huge segment of if (closed source is still the vast majority of the IT market). The choice doesn't need to be exclusive, you can give them both. Heck, if available for free (and available for the OS) I'd say you should ship it with MS software as well since thats the most used software in the world. If you want to help them, than give them as much as you can including stuff that will give them experience with the most popular technologies in the world. If its not so much about helping them, but more about proving a point or pushing your personal views, well then thats different.

Re:That's kind of a cheap shot... (1)

KefabiMe (730997) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369160)

Does anyone know exactly what problems Red Hat has with the new Java license? How can Debian, Debian(!) of all distros, support it and not Red Hat?

Redhat *does* work on an Open/Free Java stack... (5, Informative)

jbailey999 (146222) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369164)

Uhh.. Redhat *does* work on a Free Java stack. Look at the commits to http://www.classpath.org/ [classpath.org] and that almost all of the gcj work is done by RedHat folks.

Re:Redhat *does* work on an Open/Free Java stack.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15369182)

And that java substitute is a poor substitute for Sun's Java.

Come back when you have a better replacement product.

Re:That's kind of a cheap shot... (1)

dekemoose (699264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369205)

I hate to say it, but how the heck do they expect Java apps to run well on this $100 laptop anyway? I like Java, my company works mostly in Java, but it can be a resource hog. How is it that they would even want to run it on these stripped down machines?

Re:That's kind of a cheap shot... (0, Troll)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369325)

I hate to say it, but how the heck do they expect Java apps to run well on this $100 laptop anyway? I like Java, my company works mostly in Java, but it can be a resource hog. How is it that they would even want to run it on these stripped down machines?

b0ll0cks... I was running java apps on my old 486 SX 2 50 with win 3.1 and only 4 Meg of RAM way back in '94... I didn't notice any lack of performance then... and the Negroponte machine has better specs than that... way better.

This Java is slow FUD meme has been running ever since MS got their ass kicked by Sun and had to stop distributing that extended MS Java. I wonder why...

Re:That's kind of a cheap shot... (1)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369380)

If I'm not mistaken, the $100 laptop has low CPU power but 1 gig of RAM. Would java run on it? Depends on the java program -- if it requires much CPU, no, but it's RAM-dependent, yes.

Re:That's kind of a cheap shot... (1)

sog_abq (960133) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369211)

I agree with the cheap shot sentament, but realistically, the $100 laptop per child thing is doomed to failure, unless we suddenly shift into a period of deflation.

Re:That's kind of a cheap shot... (1)

Erwos (553607) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369240)

"Don't get me wrong, it would be great if Sun made Java open source, but what they have now is not evil."

Is it non-Free? Yes? Then it is evil. I'm not RMS, I don't even practice what I preach (I dual-boot Windows and Fedora), but an ideal is at least something to hold on to and strive for.

Free as in freedom is the way to go. Don't accept anything less as the optimal solution - doing so just leads us further down the path where Free software becomes the exception, not the norm.

-Erwos (displaying his idealistic zeal for the day)

...About these laptops (1)

PGC (880972) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369375)

Totally off-topic but... I know they don't sell the $100 versions to normal folks ... but where can I get one that meets these same specs... and design !? These seem like the ideal laptops to me .

Re:That's kind of a cheap shot... (2, Insightful)

jrumney (197329) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369383)

It is similar to the argument people make saying "corporations that make genetically modified food are causing people in Africa to starve", in countries that forbid the import of genetically modified food.

Ever heard of terminator seeds? Seen any of the research about how they can spread to contaminate non-patented crops? Corporations that make GM food are causing people in Africa to starve whether countries allow the import of their crops or not.

Re:That's kind of a cheap shot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15369455)

Ever heard of terminator seeds? Seen any of the research about how they can spread to contaminate non-patented crops?

Think that one over a little harder ... you're conflating two mutually exclusive bogeymen. Of course, you're also confusing food with seeds.

not satisfied with what? (4, Insightful)

sfjoe (470510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369015)

Sun never said the new license was the final step. Contrarily, they said they are going to progress slowly:
"No date has been set for open sourcing Java but Sun is anxious to get more developers involved in the JCP and using NetBeans to get their feedback."
What's this bonehead complaining about?

Re:not satisfied with what? (1)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369107)

Sun never said the new license was the final step. Contrarily, they said they are going to progress slowly:
Twelve years and counting...

Well, given the specs for the OLPC 'puters (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15369019)

I guess it's a good thing they won't run Java.

Re:Well, given the specs for the OLPC 'puters (4, Funny)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369075)

Agreed. Their arms would be too tired to crank before the JVM finished classloading.

