Home > Open Source > Java fallout: OpenOffice.org 2.0 and the FOSS community Java fallout: OpenOffice.org 2.0 and the FOSS community Eugenia Loli 2005-03-28 Open Source 84 Comments Several new features of the recently released OpenOffice.org 2.0 beta require a Java Runtime Environment (JRE). Since Java’s license is neither free nor open source, a small but vocal minority has responded both strongly and negatively. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 84 Comments 2005-03-28 7:42 pm im more of an opensource guy then a free software guy, so i guess im making the authors point when i say that the inclusion of java makes no difference to me, other then being glad that they are using a technology that will let them get stuff done faster. 2005-03-28 7:42 pm I have been using Abiword/Gnumeric for quite a while simply because it does not force me to install non-Free Software like Java to use quite a bit of it. I cannot see how OpenOffice will be able to take off as truely Free Software until the situation is fixed. 2005-03-28 7:50 pm As an OpenOffice user I do not care if OOo requires Java as long as there is no impact on speed. Whether Java is open source or not does not matter either. It’s still better than the closed source MS Office with its priorietary file formats or proprietary XML schemas, and its monoplatform availability. I’m waiting for a “journalist” to complain that MS is force feeding .NET into Windows (which does not rely on it at all). Double standards, again, from MS supporters. 2005-03-28 7:50 pm If this means, that more people get interested in Abiword, KOffice,… this isn’t too bad. On the other hand it’s a pity to see well known companies following their politics to undermine everything with /their/ vm, not noticing that they’re on the way to kill good applications. 2005-03-28 7:53 pm Sounds like we need an office project for Mono. 2005-03-28 7:55 pm And create a Java free suite 2005-03-28 8:00 pm I had no idea that OOo had this dependancy on java. I really had alot of hope for it before, especially as I messed around with the very nice 2.0 beta, but now I am very concerned. Im not the zealot type that won’t use anything non-free, but this situation (especially using a non-free database for Base) doesn’t reflect well on the OOo developer community at all, and the disregard for the free software community raises trust issues, just like the article suggests. I hope they can resolve this, or that OOo is forked like XFree was so that we can keep it free. 2005-03-28 8:03 pm It uses Java, so ? It works for me. I don’t think users will be more interested in Abiword/ KOffice. What do you think users will say “Oh it has less features but I don’t want OO because some features need Java which I don’t use because it hasn’t an open source license”. “Sounds like we need an office project for Mono.” We need a good Mono IDE first. 2005-03-28 8:06 pm “Sounds like we need an office project for Mono.” Oh yeah, that will resolve all the controversy… 2005-03-28 8:09 pm Sounds like we need an office project for Mono. Well, I wouldn’t like a Mono-based office suite any bit more than a java-based one. I’d rather stick with abiword and koffice. 2005-03-28 8:11 pm heh! at this rate it wont be long before it’s renamed Closed Office! 2005-03-28 8:19 pm Um, isn’t open office programed in java? Is it now requireing sun’s java as opposed to one of the opn source java’s? 2005-03-28 8:27 pm 1: Take OpenOffice, remove the Java dependent features, and most of you won’t even notice. It will still be ages ahead of abiword or koffice… Come on… 2: If you miss them anyway, be aware of Fedora’s gcj based OpenOffice builds. Java, and Free. So really, what is the problem here? 2005-03-28 8:32 pm how is the JRE not free? 2005-03-28 8:37 pm http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/java-trap.html 2005-03-28 8:39 pm I don’t care as long as Openoffice is free (in beer) and usable. It is much better than AbiWord and KOffice. 2005-03-28 8:40 pm <EOM> 2005-03-28 8:44 pm OK, I guess I understand now. But I think it’s BS. At least now I understand why it’s BS. 2005-03-28 8:45 pm I don’t think this is the best decision. I would expect quite a bit of trouble from Debian, because their social contract says the core programs of the distribution won’t be or depend on non-free software. So since OOo 2 depends on Java, which isn’t free, it’s not going to be able to be a core part of the distro. Which isn’t going to encourage others based on Debian to bundle it either…. It wouldn’t totally surprise me to see a fork, or another project gain prominence in response to this. Haplo: Um, isn’t open office programed in java? No, in a word… I don’t have anything involving Java installed on here and OOo compiles and runs fine without (minus certain features, which weren’t worth bothering with in OOo 1.x). KenLin: how is the JRE not free? Go and read up on what “free software” means. You’re making the classic free beer vs. freedom mistake. 2005-03-28 8:45 pm …and I won’t actively support OpenOffice.org because of this requirement for non-free software, but I’m not obsessed about free (libre) software and will use non-free stuff if necessary. 2005-03-28 8:46 pm first of all, hsqldb is under a bsdish liscence. the sun jdk is under a good free-as-in-beer liscence, and as soon as free implementations can catch up, this will be a non-issue. as for this “contraversy”, just put down the pitchforks and think for a second. sun released this code. sun (for all intents and purposes) develops this code. sun owns java. mono still isnt up to speed with the sun jre (before a flamewar breaks out, its not up to speed with the microsoft implementation yet either). oo.o is a gargantuan project with relatively few people working on it. java allows for a far more rapid turnaround for new features. you see what im getting at? for the end user, this is a good thing. for the oo.o maintainers, this is a good thing. for people who use free software for ethical rather then practical purposes (im dont, but i understand and respect those who do), they shouldnt have been looking to oo.o to be the “free” office suite of the future anyways. oo.o is following the oss mentality rather then the free mentality. i have a great deal of respect for the gnu guys. they refuse to accept partial solutions, and stand their ethical ground with a consistancy that is extremely hard to find nowadays. the people