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Mustang and Licensing

Posted by danese on June 27, 2005 at 4:01 PM PDT

Five years after I offered to quit Sun because I despaired of ever seeing a real attempt at building community behind Java source code, it seems they've finally thought again about participation and have fashioned a plan that is pretty close to what I was recommending...back in the day :-). Except that is for the licensing.

I'm at JavaONE listening to Graham Hamilton talk about the JDL, JRL and JIUL licenses for Java. Yes, that's right. They've taken the SCSL apart into 3 licenses!!! The JRL has been around for awhile (last JavaONE in fact) and specifies what you can do if you're a researcher. In terms it is not substantially different than SCSL's advice for researchers. Then there's the JDL, which is all the commercial terms. Finally, there's this new license that allows you to compile fixes into YOUR copy of Java, so long as you're not distributing it (eg. for personal use) most Open Source licensing situations that last one isn't even needed, since the licenses trigger on distribution, and personal use is an "anything goes" type of situation.

Yesterday Graham said that he's happy to have Apache create Harmony, but it looks like wasted effort when you can join Mustang and "influence the future direction", but only under the still-proprietary licensing scheme that is SCSL cleaved in thirds.

Looking at Sun's decision today (finally) to truly open source J2EE reference implementation, which I have to believe was heavily influenced by the recent IBM acquision of Geronimo's principle engineers (through GlueCode)...I have to wonder how long it will take Harmony to have a similar effect on Mustang. Still, its gratifying to see Sun finally work to build community in the actual development of Java Technology upon which so many depend.