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About open licensing of Java SE

Posted by fabriziogiudici on November 8, 2006 at 4:36 AM PST

I'm opening a small parenthesis in my thematic sequence of blog entries to talk about something I've just read on the Dr. Dobb's Portal. Looks like Sun is going to use GPL for the upcoming open source licensing of Java Standard Edition. I'm not going to discuss if it's the "best" license (personally I don't like it, but I understand that the choice has some strong rationale), but rather which is the impact for developers and architects.

In facts, GPL is not compatibile with a number of other popular licenses (e.g. Apache License 2) - the consequence, which I bet is not known by a lot of developers and architects - is that you can't mix libraries or frameworks with incompatible licenses.

So, what about mixing the new GPL Java SE with an Apache library? Common sense would suggest that as this choice has been clearly planned, in most cases there will be no issues. But am I right?

I'm sure that Sun is already doing it, but it's important that now they work on a good communication strategy to let us know all the implications of this move (also because I'm sure that most of architects and developers would like to spend just a few time on legal issues by learning from authoritative sources). In this way everybody will benefit from the open sourcing of Java, at the same time minimizing any negative impact.

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