complaining about this walk the walk, but dont talk the talk, or they would be using a project that aligns closer to their moral principals, even if it is nowhere near as good. 2005-03-28 8:48 pm There are sound technical and business lock-in reasons to not use Java based OO. First, OO is already a huge resource hog – unacceptably so on a Linux machine when you have the much faster, less buggy and more attractive alternatives in KOffice and Abiword/Gnumeric. Then throw in the necessity of having the JRE for many of it’s features, and OO becomes bloated beyond what a lot of hardware can run in a usable manner. OO remains a decent, free alternative to use on a Windows machine (if still a bloated hog), since it is free and MSOffice is just as bloated and even more buggy. But Linux and other platforms give you better alternatives. The other reason to avoid Java based OO is that requiring the Sun Java JRE makes it so the user is locked into using a distro that has paid Sun the redistribution license, and requiring that the user purchases a non-free commercial version of the distro (i.e. SuSE, Mandrake, RHEL, etc). Itself not a bad thing (I paid for the packaged version of Mandrake 10), but it’s better to have the viable free version available. Or the user has to download the proper files to make the JRE run properly for OO (not a trivial task). I actually don’t blame Sun too much for trying this. They are trying to use free OpenOffice to help proliferate redistribution licenses of Java, and spread Java usage, and make their own JDS more attractive. And I am no “free software only zealot”. I’ll use proprietary or non-free software if it fits my needs. However, I prefer using software that is not so bloated, and software that does not try to lock me into any one vendor. As a user, I want to use fast, non memory hogging software. OO without Java is a hog. OO with Java is even worse. Also as a user, I find the “free as in libre” aspect to be very attractive – I like choice and competition and making the corporations earn my business, and not having any of their whims forced down my throat. Sun can feel free to play the lock-in game, and more power to ’em if they succeed. But thankfully I, and many other people and businesses, have very viable alternatives. 2005-03-28 8:48 pm Depends on java.. That explains a lot 2005-03-28 8:49 pm Yeah….well…I have mixed emotions too. My personal feelings are pretty much in line with the “who cares” people posting above. Heck, I don’t even have a problem with proprietary software, as long as it works. It’s a market thing. But I do, on the other hand, see the concern when we mix up “free software” with dependencies. I think that it’s more of a Sun Microsystems problem that they didn’t really Open up Java the way that was somewhat promised (if I’m correct)…then this issue would be a non-issue. As far as OpenOffice is concerned, I still think that it’s a great office suite and if it works well needing Java, maybe we should not bash OpenOffice so much, but bash Java until they open that up to being truly “free software.” I may be totally off base here, but that’s just a thought that comes to mind… 2005-03-28 8:49 pm From the Ubuntu Manifesto: “…that software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customise and alter their software in whatever way they see fit.” The article claims that OpenOffice.org accessibility features require Java. If that is the case, I can’t help but wonder why Ubuntu includes it in the default installation as doing so seems to contradict their philosophy regarding using only free and accessible software. 2005-03-28 8:52 pm What’s wrong with Mono as a replacement for Java in this instance? 2005-03-28 8:54 pm well, Sun has its own licensing for the JRE and JDKs. what i don’t understand is why this is news. in 1.1.x, at least the last time i installed it about a month ago, it asked me to locate a JRE for several features, so this isn’t anything new with OOo. i think it’s a bit ridiculous to protest utilizing java, and thus a jre, with OOo. in my eyes, there is no intent in sun’s license to extract any compensation or anything similar for using their jre/jdks. 2005-03-28 8:55 pm this is a free software ideal. if you agree with it, then you also do not use flash, the official nvidia drivers, the mp3 format, c++, etc. the opensource mentality is use what makes sense. when it comes to drivers, the arguments against opensourcing them are pretty lame. however, when it comes to nvidia cards in linux, the nv driver is abysmal, while the nvidia one is superb. if your goal is to use free software, then you go nv. if your goal is to play et in all its glory, you go nvidia. 2005-03-28 8:57 pm for freeJava (Classpath ,GCJ, Kaffe, etc)! Its a good thing that companies such as Red Hat have people like Tom Tromey working fulltime on these projects. Yah Red Hat! 2005-03-28 8:57 pm 1. Nobody can fork OpenOffice.org since it is completely impossible to maintain such a fork without Sun’s emloyees and their knowledge of the OpenOffice.org codebase. Remember: OpenOffice.org is a very *large* project. The idea of forking is ridiculous. 2. Mono has nothing to do with OpenOffice.org and is neither comparable to Java nor is it comparable to Microsoft’s .NET. Mono’s performance is so poor that it is absolutely worthless for creating *large* projects. Remember: F-Spot and Muine are *small*. OpenOffice.org is *large*. 3. OpenOffice.org does not need Java to run, it needs a Java compiler to build (this can be either javac or gcj), but it does not require a Java runtime environment. Don’t believe it? Try it out! The Java runtime environment is only needed for some features that are not present in Abiword or KOffice at all. Conclusion: If you only need what Abiword or KOffice offer and if you only use free software, you can still choose because OpenOffice.org offers it as well, without Java. 4. OpenOffice.org is built for users, not for fundamentalists. If you still reject OpenOffice.org although you were told that OpenOffice.org does *not* depend on non-free software, then you are a fundamentalist and then you don’t need an office suite at all. 5. Abiword and KOffice are not office suites, they are not even properly scriptable. Yes, I mean *properly* scriptable. If you don’t know the difference, forget it and use such wordpad.exe-style applets like Abiword or KOffice. 