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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Specifically, he said that:
"I understand why [the OSS community] would like it to be different. From our point of view that would actually be more destructive than helpful. It boils down to forking: they believe that the ability to fork is an absolutely critical right."

The ability to fork has NOTHING to do with the reasons to support OSS. For one, forking only happens when there is a disagreement in the community, but the original and the forked projects tend to continue side by side. And in fact, I'm not a big fan of BSD because they HAVE forked so much.
Secondly, you're confusing open source and free software - OSS is a catch-all term for licenses which allow you to see and modify sources that *includes* the free software (GPL) license, but is not limited to it. I can't think of a *single* FS project that HAS forked, except for *functional* reasons - to make Linux run on hardware that doesn't have an MMU, for example.

Surely one could see Mac OS X and Mac OS Tiger, or Win95/98/ME/NT/XP Pro/XP Home as forks - but are you going to complain about them, too?

Thirdly, whilst we GNU supporters are often accused of being freaks, fundamentalists, etc., increasingly I'm seeing insulting and inaccurate posts on FS and OSS forums like this one, from supporters of more-or-less *proprietary* software, and less from OSS developers and supporters. I think this is a good sign (for us).