Whose fault is it if it can't be used? (5, Insightful)

NSash (711724) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369020)

"He says the failure to open-source Java means that it can't be used on millions of $100, Linux-powered PCs envisioned under Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child project, to bring affordable computing to children in developing nations. Negroponte wants only open source software on the machines, according to Red Hat, which is a member of the project."

Well then that's Negroponte's problem, not Sun's. There's nothing in Sun's license that would prevent someone from bundling the JVM with whatever hardware you please.

Debian? (1)

Tester (591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369021)

I suppose Debian has only accepted it into non-free?

Re:Debian? (3, Informative)

Cyclops (1852) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369123)

I suppose Debian has only accepted it into non-free?
Indeed, but without approval from the legal guys [debian.org] , even though he later on said something in his defense [debian.org] , but clearly not well thought enough to make a decision (eg, admits no knowledge of US law).

Before that, the Debian Project leader said someone [debian.org] apparently read the license, but not only was it definitly not analysed in public, but also apparently he did not think it proper to explain anything.

Debian's non-free is not for copyright violation, but for Freedom violation.

Re:Debian? (1)

ENOENT (25325) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369124)

Yup. You have to accept Sun's EULA before the packages will install.

Re:Debian? (2, Informative)

rcw-work (30090) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369133)

Correct [debian.org] .

Sun is a Business... (4, Insightful)

ZSpade (812879) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369022)

Not a Charity. I think it would be fantastic if they opened up for everyone. But they have to look out for ol' number one first, or there won't be any Sun at all. I'm sure they could make it work though, this just isn't their priority, and shouldn't have to be. Red hat may not be happy with it, but last time I checked, Redhat's glee doesn't fill Sun's coffers.

Re:Sun is a Business... (2, Insightful)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369127)

I think it would be fantastic if they opened up for everyone. But they have to look out for ol' number one first, or there won't be any Sun at all.
OK, so explain how making the binary available as a no-charge download contributes more money to their bottom line than releasing it as open source or free software would.

Re:Sun is a Business... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369179)

explain how making the binary available as a no-charge download

For the last time, Java has the source available [java.net] . It just isn't "Free Software" in the sense that you can't release your own binaries or fork the code.

Re:Sun is a Business... (1)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369372)

For the last time, Java has the source available. It just isn't "Free Software"
Yes, so please explain again how it will hurt Sun's bottom line to go the extra step of making it open source. They've gone more than halfway there, but they're not going to get the real benefits of open source without finishing the job.
in the sense that you can't release your own binaries or fork the code.
In other words, it's not even CLOSE to being open source. Being able to release your own binaries is one of the strengths of open source (or free software). If that were allowed, we might actually have a working Java plugin for Firefox and Mozilla for 64-bit Linux.

"Almost open source" isn't good enough, when what's missing is the very thing that makes open source useful and worthwhile.

Re:Sun is a Business... (1)

ZSpade (812879) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369193)

Easy, they still hold the exclusive license this way. No matter what anyone does with it, it still belongs to them, and so they hold a level of control over their product. I could be wrong, maybe I'm misunderstanding, but I'm sure I'll be corrected if so. That's the beauty of posting at slashdot. If you post something in the wrong, you will no doubt be corrected, and learn.

Re:Sun is a Business... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15369322)

No the beauty of slashdot is that you'll get a big pile of answers and you can pick the one you like, right or wrong....

Re:Sun is a Business... (3, Interesting)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369382)

Easy, they still hold the exclusive license this way
If they were to GPL it, they would STILL hold the exclusive license. GPLing it doesn't give away the ownership, and it doesn't prevent the owner from also licensing it under other terms.

The same is true of various other open source licenses.

And in any case, that doesn't answer my question as to how it would hurt their bottom line.

Honesty? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15369027)

Okay ... Redhat is a competitor to Sun. Redhat is supporting an alternative Java implementation. Doesn't that make it likely Redhat has a slanted viewpoint, and would be presenting a slanted viewpoint?

Re:Honesty? (1)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369176)

Redhat isn't trying to make money on alternative Java implementations. They're doing it because the Sun implementation isn't available to them under licensing terms they are willing to accept. If Sun's Java license were open source (or better yet, free software), Redhat would likely not be investing nearly as much money and effort to develop an alternative.

I'm sorry, but how? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15369040)

Java technology is still free to download and develop against. Why exactly does it not being fully OSS prevent it from being on these laptops? It sounds to me like another example of OSS zealots taking their passions too far. You're going to prevent technology from being put in the hands of those in need, just because you don't agree with their license?