6. The OpenOffice.org codebase is completely LGPLed, compliant with the FSF’s interpretation of the LGPL. Java is a platform on its own, so LGPLed code were OK even if it would *really* depend on it, because the LGPL does not require the underlying basis to be free software as long as it is a platform on its own, which Java is. 7. In the real world, nobody cares. Some people want a 100% compatible office suite, these people will buy Microsoft Office. Some people want an alternative and accept that it is only 70% compatible, these people will use OpenOffice.org and maybe Java or Corel WordPerfect. And some others do not need an office suite at all, these people will use a wordpad.exe-style applet like Abiword or KOffice. 8. Trying to fork OpenOffice.org will have the following consequences: – Microsoft will spread FUD about OpenOffice.org fragmenting into flavours that are incompatible with each other, and people will believe it. – The fork will fail because it is too complex. Do you really want that? I do not! 2005-03-28 9:03 pm Well then, OO.org should not release versions for Windows OR the Mac. This is, of course, in the interrest of FOSS ideological “purity” (barfs). Who cares about the user? 2005-03-28 9:05 pm If I gave you a PC with OO.o 2.0 and no JRE, I’m willing to bet only 1 out of 100 of you would notice. It’s barely required, and certainly not for any basic functions. 2005-03-28 9:14 pm First, OO is already a huge resource hog – unacceptably so on a Linux machine when you have the much faster, less buggy and more attractive alternatives in KOffice and Abiword/Gnumeric. Then throw in the necessity of having the JRE for many of it’s features, and OO becomes bloated beyond what a lot of hardware can run in a usable manner. +15 megs for the jre isnt a big deal compared to whats already required for oo.o. oo.o also does far more then koffice and abiword/gnumeric. if koffice does what you need it to, then it would be a better choice. but comparing the two is like saying mysql is better then postre, because its faster, while completely ignoring its limitations. OO remains a decent, free alternative to use on a Windows machine (if still a bloated hog), since it is free and MSOffice is just as bloated and even more buggy. But Linux and other platforms give you better alternatives. its a bloated hog because of the functional requirements. what we need on linux is what apple is doing with pages, totally and completely ignore word, and come up with a useful word processor. but that isnt going to happen, 90% of linux development tends to be in reaction to what everyone has/is doing. The other reason to avoid Java based OO is that requiring the Sun Java JRE makes it so the user is locked into using a distro that has paid Sun the redistribution license, and requiring that the user purchases a non-free commercial version of the distro (i.e. SuSE, Mandrake, RHEL, etc). Itself not a bad thing (I paid for the packaged version of Mandrake 10), but it’s better to have the viable free version available. Or the user has to download the proper files to make the JRE run properly for OO (not a trivial task). ive never had a problem installing java on linux, and i do it all the time as linux is my platform of choice and i am a java developer. AFAIK the liscence was recently changed to allow redistabution by anyone. ill have to double check that, but i believe this is a non-issue. I actually don’t blame Sun too much for trying this. They are trying to use free OpenOffice to help proliferate redistribution licenses of Java, and spread Java usage, and make their own JDS more attractive. sun has been pushing java with the vigor ms is pushing .net for about a decade now. this is nothing new, and as i said in an earlier post, should have been expected. And I am no “free software only zealot”. I’ll use proprietary or non-free software if it fits my needs. actually, i have you pegged as a java hater 😉 todays java isnt the same as it was back in the day, and if you dont have a problem with .net, you shouldnt have a problem with it (in a general sense, im dont know the exact nature of your gripes). However, I prefer using software that is not so bloated, and software that does not try to lock me into any one vendor. so you wont use python apps that lock you into having python on your machine? oo.o is as bloated as its competition, and i avoid it (and word, and wordperfect) as much as humanly possible. the only reason you cant use gcj for this release is more the fact that gcj is lacking then anything else. As a user, I want to use fast, non memory hogging software. OO without Java is a hog. OO with Java is even worse. bloated code sucks up memory. the additional requirements for java are really trivial unless you are using archaic hardware, in which case something like oo.o is a bad choice, with or without java. Also as a user, I find the “free as in libre” aspect to be very attractive – I like choice and competition and making the corporations earn my business, and not having any of their whims forced down my throat. i completely agree, something being free makes it more attractive then something that is non-free. however, for me at any rate, functionality outweighs freedom. i will help out in the free software world on my own time, but when it comes to work i will use the best tools for the job. Sun can feel free to play the lock-in game, and more power to ’em if they succeed. But thankfully I, and many other people and businesses, have very viable alternatives. i never open something in word/koffice/abiword/wordperfect/oo.o unless i have no other alternative. as it stands, free office suites are not a viable alternative to oo, at least for now. when/if they catch up to the point where they would be useful to their intended audience, they will most likely also be as bloated. the gimp does WAY more then what i need from an image editor. but im not in the industry. if you were to ask a professional, the gimp just doesnt cut it yet. same deal with oo/free alternatives. 2005-03-28 9:16 pm so once the java is installed it SHOULD be recognised by konqueror or mozilla ?? but i see it still doesnt????? :S 2005-03-28 9:17 pm Does anyone know exactly what features/functions of OOo depend require Java for? 2005-03-28 9:19 pm This is another instance of an Open Source Sponsor peeing in their own soup. Bifurcate! [BTW, how is the Mac version coming along? It appears like someone wanted to make sure the Aqua port: NeoOffice/J is dependant on Sun. They may not be what was intended, but it sure looks that way. I don’t even own an Apple, but something smells really bad in how OpenOffice is being managed for the Mac. Set things up on the Openoffice.org site so people can work on the Apple port, and let’s see if they do. That will shut me up pretty well.] 2005-03-28 9:19 pm Never mind…I just read the article. 