Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 9th May 2007 10:08 UTC, submitted by Ford Prefect
Java Sun Microsystems has announced the release of an open-source version of its Java Development Kit for Java Platform Standard Edition. Sun has contributed the software to the OpenJDK Community as free software under the GNU GPLv2. Sun also announced that OpenJDK-based implementations can use the JCK (Java SE 6 Technical Compatibility Kit) to establish compatibility with the Java SE 6 specification. OpenBSD has already started importing the release.
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Why GPL?
by MollyC on Thu 10th May 2007 14:32 UTC
MollyC
Member since:
2006-07-04

Here's a question for the osnews community: Why GPL?

I ask, because I recall reading a white paper written by ActiveState a few years ago, which is still accessible here:
Dynamic Languages ready for the next challenges, by design. - July 2004
http://www.activestate.com/company/newsroom/whitepapers_adl.plex

It talks about the success of "dynamic languages", particularly Perl, Python, PHP, TCL, JavaScript, Ruby, etc...

The relevance to the topic at hand is what it has to say regarding OSS licenses, that many of the languages are successful due in part because they are available under an OSS license, but specifically NOT GPL. To quote,
"While each of the successful dynamic languages have chosen different specific licenses, it is far from accidental that none selected the more extreme GPL license used by the Linux kernel. All of the successful language communities have deliberately picked licenses that fit equally well with corporate requirements for non-viral licenses and the Free Software Foundation's goals (although clearly not the tactics, given the license differences). In general, the language communities view themselves as on the "liberal" side of the open source debate (inasmuch as any large group can be described as having a consistent opinion), and aren't compelled to pick sides on the morality of proprietary licenses. This approach has served them well, with significant successes both within the Linux and Windows communities. "

Given that, why did Sun use GPL rather than another OSS license? Did Sun choose GPL for a particular technical reason, or to score brownie points with the most religiously fervent OSS believers, or what?

Edited 2007-05-10 14:47

Reply Score: 5

RE: Why GPL?
by renox on Thu 10th May 2007 22:34 in reply to "Why GPL?"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

Note that Sun isn't the first one to distribute base software as GPL, Trolltech did choose the same license for Qt, for the same obvious reason.

That's why the GPL works so well: both free software advocates and companies which want some kind of return on investment use it..

Note that for Qt, even if RMS prefers GPL over the LGPL, Linux's distribution are using more and more Gnome even though many users prefer KDE over Gnome..

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Why GPL?
by andrewg on Fri 11th May 2007 05:42 in reply to "Why GPL?"
andrewg Member since:
2005-07-06

Mostly is far more lenient than GPL because of the Classpath exception. Everything except the Hotspot VM has the exception.

So I think the reasons are: -

1. Prevent forking without having to give back.
2. Through the Classpath exception give just about every group what they need.
3. Brownie points as you stated.

Personally I had no problem with Java being closed but opening Java up does make Java attractive to a larger group of developers and this could even end up unifying the .Net competition. I think Mcnealy was mostly right when he said that there are only two developer ecosystems left .Net and Java.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Activestate paper is WRONG
by b3timmons on Wed 16th May 2007 16:13 in reply to "Why GPL?"
b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

Perl, Ruby, and Pike _are_ licensed under the GPL. So the "white paper" (haha) is just spreading nonsense and conjuring theories to fit not the facts but someone's agenda. Hopefully not too many suckers fall for this baloney.

Isn't Activestate associated with Microsoft? Figures... We would not want to favor licenses incompatible with their "ecosystem". <smirk>

Edited 2007-05-16 16:16

Reply Parent Score: 2