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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The benefit of OSSS
by John Kloosterman on Mon 13th Jun 2005 12:52 UTC

I think there is one good reason to make things like Java open source. That reason is to be vendor-independent. As long as things like Java is kept under the hood of a company they are vurnable.

Let me explain... As long as the company holding the source code is healthly there is no problen (at least few). But what happens when that company comes in heavy weather, or worse, goes bankrupt. What happens to the source code?

When in heavy weather the company could easely decide to put an more restrictive licence on the code and aske a fine for it. Hey - they need the income you know... Who would stop them? The source code is not pulic - is theirs! So everyone using the code would pay for it to keep using it. Pulling the code out of a system depending on it would not be easy - if not impossible..

When they go bankrupt the picture even darkens. It is possible another big company (fill in the name you think it would be here) will take over the source code and put it under a closed source licence after some "tweaking" to make it incompatible with other systems. They would only put out the compiled version and will restict this version to the system of their choice.

Let me say here and now - i don't wish ány company to go down. It's only an example. But i think this is the reason why critical languages and similiair things hás to be open source. We have to rely on these things to be - and stay - usable for everyone, even if some company holding the source code would fade out...

(sorry for the grammar - englisch is not my native language)