2005-03-28 9:46 pm I actually have no problem with closed-source nvidia drivers, but I do have a problem with this. The functionality is available through open standards (X and OpenGL). We rely on nvidia drivers to use specific hardware, but the functionality is minimally available using free (nv) drivers and fully available using other hardware with open source drivers. It sounds like OpenOffice relies on Java features that are not available in GCJ/Classpath. The OpenOffice developers don’t seem to understand that Java dependencies are a problem that they need to pay attention to. It will have a profound impact on usage of OpenOffice in fully open-source distributions (RedHat,Debian,Ubuntu) and completely prevents its use in other OSes without a fully functional VM (BSD). Its sad to say, but if things keep going down this path, a fork is pretty much innevitable. 2005-03-28 9:55 pm how is there a difference between the inferior nv driver, and the inferior classpath? this stuff can exist (without royalties or whatnot) in classpath, the reason it doesnt is because it hasnt been done yet. its the exact same with nv, everything nvidia has can exist in nv, it just isnt there because it hasnt been done yet. 2005-03-28 10:02 pm The biggest thing I’m waiting for with Open Office is better Mac OS X support. Star Office isn’t available for OS X and supporting MS Office is a pain. Java dependancy might be a good thing for this. At home, I have no reason to run Open Office. Text Edit and Gnumeric fill my needs. If I am using a Linux box, I don’t have Java (just double checked the article and it is still x86 only). Write once, run anywhere has been a brutal failure for the end user. Keep Java on the servers. That said, I would probably be writing Java as my main language if it ran easily on Linux PPC. 2005-03-28 10:26 pm Good point. They are fairly similar in theory. All of this would be moot if there was a fully capable free JVM. Unfortunately, there isn’t. So it really is more of a practical consideration than a religious issue for me. I also can’t help but think that Sun is using OpenOffice to push Java into Linux. It isn’t like they used Java because no other tools were available (what about document wizards requires Java?). 2005-03-28 10:31 pm Koffice? That’s like going back to OOo 1.0.0 I guess… so what if it uses Java… java is available for free, so stop being such crybabys. 2005-03-28 10:34 pm “actually, i have you pegged as a java hater 😉 todays java isnt the same as it was back in the day, and if you dont have a problem with .net, you shouldnt have a problem with it (in a general sense, im dont know the exact nature of your gripes). “ You have me pegged accurately, at least partially. 😉 I’m not a Java hater per se. I’ve used it quite a lot. I’ve done one successful Java project professionally (I use other languages mostly). I’ve played with it a lot at home. I have two Java books – one on the core language and one on J2EE. I’ve written little Swing apps, applets, JSPs, Servlets, and EJBs – all on a very small scale (just fun little tutorial type apps that do basic functionality). There are things I like about Java – clean OOP implementation, garbage collection, readable syntax, wora principles, multi vendor support, lot’s of job opportunities. But there are things I find problematic about Java as well – – It does use a lot memory – Eclipse and Netbeans won’t run decently on anything less than 512meg memory (I’ve tried them on less, locking up my system each time) – OOP being forced down the programmers throat. OOP is awesome for certain problem domains, but not for everything – sometimes simple procedural style programming fits the bill, or generics fits the bill, etc. And OOP can add unnecessary complexity in the design, and make it harder to track bugs. – Java is ultimately controlled by Sun, and I don’t trust Sun, even though they do offer a lot of good technology. “so you wont use python apps that lock you into having python on your machine? oo.o is as bloated as its competition, and i avoid it (and word, and wordperfect) as much as humanly possible. the only reason you cant use gcj for this release is more the fact that gcj is lacking then anything else. “ Python does not lock you into anything, other than using a Python interpreter for your chosen platform. Python is completely free in every sense of the word, in every implementation, and on every platform. Thus Python does not cause vendor lockin of any kind. Finally, my personal experience with Python is that the apps run perceptively faster and with the interpreter using much less memory than equivelant Java apps. I’ve actually had pretty good luck with Python apps. “i completely agree, something being free makes it more attractive then something that is non-free. however, for me at any rate, functionality outweighs freedom. i will help out in the free software world on my own time, but when it comes to work i will use the best tools for the job. “ I do too. I already mentioned that I will use proprietary or non-free software if it fits my needs. And when I talk about free, I mostly mean choice, and avoiding vendor lock-in. “i never open something in word/koffice/abiword/wordperfect/oo.o unless i have no other alternative. as it stands, free office suites are not a viable alternative to oo, at least for now. when/if they catch up to the point where they would be useful to their intended audience, they will most likely also be as bloated. “ I’ve never encountered a situation where I could do something in OO.o but could not in KOffice or Abiword/Gnumeric. However, my Office product needs are pretty basic, and I recognize that other power users might need something beyond what KOffice and Abiword/Gnumeric currently offer. If OO.o does the trick, fine. If Lotus does the trick, fine. If WordPerfect does the trick, fine too. But KOffice and Abiword/Gnumeric fit my needs beautifully. And I only see them getting better and more full featured as time goes on, with adding the bloat, slowness or high memory usage of OO.o (good design of compiled C and C++ code). 