I seriously doubt (3, Insightful)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369046)

I seriously doubt the current implementation of Java would fit inside a 400 MHz x86 computer that's designed more to be energy-efficient and small than to be fast.

If Java is to run on the OLPC computer, it needs a smaller, simpler implementation. Sun provides all information neccessary to build one. It's up to Red Hat or any one other than them to make it.

And, BTW, teaching Java to kids?! What do you want? To scare them away?

Re:I seriously doubt (1)

9mm Censor (705379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369202)

"And, BTW, teaching Java to kids?! What do you want? To scare them away?" Yeah, teach them C++ instead.

Re:I seriously doubt (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369275)

You give any kid a compiler and a book on any language, they will do some amazing things. Even if it's only to create a tool for a project.

use only a java subset (1)

free space (13714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369294)

Perhaps they could use a subset of the Java libraries? If J2ME could run on several kilobytes on a mobile phone, what prevents another API subset to work on the specs you mentioned?

Java on the OLPC computer makes a lot of sense. That way the organizers can use any hardware and software configuration, ( even change the HW and SW in future models if they find cheaper alternatives) and not worry about re-developing applications. also, tons of educational Java applets would be instantly available to the new machines. perhaps even bundled with it.

and kids need not fear learning Java. There are tons [robert-tolksdorf.de] of languages including scheme, python and others, that run on the java VM.

Re:I seriously doubt (0, Redundant)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369328)

"And, BTW, teaching Java to kids?! What do you want? To scare them away?"

Tell that to the millions of kids out there who program in Visual Basic.NET.

Re:I seriously doubt (1, Informative)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369373)

Except for certain math co-processor functions used for 3-d graphics, Java is rarely less than 50% as fast as C and often significantly faster.

If that seems counter-intuitive, consider that java compiles into machine code (at run time) that is run time-optimized.

For instance, if it notices that it's frequently calling a series of functions with a certain set of values and those functions don't change state, it could calculate the return and skip calling the function altogether.

Although that may not be an exact representation of what's going on, some of the optimizations are much more tricky, and they are across the board. These are things that C and C++ (and even assembly) physically can't compete with.

Here's another trick, one C++ can't compete with. In an OO language, you often allocate thousands of objects a second--that's extremely typical. In C++, it is necessary to spend execution time to physically recover the space of each object that has been allocated. In Java, the management process has gotten to the point where all it does is reserve the few objects it wants to keep then wipe the rest of the objects at once (like returning from a call, you recover the entire stack at once but for permanent heap memory instead of stack memory)

Or are you talking about the physical size of the JRE? It's 13mb, I'm not sure how much it expands to but considering that it's mostly a jar (compressed already), it should be much more efficient that C/C++ libraries. On top of that, since none of it's statically linked, each nontrivial Java app placed on the laptop should be smaller than the equivalent C/C++ app (Especially since byte code was invented to reduce size first--it was used in Excel to reduce code size long before Java was invented)

So, umm, in what way won't it fit?

Oh, and on top of that, to say something like java will scare kids away reveals much more about what kind of a programmer you are than I'd personally be comfortable with myself.

Debian? (2, Informative)

TopSpin (753) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369059)

The /. post mentions "support" from Debian, Ubuntu and Gentoo, but nothing more. A press release [sun.com] from Sun contains a quote from Anthony Towns:

"We are really pleased to see Sun's increasing involvement in the free software community, from the opening of the Solaris Operating System source and now the re-licensing of Java technology to be compatible with GNU/Linux distributions, and are looking forward to building stronger ties with the Sun community in the future", said Anthony Towns, Debian Project Leader.

Marketing speak from Debian? Anyhow, it does confirm that Debian is convinced this is open enough "to be compatible."

Re:Debian? (5, Informative)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369384)

Not from Debian, just from Anthony Towns. He was soundly thrashed [debian.org] for this on debian-legal and debian-devel -- he's pretty much the only person who seems to believe Sun's new license is any good.

Re:Debian? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369392)

> Marketing speak from Debian?

Unfortunately, yes.

> Anyhow, it does confirm that Debian is convinced this is open
> enough "to be compatible."

This is by no means settled.

Re:Debian? (1)

wuzzeb (216420) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369416)

Actually, there is a lot of discussion going on right now on the debian-devel and debian-legal mailing lists about if the new SUN License is compatible. See this thread [debian.org] on debian-legal to follow the discussion. People are calling for Sun's Java to be removed from non-free.

Won't be on $100 laptops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15369073)

What can you run on something that doesn't exist, anyway?

