Linked by Andy Roberts on Thu 9th Jun 2005 20:58 UTC
Java The recent announcement from Apache regarding their plans to embark on their own J2SE implementation called Harmony has re-ignited the long-running Java/OSS debate. James "Father of Java" Gosling reacted in an unexpected way by giving a misleading view of what open source is really all about. Now that the dust has settled a little bit, it's time for an article that is not championing the cause for the relicensing of Sun's implementation under more permissive, open source terms, but simply a look at what could (and could not) happen under the open source model.
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Defending Java
by Anonymous on Thu 9th Jun 2005 22:22 UTC

1. OSS doesn't mean that Sun loses control of its Java platform (NB Sun never had control of the clean-room implementations in the first place).

Let's just shoot this theory by saying if IBM gets hold of Java it can effectively usurp being the "gatekeeper" of all things Java. Now everybody lines up for IBM's Java services, IBM's tools and IBM's consultants. Microsoft came close but Sun made them backoff. A clean room Java could never be called Java so how do you tell your customers that it works like **** (where **** are the letters J, A, V, A)

2. OSS doesn't mean that any one can mess with the source - you copy it and mess with your own.

Let's say IBM messes with their own copy of Java, now IBM Global services goes and installs IBM's java at all customers place, boom, Java from Sun and Java from IBM are now incompatible - who's Java will the Open Source community trust?. (I think the answer is clear - it's IBM's Java beacuse of all the brown-nosing IBM does).

Remember how Mandrake was a fork of Redhat and suddenly Mandrake became the most popular distro ( - that's forking in progress. A lot of things have forked - eg X.Org from XFree86 - and all because of a license. Xemacs from Emacs and a lot of cases, the fork has become the standard much to the discredit of the original developers.

3. OSS doesn't mean forking. If derivatives do come, then they don't twist anyone's arm to force them to use it.

Oh yes they do!. OSS zealots will rant-rave-screem if they don't get their way - look at how Ubuntu forked from Debian and has effectively replaced Debian as a defacto "debian" distro.

There must be a compelling reason for it. Therefore, enterprise customers can stick with Sun - whilst the OSS boys play with their toys - and needn't go running to the hills after all.

Sun's got the right to keep Java closed and more power to them if they managed to make Java as successful as it is today.

Too bloody bad the open source people stand around with a feeling of entitlement while companies are doing innovative things like Java, PDF (Adobe), AAC (Apple). Do something to counter Java and .Net but essentially threatening to make open source clones of them ain't fooling anybody into submission.