2005-03-28 10:34 pm In the real world, nobody cares. I completely agree with the above comment. While it may infuriate some developpers and hard-core “free software” proponents, when it comes down to the user, it won’t matter. Either they won’t notice/need the features which Java requires, or they will download the JRE, which isn’t difficult to do and which they may already have downloaded in order to run other Java apps or web-served applets. OOo is a great project and miles ahead of AbiWord (which is a great stripped-down word processor for basic work, but not suited for many uses due to its lack of functions). I agree that forking it is a REALLY BAD IDEA that will just waste developpers’ time and effort when it could instead be focused on creating an Office suite that can truly compete head-to-head with MS Office (OOo isn’t there yet, at least not Writer, but it’s getting closer). 2005-03-28 10:37 pm @mattb “The other reason to avoid Java based OO is that requiring the Sun Java JRE makes it so the user is locked into using a distro that has paid Sun the redistribution license, and requiring that the user purchases a non-free commercial version of the distro (i.e. SuSE, Mandrake, RHEL, etc).” I don’t see why this is a problem. How long does it take to download and install JRE? In any case Mandrake always offers a free download without commercial apps. SUSE of late has been offering free isos (9.1 Personal and 9.2 FTP-DVD) with most commercial apps included. Red Hat/Fedora have never included non free stuff in their releases. @Roy “It will have a profound impact on usage of OpenOffice in fully open-source distributions (RedHat,Debian,Ubuntu)” It would be a very sad day, because OpenOffice is one of the applications which are making linux (a lot) more attractive. In the case of Debian and Ubuntu they need to find a reasonable solution: maybe move OpenOffice to the “non free” section? After all in Debian you can get almost everything from other sources, like E.G. Marillat.Free 2005-03-28 10:38 pm OOo isn’t free anymore, if major parts depend on Java. 8. Trying to fork OpenOffice.org will have the following consequences: – Microsoft will spread FUD about You mean FUD like you spread right here? As interesting as M$ FUD. 2005-03-28 10:55 pm It has already been said, but i want to add my voice to it: if we want linux to succeed (and I want that) not only we need commercial/non free apps, but we must even welcome them. After all, isn’t the majority of us already using Acrobat Reader, Flash plugin, RealPlayer, NVIDIA/ATI drivers, JRE even? Don’t we always praise NVIDIA for delivering and blame ATI for being slower? It is the same old story which repeats itself over and over again: fundamentalists vs. pragmatists: I definitely belong to the second group: for me linux is not a religion, it is a (good) operating system which improves at a much faster speed than the competition. 2005-03-28 10:57 pm Are there any legit reasons that they didn’t use an OSS alternative, like Python? It seems to satisfy all of the issues mentioned in the article…am I missing something? 2005-03-28 11:00 pm … this feels strangely like what it would be happening in a couple years if gnome begins to rely too heavily on Mono. 2005-03-28 11:01 pm ” RE:…mattb” is mine. I didn’t mean to post as anonymous nor to write: “RE:…mattb” I must be tired 2005-03-28 11:03 pm had no idea that OOo had this dependancy on java. I really had alot of hope for it before, especially as I messed around with the very nice 2.0 beta, but now I am very concerned. I wouldn’t be too concerned about the Java dependency. I am running Open Office 2.0 nightly build as I write this and it works great. I installed Java 1.5 off of Sun’s site first though. This is a little irritating though since most open source distros will not include Java because of their licensing model. I wonder if Sun is making Open Office more dependant on Java so that it can keep it foot in the water, so to speak. Possibly this is a good time to fork the Open Office code and replace the Java dependency with something Like Mono or Python. I have said this before and I think Sun is really shooting themselves in the foot keeping Java proprietary instead of standardizing it and making the binary compilers GPL’d. It could come back to bite them in the end. 2005-03-28 11:13 pm Why does everyone think this will lock people into Sun’s java? There is a simple solution to this big “controversy”. It’s called GCJ, and I can guarantee you it will compile OOo soon. 2005-03-28 11:22 pm Why does everyone think this will lock people into Sun’s java? Umm… As far as I know OO 2.0 *requires* Sun’s JDK. Only Sun’s will work correctly. That is what I have read in other forums. This is really problem since Sun’s JDK is not available on all systems such as BSD. This is what happens when a company creates a language and refuses to open source it or release an international standard. 2005-03-28 11:50 pm Well, this is bad news. Java is just way to bloated. Ooo will be a snail if too much of it rely on Java. I can tell from running the 2beta that it’s already slower than the version 1.x.x. It starts slower, it feels more sluggish. And because of Java, there will be more potential for security vulnerabilies. One day you open a database and bang, your system has a trojan, is owned, and becomes a zombie sending out junk mail. This is the Microsoft way of making software. Please don’t bring this into the Free Software world And making it fail GNU requirements is just a disaster. Even if I use Ooo for a while longer, I sure will not touch the database component. I don’t want my data locked in in a propriatory software. I’ll use some alternative. I also hate the “Sun” logo that comes up on the splash screen of Ooo. It reminds me that a big corporation is involved and that I can’t trust it. It would be nice if someone forked Ooo and took Sun out of the equation. Meanwhile, I’ll keep saving my documents in html format. 2005-03-28 11:59 pm The article is wrong in saying that Java for PPC Linux doesn’t exist. IBM makes an excellent JRE/JDK. Not as nicely integrated as Apple’s Java VM (frankly, who can match Apple in this regard?) but it works. 2005-03-29 12:12 am This is probably IBM employees once again attempting to bust suns balls. Hey, Go back to Work and Kick Microsoft’s butt. It’s you and Sun against Microsoft remember? 