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Great news for free software

by Laurent GUERBY Mon Nov 13th, 2006 at 06:16:09 PM EST

Sun Microsystems has choosen the GNU General Public Licence to open its Java technology: see the official annoucement page.



Here is my transcription of the small Richard Stallman video available on Sun site:

It will be very good that the Java trap won't exist anymore, it will be a thing of the past. That kind of problem can still exist in other areas but it won't exist for Java anymore. The GNU General Public Licence is the most popular, most widely used free software licence. The special thing about this licence is that it's a copyleft licence, that is to say all versions of the program must carry the same licence so the freedoms that the GNU GPL gives to the users must reach all the users of the program and that's the purpose for which I wrote it. I think Sun has, well with this contribution, has contributed more than any other company to the free software community in the form of software. And it shows leadership, it's an example I hope other will follow.

And here my transcription of the Eben Moglen video:

As Java became one of the most important languages for the expression of ideas about technology of programming in the last decade the question of Java's freedom, wether it could be use freely and made part of free software projects, has been a crucial question. Sun's policy of GPL'ing Java, which we are celebrating now, is an extraordinary achievement in returning programming technology to that state of freely available knowledge. Sun has now GPL'ed hardware designs, Sun is GPL'ing Java: that's an extraordinary vote of confidence in this way of sharing information. And we, in the free software world, are very pleased and very flattered to see Sun taking its own very valuable and very important product and agreeing with us that they will be more advantageous to Sun as well as to the rest of the community if they are shared under these rules.

Here is APRIL first reaction (french).

Same post on my blog

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Yey for Sun!

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by A swedish kind of death on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 06:14:16 AM EST
After Open Office it's hard to argue with RMS about what company contributed most these days :).
by Laurent GUERBY on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 06:45:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A great victory for restricted rights software: I'd much rather see infrastructural stuff like Java under a BSD license.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 12:48:00 PM EST
I'd much rather see Java purged from the world of computing.
It is such an unpleasant language to write in.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 12:57:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lisp rules!

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 12:57:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So long as we don't reach peak brackets.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:03:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lisp? All those parentheses are a pain (unless you have an editor that knows which ones match). Besides it's interpreted, so it's slow (or at least, old versions were). And why would anyone want code that can easily read and write code (if they've never had an opportunity to try it)?

Ooops (I'm getting mildly parenthetical).

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.

by technopolitical on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 04:47:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is that. Imagine - though you may not have to - Java being taught as an introductory language. Horrors.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:03:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am sure it is done somewhere.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:04:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I demonstrated on that course at one stage.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 01:06:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
University of Helsinki, department of computer science. Luckily I started 10 years ago and back then the introductory programming course was taught with Pascal. But nowadays it is Java.

You have a normal feeling for a moment, then it passes. --More--
by tzt (tzt) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 09:33:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Worse than PL/1? No -- a major university would never have used that, or even a subset of it.

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.
by technopolitical on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 04:50:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PL/1 is a breeze compared to APL

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 01:09:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I disagree with the opinion that java is horrible to use. It is even appropriate for an introduction to CS for those who are not destined to a career in IT. For those, it is of course essential that they start with a full year of handcoded MIPS or PowerPC assembly code in order to properly code in Java later :->

(e.g. avoid disastrous OutOfMemoryException's , StackOverflowException's, IllegalThreadStateException's, and a whole batch of other abominations I keep hunting all day... all written by top notch developers of J2EE software)

Pierre

by Pierre on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 11:09:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
May be you should check the licence again :)
by Laurent GUERBY on Tue Nov 14th, 2006 at 07:41:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
GPL is quite a restrictive licence.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 03:07:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant the licence choosen.

(And GPL is one of the less restrictive licence.)

by Laurent GUERBY on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 03:52:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
GPL is highly restrictive, far more so than (say) BSD licence.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 03:53:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't even understand about what you're talking...
by Nomad on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 11:48:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman hasn't read the Sun announcement and so makes a fool of himself :).

Also he implies a particular definition of "restriction": for example Microsoft taking your licensed code, fixing a bug and suing you if you try to fix it the same way on your copy is a certainly a big restriction to me, but not to Colman.

by Laurent GUERBY on Sat Nov 18th, 2006 at 06:48:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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