NOT "GNU/Linux friendly" (4, Insightful)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369083)

This license isn't even remotely "GNU/Linux friendly". It's neither "open source" nor "free software". It's "The Emperor's New License". Sun wants to have their cake and eat it too; they want the benefits of open source without actually opening the source.

Re:NOT "GNU/Linux friendly" (5, Insightful)

0xABADC0DA (867955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369219)

Well if you actually RTFA, Red Hat wants to hack the JVM so that it supports real-time features. So in other words, they want their own Red Hat Realtime Java fork. Wtf up with that? Sun gives them a distributable Java and they say they also need to hack up their own version of it.

It sounds like Red Hat has it's cake, now it wants to eat Sun's too. Me, I just want emerge not to bail when it gets to java.

Re:NOT "GNU/Linux friendly" (1)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369401)

Well if you actually RTFA, Red Hat wants to hack the JVM so that it supports real-time features.
What's wrong with Red Hat wanting to add real-time features?
So in other words, they want their own Red Hat Realtime Java fork.
So?

If the hypothetical Red Hat version passed the Java conformance testing, they could call it Java. If it didn't, they'd have to call it something else. Either way it doesn't hurt Sun.

It's entirely possible that Red Hat might do a good job of it, and Sun might choose to include Red Hat's work in the official Java. That would be a win for everyone, Sun included.

It's easy to throw around words like "hack" and "fork" and make them sound scary. It's much more difficult to come up with a rational explanation of how open-sourcing Java would actually harm Sun.

Re:NOT "GNU/Linux friendly" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15369261)

there is no need for a more open license, because there are no benefits to receive from open source. the only thing they needed was redistribution on the zealots' OSes, and this license gets them that. beyond that, there is nothing. i don't want j. random opensource hacker submitting patches to sun. there's problem enough already with mediocre 3rd-party contributions (like the date functions or java3d) and a deluge of low-quality submissions or--worse--additions would be sure to follow. the jcp has serious flaws, but it's the best way so far to make changes to java core.

the model that has served the open source community very well thus far is the idea of interdependent, independently-developed component libraries stacked atop each other, and this is how i would prefer to see java extensions developed. for example, java3d will never be a part of the core distribution because open source projects like jme have exceeded it in reach; this is good, and it is how java core and java open source can coexist.

Re:NOT "GNU/Linux friendly" (2, Insightful)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369421)

the only thing they needed was redistribution on the zealots' OSes, and this license gets them that.
Actually it doesn't. It was put into Debian non-free without proper vetting of the license, and will likely be pulled out again. It's not going into Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Fedora.
i don't want j. random opensource hacker submitting patches to sun.
That's another red herring. Making Java truly open source doesn't make it any more or less difficult for people to submit bogus patches to Sun. As you point out, it already happens. If some of these have already made it into Java, that's Sun's fault for accepting them.

On the other hand, making it open source will increase the pool of programmers who are willing to contribute to it, so the probability of there being some good contributions goes up.

Re:NOT "GNU/Linux friendly" (1)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369274)

It's neither "open source" nor "free software"
The Stallmans (and apparently Nicholas Negropontes) of the world aside, it STILL, and always has, counted as free-as-in-beer.

Jeezus, people, get over this self-righteous trip about source code. As an SE, I appreciate having source code available, but will in general just run what works.

And that best describes 99.999% of the planet - They don't care about your BS philosophies. They just want a cool app to edit their digital pictures. A solitaire clone. An MP3 and DVD player (and they don't care if the second of those breaks a law they don't understand, either). An office productivity suite, whatever you call it and whatever (open or not) file formats it uses.


I seriously don't mean this as a troll - I do understand the importance of FOSS. But the zealots pushing so hard for its ubiquity will only end up killing it without at least a little compromise. Keep in mind that "we" count as an extremely small minority. The vast majority don't even know the issue exists! And of those who do, the vast majority just want free software and don't even have the ability to compile their own, much less make modifications to the source code.

Re:NOT "GNU/Linux friendly" (3, Insightful)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369339)

Jeezus, people, get over this self-righteous trip about source code. As an SE, I appreciate having source code available, but will in general just run what works.
That's EXACTLY why it would be better for it to be open source (or free software). Then we could actually hack together a working Java plugin for Linux on 64-bit Athlon64/Opteron platforms, since Sun is apparently unwilling to do so. That's just ONE example of how the current closed-source JDK is deficcient but could be fixed if it was open source.