2005-03-29 12:15 am Web Grafitti, For the record, NeoOffice/J is an unofficial port of OpenOffice.org. The official port still requires you to install Apple’s version of X windows and is pretty much dead There were not enough volenteers to help port it to Aqua. 2005-03-29 12:24 am http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,115510,00.asp 2005-03-29 12:35 am listen to mattb folks I wonder how many of the “huh, than I don’t support oo.o any longer” folks are posting their comments from a browser that has the java plugins installed … or flash plugins… realplayer …. hmmm? I want the loudest critics of oo.o’s dependency on java (which doesn’t affect 99% of users – I compile oo.o 2.0 WITHOU_JAVA=yes on my bsd box) to claim with a straight face that they don’t have any non-free plugins installed (and they don’t listen to mp3 while we are at it) because they value they more than a small convenience. 2005-03-29 1:11 am Umm… As far as I know OO 2.0 *requires* Sun’s JDK. Only Sun’s will work correctly. That is what I have read in other forums. Yes, for now. But that won’t be true for long. Don’t forget this is still BETA software. Meanwhile the free implementations of Java will focus on getting the classes used in OOo, so that distros like Debian can can use all the features in OOo. 2005-03-29 1:44 am I have tried to build OOo2 1.9.79, but failed on java componnet, I think the Office Suite should not rely on Java, so I hope the Redhat guys or Ximian guys will relase the gcj patch for OOo2 when it is released. 2005-03-29 2:17 am And because of Java, there will be more potential for security vulnerabilies. One day you open a database and bang, your system has a trojan, is owned, and becomes a zombie sending out junk mail. Maybe I have missed something, but I have read a lot of vulneravilities for linux (thankfully patched), and almost none for java (in fact only one, and I’m not totally sure). You can say Java is not fully free, but not that it’s an insecure platform. Rivas 2005-03-29 2:20 am Just use the damn thing and dont trouble your mind with such nonsensical crapola. If you hate the official Java so much then just keep your pants up and wait for gcj or another OS implementation to catch up. If you don’t like it then download the source and rewrite all the Java dependencies to your hearts content. And to all the mentally challenged people who are asking themselves that why didnt they just use Mono …puhlease. 2005-03-29 2:32 am According to Anthony Green of Red Hat GCJ+Classpath is capable of running the Java portions of OOo2. http://spindazzle.org/green/ This will be in Fedora Core 4. GCJ+Classpath can actually run several large Java applications including Eclipse, Tomcat, and Jonas. From what I’ve seen I think it may be reasonable to Swing largely finished by Fedora Core 5. 2005-03-29 3:55 am For me the issue is that the JRE’s big and slow to load. This on top of OOo itself… 2005-03-29 4:48 am Im another one that really doesnt care that OpenOffice requires Java for some things, for me it has nothing to do with Open Source and Free Software. Its there, I deploy it and it works good. I use Java and I use .NET, I like .NET more but thats a personal preference. I like the way Java is now, I think the licensing is adequate and more importantly, its Sun’s software, they can do as they wish. BUT, if I was Sun the only thing I would do is make the compatibility suites, royalty free so the FreeBSD guys and the BeOS guys can properly market and include the JRE and JSDK. If Sun does go the Open Source route with Java then I for one will drop Java completely and focus on .NET and like technologies. 2005-03-29 5:08 am “Double standards, again, from MS supporters.” Just like the double standards from anti MS guys. 2005-03-29 5:25 am It was all written in C/C++ right? Now you have to know Java it seems. What other language can you stick in there to confuse everyone. I dunno…would have liked it to remain pure to one language, even though I haven’t a hope in hell of ever touching the source. Sounds like a bodge when you start linking other but the base language to it for certain bits. Yeah, it’s had some Java all along, but I wish it hadn’t have done that either….And now its visible as a dependency, for all to see and criticise. If Sun really want to push Java that much, then have them write OO totally in Java. Hmmmmm…perhaps watch it die. Are there other FOSS projects which have a combination of languages in them. I’ll make a note to stay clear. But then another part of me says, “who cares”. As long as it gets done. Ok. Going back to my happy place. 2005-03-29 6:08 am Openoffice is a Sun-derived codebase. If they wish to supply Java features it’s their prerogative. They explain quite clearly their position in the following statement: http://download.openoffice.org/2.0beta/instructions.html#other_linu… I read someone’s blog where he’d downloaded the official Java-enabled rpm binaries, converted them to deb using alien and then complained that the application broke because Java wasn’t installed. Moral: don’t expect things to work if you’re too lazy to read the release notes and download packages specific for your distro! RMS has thrown down the gauntlet with his Java trap essay, Red Hat are actively working to ‘free’ eclipse and open office. Meanwhile these features are OPTIONAL! Quoting from http://download.openoffice.org/2.0beta/index.html Java is optional. The JRE/JDK may be downloaded from http://java.com depending on your needs. 2005-03-29 6:30 am > royalty free so the FreeBSD guys and the BeOS guys can > properly market and include the JRE and JSDK I agree. It’s a shame that FreeBSD users can’t install jre, jsdk packages due to license limits. 2005-03-29 7:23 am Wow you Open Source fanboys are nuts. Instead of praising the people for a free Office suite with incredible features all you guys do is bitch and moan…some gratitude would be nice. And as for people who think that Java is insecure…come again? Haha you guys are really out there…and Java is not slow to load or anything like that. Have you tried JEdit? It loads up pretty darn fast for a Java app… 2005-03-29 7:26 am Even though I prefer to use Free and Open Source Software, I would like a free clone of Microsoft Word. As of right now, Microsoft Word is where I do my processing at; because it is faster and more user-friendly. 