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Special November 2006 Coverage, Day Three

Posted by editor on November 15, 2006 at 7:32 AM PST

Time to dig in and see what we can do

Oh, I know, in internet time, the GPL open-source Java release is so two days ago. Literally. Slashdot has moved on to five stories a day about problems with the PlayStation 3, which will surely come as a bummer to the kids already waiting outside Best Buy for Friday's release.

But here's the thing: now that the first bits are here -- javac, HotSpot, phoneME, etc. -- what are you going to do with them? What are you able to do with them?" There are more possibilities today than there were last week. In a new blog, Bruce Boyes celebrates the end of the "Java Trap", a term originally coined by Richard Stallman, in No more "Java Trap" as Java goes open source?, calling for unification around a solid ME implementation:

Which brings me back to Stallman's remarks about the Java Trap. What about the C and assembly code trap? It's all a big trap, or more accurately, a Tar Pit. The sooner we can unstick ourselves, the sooner we can get Real Work done. And Java still gives us the best hope of doing that. Open-sourcing Java, while a step in the right direction, is just a step. There's a lot more that needs to be done to make developers more productive.

Meanwhile, David Orme has posted some Concerns about GPL-licensed Java, one of which reads like this:

All of us who program in Java for a living refer to the JDK source code from time to time.
Suppose one day, you read something from LinkedList and decide that you need a MappedList, so you copy some snippets from LinkedList into your MappedList class to create it.
Congratulations, you just licensed your entire project under the GPL.
Even worse, if you read some clever algorithm somewhere in the JDK source code and then rewrite it in a similar manner in your own code, your own code might be considered a derivative work of the JDK, and thus come under the GPL.

David Herron takes on these questions in his blog Re: Concerns about GPL-licensed Java, and replies to this concern by pointing out that carelessness in handling licenses and where you copy code from is not the GPL's fault, not Sun's fault, and not Java's fault. "If you're going to be sloppy about where you get your code from, and the licenses that code is under, then you deserve whatever problem that befalls you."

In other front-page commentaries, Tim Bray's Java is Free discusses the history and challenges of the choice of GPL, and acknowledges that some people argued for other options. Robert Cooper's Java GPLed wonders aloud what it will take to win over elements of the Linux crowd who may be slow to recognize that their issues have been addressed. Roger Brinkley talks about JavaHelp's Emancipation, while Danese Cooper acknowledges (and lists!) The People Who Brought You FOSS Java. Also, Red Hat has posted a few video commentaries praising the GPL release as A Great Day for Open Source.

As for digging into the projects themselves, Tom Ball discusses how to get started Hacking Open Source javac, while Stuart Marks' blog How the Leopard Got His Spots explains the terminology of "phoneME Feature" and "phoneME Advanced" used in the Mobile & Embedded community.

Days before the announcement, James Gosling shared his thoughts on open-source licensing with the SDN. In his post announcement follow-up, James Gosling on Open Sourcing Sun's Java Platform Implementations, Part 2, he discusses the impacts of the release and where Java goes from here. In another article about impacts, Artima discusses What Open-Source Java Means for the JCP with JCP program manager Heather Vancura.

Today's poll question is "Have you tried out GlassFish?" Cast your vote on the front page, then visit the results page for current tallies and discussion.

Finally, the Duke project has A Brief History of the Green Project, the handheld project that gave rise to Oak (which later became Java) and the Duke mascot.


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Time to dig in and see what we can do