Negroponte's project (-1, Flamebait)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369085)

Negroponte's project will fail for many reasons and apparently this is one of them: just like the other ones, Negroponte brought them all upon the project by himself.
He refused to let free market forces help him bring the price down: his stubborness in "not being a business" will simply lead to much higher prices for his laptops. His apparent zealotry wrt OSS will cost him the forced abandonment of many good pieces of software - Java for one. No, don't even try to say this is Sun's fault - Negroponte deliberately chose not to use anything non-OSS and Java just happens to fit this definition.
When his project finally crashes and burns, or is simply quietly forgotten, I imagine the wailing that will arise out of the fundamentalists all over the left: "Big Business hates poor children" "Developers want to ensnare starving children into their proprietary platform! OH NOES!". Of course, actually donating to his cause might further the project a bit - but hey, rich capitalists should take care of that, certainly not *me*!
Still, the point of this post is that Negroponte should learn to compromise a bit and bring the result home. Adopting Java would have done NO HARM to the children who will use his computers (if ever). But I guess RMS will approve of Negroponte's proud stance against tainted software.

Re:Negroponte's project (1)

Null Nihils (965047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369181)

I'd rather not feed the trolls, but I'd like to point out that Negroponte's project is... Negroponte's project! If you would like to start your own laptops-for-starving-children project and do things differently, go right ahead! After all, its good that we're all Thinking Of The Children.

Re:Negroponte's project (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15369231)

I'd like to point out that Negroponte's project is... Negroponte's project!

Key word being "Negroponte". In all probability, no starving kid is ever going to get a crank-powered laptop, but Negroponte is getting tons of self-promotion.

Re:Negroponte's project (1)

ThePopeLayton (868042) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369335)

Negroponte's project will fail for many reasons

You're right his project may fail in the sense that his laptops never get used on the wide scale that he is planning. But I disagree that the project is going to be a failure. The wide spread media he has recieved has publicly seeded the idea of computers in 3rd world countries. If his implementation fails it is only a matter of time before someone else comes in and completes it. With the open source community growing every day there is certainly the required software, and with hardware prices falling every day the hardware will not be an issue.
So if he fails it will be a failure on the political or buisness side of things, and an idea that stands to benefit so much of the world someone will eventually pick up the bricks and finish the project. So in that sense the project cannot and will not fail.

Why would you want java on there anyway? (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369090)

I mean, I know why, but it's going to run like shit. I'm not saying that Java programs are slow or anything, but running Java on top of your OS is just adding weight and complexity, and we're talking about systems with extremely minimal specifications anyway. The machines don't need to run every program out there and Java on the web (as transmitted to browsers) is likely losing importance what with the whole AJAX thing.

Just the windows install for the latest JRE is 7.1 MB. That's the compressed package. It probably blows up to be twice that size. Java also has some noticable memory consumption overhead. Is it worth it on more capable systems? Sure. Is it worth it on this little toy computer? Hell no.

Re:Why would you want java on there anyway? (-1, Flamebait)

vivek7006 (585218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369190)

running Java on top of your OS is just adding weight and complexity

Could you pass along the crack that you are smoking?

Re:Why would you want java on there anyway? (1)

pilkul (667659) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369258)

Er, I actually like Java, but since when does it not add weight and complexity? Has it been so optimized now that it drains no system resources at all? Like it or not, Java is still a fairly large, demanding system and it's not a great idea to run it on systems with low RAM.

Re:Why would you want java on there anyway? (2, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369253)

You're basically responding to Java as it was originally marketed years ago: web-distributed and "write once run anywhere". Nobody believes that shit anymore, not even Sun. Nowadays, Java is just a software platform.

You attitude towards the "weight and complexity" of Java is also out of date. Early versions of Java had a reputation (deserved, alas) for being bloated and slow. But nowadays, the Java runtime isn't any heavier or more complex than most of the runtimes you need to run most of the software out there. Even a C++ program, if it has any features had all, has a heavy-duty runtime. Besides which, the optimizing features [sun.com] of Sun's Java VM adds power, it doesn't take it away.

In any case, the specs [laptop.org] of the $100 laptop are not that bad. Aside from lacking a hard disk, it's not much less powerful than a typical laptop sold in the US about 5 years ago.

Re:Why would you want java on there anyway? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369365)

You will need the C and C++ runtimes to run any decent selection of non-GUI software, so they will be there anywhere. Is there any software considered a must-have on a linux system that requires Java that would run acceptably on that hardware? there's a lot of Azureus fans out there but these things don't have any storage to speak of and Azureus is slow on just about any system...

Re:Why would you want java on there anyway? (1)

cortana (588495) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369330)

$ aptitude show sun-java5-{bin,jre} | grep Size
Uncompressed Size: 66.6M
Uncompressed Size: 15.9M

The original .debs are 22M and 7.1M respectively. That's some compression!