2005-03-29 9:24 am A lot of the people responding on the use of Java in OOo potray this issue as one of being ‘practical vs. political’ or ‘OSS vs. Free Software’. This potrayal of the issue negates the real issues at hand. Is my problem practical or political if I am running *BSD and can’t use all of the functionality built into OOo due to its dependency on Java ? What appears to many to be a political issue is a practical issue for others- Any combination of OS/cpu architecture which does not currently offer a compatible Java Runtime Environment is effectively precluded from fully using (ie. utilizing) the functionaility built into OOo. Provided that the work is done to port OOo to other OS’s-this work would be meaningless in the absence of a compatible JRE. Porting OOo to anything is a massive undertaking-but it is doable. But lacking a JRE means that no matter how much desire their is for such, no matter how many dev’s are willing to do the work-it simply is not going to happen. There are ample examples of OS’s and cpu-architectures around where OOo cannot be fully used due to the Java depenendency. For the people who use these this issue is not even remotely political- it is primarily practical. Some anonymous person posted a link here to Anthony Green’s blog about gcj support for OOo. To the extent to which gcj matures sufficiently to allow for building OOo sans Java the practical issues involved in this issue are resolvable. It is apparent that the Java dependency issue is being used as a catalyst to further gcj development and maturation. It is ironic that worlds most portable and cross-platform compatible programming language is dependent upon GNU’s gcj to *be* what it claims to be. ‘Practical vs. political’ framing of issues is one of the most misleading ways of discussing issues around. Political as in the sense of Free Software is practical -the political dimension of Free Software is the question: who is excluded from using something ? As long as there are those who are excluded from using a technology their being excluded is a practical problem for those people and a politcal problem for those who don’t want others being excluded. Although I am excited about the use of gcj to overcome this practical problem, it should be noted that only the latest cvs HEAD of gcj is capable of doing this-and AFAIK gcj support is still not 100%. The consequence of this is that with the exception of Redhat/Fedora no one else will be using a gcj-enabled OOo build for a signifcant period of time. It will be least another 6 months before gcc-4.0 becomes sufficiently stable to be used as the basis for the entire operating system and at least 12-18 months before it is widely distributed-well beyond the target release date of OOo 2.0. (Redhat/Fedora works around this issue by using mulitple different versions of gcc for differing parts of their system-somthing that only a major distributor can do easily, ie. they fork various versions of gcc and tweak it to support the functionality they need-this stuff gets merged back upstream but only much, much later-ie. who else is running gcj-enabled eclipse which has been around for what 16 months now ?) The use of Java in OOo reminds me of the use of Java in Project Looking Glass. The use of Java in that project has meant basically zero contribution beyond the Sun community to that project, even though it is by far the most stunning and appealing implementation of next-gen X11 graphics around. Even though gcj has progressed by leaps and bounds in the last 2 years it maybe another 2-3 years before sufficient support for Java 1.5 is there to be able to run Looking Glass with gcj. The fact remains that most Linux distributions cannot redistribute Java- and anything which requires Java cannot be part of a distribution which cannot distribute Java. Yet again this is a practical problem, a practical problem with political repurcussions, political because of exclusion. I am looking forward to a gcj-enabled build of OOo. This will at least level the playing field enabling those who are currently excluded to participate, ie. fully utilitize the features of OOo. Sun is not going to lessen their use of Java in OOo even if some group of people actually forks OOo. It has also become abundantly clear that Sun will never make Java trully Free. Perhaps one day IBM will open up ones of it’s JVM’s for the community-but the progress being made in in gcj may render such moot. Ultimately we would be far better served by a Postgress back -end to Base enabling the reuse of so much existing software already made to utilize postgress database compatibility. Their are plenty of issues which should be portayed as ‘practical vs. political’. The application of this to OOo is a red-herring. Why Redhat/Fedora won’t ship either Mono or ReiserFS is in all likelihood purely political-but political in a vastly different sense than the one mentioned above- the political dimension here is certainly not about exclusion, which is a very legitimate political dimension. As a rule of thumb the only difference between practical and political issues is the difference in timeframe(short term vs. long term) and scope of application(ie. universality). 2005-03-29 9:28 am OK, I guess I understand now. But I think it’s BS. At least now I understand why it’s BS. Wow, hold it brother. You just learned why Java isn’t free and what GPL is 20 minutes before, and suddenly you “understand why it’s BS”? Trust me, you are not so clever. 2005-03-29 12:36 pm One of the major reasons why the GNOME project was started was, because: KDE depended on QT, which was non-GPL at that time! Think about that, and you will understand why SOMETHING will happen to solve that issue. Several possibilities: 1) OOo will fork. Not likely due to size of the project. 2) The free JAVA implementations will become able to support a OOo build. Highly likely, also highly likely the request to use only features of JAVA already implemented in the free implementations to the OOo developers who want to use JAVA will be submitted. In the meantime most linux distributions will deliver a stripped-down version of OOo. 3) Free Offices will recieve more attention. The new OpenFormat is supported already by the development versions of KOffice and Abiword. 