Re:Why would you want java on there anyway? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369420)

I get 67.2M and 16.1M respectively on Linux (ubuntu dapper drake) for .deb files of 21.1 and 7.0 MB... just for reference.

Re:Why would you want java on there anyway? (1)

intangible (252848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369332)

Have you downloaded the .NET framework?

Re:Why would you want java on there anyway? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369351)

I wouldn't put Mono on there either, nor would I run Windows with .net on a machine with those specs, so I don't know what that has to do with anything.

Money. (4, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369100)

If Sun fully opensources Java like Redhat wants them to it will result in Sun losing millions per year in license fees from IBM and others. This will harm Sun, one of Redhat's major opponents.

Re:Money. (0, Offtopic)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369146)

Nah, they can just charge millions for testing and logos.

Re:Money. (2, Informative)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369152)

If Sun fully opensources Java like Redhat wants them to it will result in Sun losing millions per year in license fees from IBM and others.
I don't think so. The reason that IBM and others pay license fees is that they want something more from Sun than just to download the binaries and sources, which Sun lets them do without paying any fees.

License terms? (1)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369106)

What are the terms of the DLJ license that Sun has created for this? What part of it is Red Hat not happy with? The article doesn't seem to mention any of these details, except that Sun has changed to this new license, and that Red Hat doesn't think it goes far enough.

Anyone have the details, please?

CC No-No? (1, Offtopic)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369112)

Recently I've seen arguments [open-xchange.org] that the Creative Commons license is incompatible with Debian distribution, even if the code accompanying the CC content is GPL. That same argument seems to fault the CC license for its anticommerce clause [open-xchange.org] .

Re:CC No-No? (1)

rmm4pi8 (680224) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369229)

CC isn't a monolithic license, but rather a package of licensing options. CC-sa (share-alike) is essentially the same as GPL, CC-by is roughly the same as the old 4-clause BSD license, etc. Certainly CC-nc (non-commercial) would be inappropriate for inclusion in a Debian system, since many commercial outfits run on Debian. So it just depends on which CC license is used; not all CC licenses are created equal, and certainly not all are GPL compatible or meet the Debian freedom guidelines.

Re:CC No-No? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369244)

Repeat after me- there is no such thing as a Creative Commons license.

What we have instead is a set of licenses. Some count as open source. Some do not. There's even a CC licenses that allows the user no rights- basicly it means the data is completely proprietary. You can't copy it, use it, or modify it.

SO when you want to talk about a CC license, specify which one you mean. Otherwise no answer is possible.

Re:CC No-No? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369329)

Repeat after me: "click before talking".

I did specify which license, by linking to the arguments about it. The second of the two linked pages even quotes the specific license's clause.

Having several CC licenses, only one of which is under discussion, does not mean that there is no such thing as a CC license. It means there are several such things as a CC license.

If you want me to take your advice, earn some respect by dropping the obnoxious, unearned condescension, the arrogance of ignoring the content you're criticizing, the basic failures of logic.

Re:CC No-No? (1)

trollable (928694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369473)

I did specify which license, by linking to the arguments about it.
You didn't.

I've been sensing... (2, Insightful)

Null Nihils (965047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369135)

a whole lot of "peer pressure" in all areas of the industry against Sun's Java technology. The current "you should open-source it" demand doesn't sound new to my ears, I'm pretty sure I've been hearing it for years.

Although a platform in and of itself, Java is built on its own Object-Oriented language, and most people expect languages to be public-domain-ish, like C++, which is still a tremendously popular language despite its relative age and quirks.

However, when it comes to C++, there is no "official" implementation outside of the basic STL and C libraries. Java, on the other hand, isn't just a language, it comes with a platform that ties in with what most developers expect to have available when they use the language.

The dilemma is fairly obvious. If Sun tries to monopolize Java, Java will likely become marginalized (especially since it now competes on some levels with .NET) However, if Sun makes Java freer, Sun runs the risk of marginalizing themselves as a vendor.

In the meantime, others in the market (and other markets) will continue to apply pressure to get better access to the Java language/platform, simply because in terms of languages and platforms, openness is advantageous for everyone developing with it (unless you're talking to MS.)

Hate Digg? Read this! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15369162)

Go to Digg - make an account if you don't already have one, and for as many stories as you care to, mod all of the positive comments down, and all of the negative comments up. Even some of the long-running stories still have comments around 0 - just a few Slashdotters could tip the scales.

Have any of you assholes who bitch (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15369186)

about how RedHat are ungrateful bastards actually read the license [java.net] ? It has some serious nastiness in it.