2005-03-29 1:47 pm i myself very happy that at least OOo is giving credit to JAva that it deserves. we wrote a spell-checking JAva plug-in for OOo. it was not so easy in OOo 1.4, it seems thinngs will be better. Letme elaborate stg, the plug-in we wrote is giving a crucial functionality to the OO, and makes it “real” competitive against MS Office in this particular Country. People DO NOT care if it is written in Java or another language as long as it is useful for them. Especially Linux users, developers should grow – and wake up. When the problem is having a cross-platform, productive, fast development technology java is the best choice (still). 2005-03-29 1:55 pm How long is it going to take until free Java implemetations run by Oo.org required features? I doubt it will be a great problem. The biggest problem they have is that they have no authority like Miguel de Icaza. 2005-03-29 2:19 pm Here’s my thing. I’ve been using OpenOffice since 0.9 and never really used java to begin with. Just because Java is not open source doesn’t mean it’s bad or wrong to use! Not that I’m defending Java here.. But it’s not like I see people rioting in the streets everytime someone goes to a website and utilizes a java applet or sees a flash animation.. From what I understand, it mainly uses java for the database.. Which as an office user, I don’t use. Now, from what I remember, when I used to run slack9 with blackdown java, no problems with installing and using open office! Worked just fine… The only problem I do see is with the mail merge function… Some people might actually use that, but again, I never had to and probably never will… I use the cut and paste function when I’m working between thunderbird and OpenOffice.. I think a lot of you guys had the right idea.. “Ok, OpenOffice needs Java! Well just use an Open Source version of it or make our own java!” As far as .net in winblows… That’s almost as bad programming crutch as vb! Microsloth making lazy programmers again! 😉 2005-03-29 2:30 pm Sun contributes the most to Open Office, employs the most developers and creates a commercial edition of it in Star Office. It’s not the developers’ problem – if they’re employed by Sun they’re going to implement what the main contributor wants. The fact is that Sun really wants Java to get used in corporate environments the way VB does and they have their JDS. They’ll probably rename Open/Star Office to Java Office in the long-term. They want to create Open/Star Office in their image. The strange thing is, Java support in Gnome is total crap. You’re supposed to use Swing?! This is a hard-nosed play by Sun, and they’re in this primarily for themselves not for the wider community. If they don’t like it then they’ll have to find something else. The funny thing is, most people who don’t get into this sort of political thing will have a JRE installed anyway so they won’t care. Maybe it’s time to fund something like KOffice if people are uncomfortable with Open Office. There are applications in KOffice that Open Office can only dream of. 2005-03-29 3:26 pm Dont use OpenOffice if you dont like Java. All these misconceptions about Java and on top of that despite Sun having a big hand in the Open Office development you want Java not to be used?! 2005-03-29 3:45 pm The nice developers at OOo have done a good job of cleaning up their act away from horrible nosense like using sun-spefic, undocumented, unportable APIs i the sandbox project. I guess that’s largely due to Caolan and others trying to clean up the cruft away from the lack of good QA ‘at the source’ in the early OOo years in order to make things run fine on gcj. Currently, for example, the UDK project doesn’t have any ‘import sun.*’ lines, and it used to have dozens of them, so the quality of OOo’s java code has certainly improved over time, which makes it possible in the first place to run it on free runtimes. That cleanup of Sun’s code took about two years for the UDK project to happen, afaict from CVS. Thanks, Caolan, Chris and others for not giving up! cheers, dalibor topic 2005-03-29 5:24 pm Java was chosen because of the database (‘Base’) componenent uses HYSQLDB as the built in DB engine much like Access uses the JET DB engine. HYSQLDB is pure Java so Base interfaces nicely with the DB engine. If you read the article they stated that C++ would have been used if there was a free C++ database available that was suitable and had equal performance. HYSQLDB has a very good reputation for speed and features, some claim that it is faster that some C++ databases and it is also better that the newly released embedded database from IBM (Cloudscape). Anyway the source code for OpenOffice including HYSQLDB. It is just the dependency of a JRE. When GCJ is finished this will be a non issue. 2005-03-29 5:58 pm I posted earlier on this thread expressing my reservations on requiring Java for new OO.o 2.0 features. However, thanks to the devs at Red Hat/Fedora Core, we are now seeing the acceleration of a mature, fully functional gcj/classpath, and using it in real world implementations with 00.0 and Eclipse (with Eclipse being compiled natively, a feature of gcj, and using GTK as the widget toolkit). This is really, really good stuff. Thanks to Red Hat/Fedora, we are starting to see a de facto free, open source, GPL’d Java that can be used for real world applications. And with Fedora Core 4 coming shipped with gcj compiled OO.o, gcj compiled Eclipse, and Tomcat, and with RHEL shipping Jonas (also using gcj), we now get a choice in Java implementation, and can use it very soon (FC4 to be released in April). This is great, great news. I suspect IBM might jump on this bandwagon in the long run, and make WebSphere not only based on their own JRE and JDK, but also gcj. I can see HP do the same, as they are big JBoss partners (and JBoss might be drooling as well). This could cause a chain reaction that makes gcj/classpath (which will get more development momentum) an actual de facto standard, while dumb old Sun is stuck with maintaining the official “standard” of Java that no one ends up using. Another great benefit is the fact that gcj fully supports compiling to machine code, which, of course, if vastly more efficient than running intermediate byte code in a JVM. This will help the further development and usage of Java, and actually make it a viable desktop applications language, and take it out of it’s server side J2EE limitation. Of course, I could be totally wrong. But it’s a nice speculation to have. 😉 2005-03-29 6:33 pm I think that Mono is actually behind the acceleration of GCJ. May come just in time too.