Section 2 says you may not use it to develop Java software that is to be run on another system or use it in conjunction with any other language that implements similar APIs.

Section 4 says that if your OS fails to implement any functionality Sun wishes to use for the Java runtime you have 90 days to make it happen or you must stop distributing the runtime.

Beware of greeks bearing gifts is all I say.

Re:Have any of you assholes who bitch (2, Interesting)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369468)

As flamy as this AC's post may be, I'm afriad I have to agree with him or her. These are potentially serious "gotchas" that could cause real problems for devs who include java with their OSes and have apparently been overlooked. Sun hasn't exploited these sections of their license recently to my knowledge, but they wouldn't be there if they didn't intend to. Makes me wonder if they weren't trying for a dirty tactic there -- get the community dependent on their java and then exploit the license to unduly influence it. Read it yourself and think about what a corporate exec could do with this.

And we're surprised by this how? (2, Interesting)

suitepotato (863945) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369194)

Red Hat is dead on the money with this. Unless Sun goes OSS for Java 100%, then it is still attached to the closed-source world and that causes certain problems.

More to the point, why do so many people have their hats on so tight that they can't think straight when it comes to Sun? Like Netscape and Oracle, people are willing to overlook a huge number of idiocies in certain companies in the name of united hate towards Microsoft as if Microsoft was the only closed source software publisher. In the end, THAT is what this about because even if every byte of Java's code was naked to the world, it isn't going to be any less slow or bloated. Fixing Java and spreading it is NOT what this is about.

Sun has plenty of baggage but positioned Java as if they could have their cake and eat it too: uber-cross-platform but closed source. Everyone should buy into it as if it came from the masses organically instead of top-down from Sun, as if it was open when it wasn't, and adopt it while shouting crap at Microsoft about Visual Basic, and so forth.

So now the OSS community which has so many coders so deeply psychologically invested in Java and the potential future, despite that future to date falling abysmally short of any of the initial propaganda, finds that they can't ignore the chickens who came home to roost and are laying eggs all over the sofa and desk.

Time to get with it and either pressure Sun or let the issue drop and come up with a totally OSS cross-platform language. Oh, I forgot. We have them but we still hold this childish fascination with the legend of Sun as competition for Microsoft when they are demonstrably not and their flagship OS Solaris is being kicked aside for SuSE, Ubuntu, and Fedora Core here, there, and everywhere. If the OSS community wants to continue this idiot face-off with Microsoft, the it needs to stop clinging to the apron-strings of companies that are in the end not one bit different.

Whichever way Sun goes on this, the OSS community can't let that be an influence or controlling factor in anything. Life must go on, Java or not. Not as though I use it for more than KoLMafia [sourceforge.net] anyhow. Give me something that is fast, open, and cross platform that lives and dies by its own credentials and value. NOT something crappy being clung to for psycho-political reasons.

Re:And we're surprised by this how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15369310)

You clearly haven't used Java in over five years. The UI, while still not at native win32 speeds, is entirely usable on the desktop. In the server market Java is well established and established well. Get with it will ya?

Oh, and Macs are cool now, welcome to 2006.

Sun still afraid (3, Insightful)

bobs666 (146801) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369207)

In the previous article article [slashdot.org] Sun was asking for help "... how to best ... prevent forking and fragmentation".

It seems They are afraid some one will provide better support for java then Sun. Perhaps the worst possibility is that Micro$oft will provide that support. :p

Re:Sun still afraid (1)

nickthecook (960608) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369366)

I think you're right on the money about Sun being scared of having Java highjacked, but I think they're more worried about IBM than Microsoft.

Re:Sun still afraid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15369389)

Learn the difference between 'than' and 'then', it's not that hard.

Also, quit being a stupid linux fanboy typing, 'Micro$oft'.

grasping for straws (3, Funny)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369213)

"He says the failure to open-source Java means that it can't be used on millions of $100, Linux-powered PCs envisioned under Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child project,"

Well ahem, if that's his only good argument ....

Sun really needs to embrace this $100 computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15369237)

If these cheap computers really work and get distributed to all these kids in the world, then these computers will influence the next generation of software users and developers. If the people making these machines refuse to put Java on them, for whatever reason, then that next generation will grow up with little or no Java exposure, and the use of Java will decline into the sunset. Sun needs to be friendly to these people. They really want Java to be on these machines. It takes only one generation to change the world.

Good! (0, Flamebait)

lewp (95638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369260)

He says the failure to open-source Java means that it can't be used on millions of $100, Linux-powered PCs envisioned under Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child project, to bring affordable computing to children in developing nations.

Keeping these kids the hell away from Java is a good way to give them an advantage over all those poor kids learning to program in developed nations.

Let's not be too hard on SUN... (2, Insightful)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369284)

Sun got burned pretty bad by Microsoft when Billy boy and his corporate thugs decided to use their monopoly OS to hijack Java. I don't blame SUN for moving slowly with license changes. It was only their license that stopped Microsoft.

As far as Java being Open Source, hasn't Java source code been available for years? Are we talking open source or GPL'd?

Re:Let's not be too hard on SUN... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369413)

> As far as Java being Open Source, hasn't Java source code been
> available for years? Are we talking open source or GPL'd?

We are talking about Open Source. "You can look at the source but only if you agree to this restrictive contract" isn't Open Source.

The whole thing is lame. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15369314)

Just read the Java license. One of the things limiting the distribution of the JRE is that you're not allowed to ship other products which change or replace certain parts of the JRE. Guess what software like gij, fastjar, kaffe and the likes are doing ? Other than this limitation I see no obstruction what so ever to ship Sun's JRE with your average Linux distribution. I mean; gimme a break, I can even package up the entire JRE with my (open source) software in order to make it act like a stand alone executable (or to make sure its always using a specific JRE).

Next to that I have full access to use the Java source code, I can use any knowledge I obtain from studying it and can even use parts and pieces from the code for my own good as long as I'm not trying to this this for commercial benefit. Isn't that also what open source is about, share and share alike. Spread the knowledge? As long as you're doing that you can just about do anything with the Java source.

So please, spare me all of this bullshit about restrictive licenses. I think the whole real issue is driven by a bunch of people in the background who are basicly hoping to get into projects which can make some money out of this. The GPL leaves enough playroom for this (see RHES) but other licenses appearantly leave out these options entirely. And how peculiar; these happen to be the exact licenses which have been under fire from just about every average OS zealot out there. Do I smell something fishy here ?

Leave Java Alone! (5, Informative)

wizardmax (555747) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369315)

I'm really tired of people railing on Sun for not open sourcing Java. Leave Sun and Java out of it. Its semi-open source and it works! No fragmentation. Works on multiple platforms. What else do you want? You want a fully open source language? Use Python. One of the things I absolutely love about Java is that there is One Java. One JVM (that anyone really needs). I don't have to deal with many different JVM's with different problems. Simply this, look at Linux, its good and all, but its 80% done and will never be done. I don't want that to happen to Java too. Simply, leave my Java alone.

To heck with Red Hat - rest of us should move on (1)

MarkWatson (189759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369316)

Try leaving politics aside and do what benefits the most people.

Is Red Hat still a viable business? I am just curious - I don't use their stuff.

Also, didn't Red Hat buy JBoss? Why on earth would they not be strongly motivated to ship with built in JREs?

Re:To heck with Red Hat - rest of us should move o (1)

trollable (928694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369412)

Also, didn't Red Hat buy JBoss? Why on earth would they not be strongly motivated to ship with built in JREs?
Sure they are. Maybe that's why they want a better license.

man... (2, Insightful)

sentientbrendan (316150) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369348)

What next, are they going to refuse to include the linux *kernel* because it doesn't use the latest version of the GNU license? Maybe they will throw in some crappy hurd kernel, then make their users go compile the linux kernel themselves if they want that... Then they can complain about how much linus is hurting open source software by not using the license they want.

Where do they get off demanding that sun or any company release its software under any particular license? Sun is *already* giving away their software for free. Red Hat and others should consider themselves lucky that it gets to sell software that it didn't even write in the first place. The people that are acting to *prevent* anyone from getting access to java are the linux distro makers who refuse to put java in.

This is nothing but an inconvenience for users. Who seriously does not go ahead and install sun java anyway? Who is not inconvenienced by the fact that most distros refuse to integrate it into their package management scheme?

There's literally no reason that red hat, ubuntu and others couldn't package sun java. They only do it out of a desire to strongarm sun into using a different license which will not provide any benefit to their user base. If I was a shareholder, I would punish them severely for this nonsense, as it doesn't serve any kind of business end that I can see, and is more reminiscent of the behavior of the FSF than a for profit company. Someone needs to remind them that they are obligated to pursue the ends of their users and their shareholders before anything else.

Not Supported By Debian (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 8 years ago | (#15369376)

> The new license does have the support ... Debian."

This is not true. The package has been added to Non-free (without adequate discussion IMHO) but it may not stay, and it most definitely will not go into Main.

This package is far from Free, and may not even be legal for Debian to distribute in Non-free.
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