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Provide simplistic implementation of Java as open source

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angben
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Joined: 2004-10-07

Every Linux distribution should include a complete Java 6.0 implementation by default. To get there, for reasons that include philosophy/religion, distributions would require the Java runtime license to be tweaked and the source to be opened.

I agree that downloading and installing Java onto a Linux box is both easy and free. (Thanks Sun!). However, anytime an additional step is necessary, it hurts ubiquity.

I know that open sourcing or better yet, LGPLing Java in some way, is pie in the sky. After all, there are a lot of things in the Java VM's source code that Sun probably doesn't want to just "give away" by releasing it in an open source / free software friendly license.

However, a Java VM can be implemented in MANY ways. Pure interpretation, compilation straight to native code (GNU's classpath project), all the way to the high-octane power of Sun's hotspot.

So what I would ask is, Sun -- please open up and free a SIMPLE implementation of Java. It could even be largely interpreted with stupid GC. It doesn't matter, as long as it is 1) a complete and up-to-date implementation, and 2) free software, in the hippy-open-source-philosophy way.

You could even somewhat officially assist an existing open source Java VM implementation, much like you have assisted and leveraged implementations like Tomcat.

Either Sun delivers a complete and up-to-date "free as in freedom"/open version of Java, or some third party will do it. From a PR standpoint, I think it would be better to be seen as understanding the paradigm shift to open source Java as opposed to letting someone else beat you to it.

(Apologies to all for blurring open source & free software ("free as in freedom"), as I know they are different facets of what Java needs to become.

Thanks for listening.

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vhi
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Joined: 2004-10-11

>> Open source developers do not need Sun.
Open Source needs Java as much as Sun needs Open Source. Shall I point out Havoc Pennington's arguments for using Java as the desktop language for Linux? See http://ometer.com/desktop-language.html.

>> Nobody cares if Sun goes out of business, or if Java dies. Java has already failed on the client side, in case you haven't noticed.
I would not say that. There are many of us who care if Java fails, just like there are many of us who care if Linux fails. Maybe you do not care. But I do not think you wanted to speak for all of us.

Anyway, I should not have replied, as this thread seems to be doomed for another holy war.

slava
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Joined: 2003-06-10

May I add that if Java was to go open source, in an uncrippled fashion, I would be sure to contribute bug fixes.

jdavi
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Joined: 2003-06-11

Hi,
I don't think that the main problem for get a open source implementation of Java is the VM, it is the class library.

Cheers
JD

slava
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Joined: 2003-06-10

What linux distro will want to carry bloated, slow buggy Java -- crippled even further with the removal of the JIT compiler?

patrikbeno
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Joined: 2004-10-11

At least it would be open source Java 5 or 6.
The point here is about open sourcing not about production quality. Soources would be the startup for open source developers.
At least you could run some java app out fo the box and if you want you may download SUN's JRE

Disclaimer: I think opensourcing Java is an interisting idea. I am still not convinced if it can help Java itself.

slava
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Joined: 2003-06-10

No self-respecting open source developer would touch, much less contribute to, a crippled open source Java implementation without Hotspot.

Open source Common Lisp implementations such as SBCL and CMUCL already provide extremely sophisticated dynamic compilers that are competitive with, and in some cases beat, Hotspot.

patrikbeno
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Joined: 2004-10-11

That's the whole point, Slava. open source developers should implement the opensource HotSpot

slava
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Joined: 2003-06-10

Why should they? The open source community owes Sun nothing.

patrikbeno
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Joined: 2004-10-11

damn it! if open source wants open source JDK (and it does!), it must either implement full JDK completely or be happy if SUN is/would be willing to provide it.

If open source wants opensource production quality JRE, then it will have to implement whole JVM or at least that HotSpot/JIT/whatever thing and be happy if Sun gives them at least interpreted JVM.

It's not about whether open source owes anything to anybody. I't about what open source wants.

slava
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Joined: 2003-06-10

Open source developers do not need Sun.
The community does not need Sun.
Nobody cares if Sun goes out of business, or if Java dies. Java has already failed on the client side, in case you haven't noticed.
Sun needs open source.
Sun needs a thriving community.
So Sun should open source Java, including Hotspot. Of course, they're free not to, its their choice to fail.

patrikbeno
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Joined: 2004-10-11

Well maybe Java failed on client side (but I don't think so, I use a lot of Java cllient apps). but there's no doubt that on server-side Java rules.

patrikbeno
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Joined: 2004-10-11

As I think about it, maybe it would be acceptable for Sun to open-source Java 6.0 which supports interpreted mode only (without hotspot)

angben
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Joined: 2004-10-07

Exactly -- sure it would be slow, but it would be complete and up-to-date. Most importantly, it would be ubiquitous. Every Linux distro would carry it.

Folks who cared about the performance aspect of it could then go and upgrade to the Sun VM rpms, but at least every Linux desktop would also be a Java desktop. I think that is critical for Java, which is losing mindshare in the Linux world to truly free-as-in-freedom languages like Perl and Python.

vhi
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Joined: 2004-10-11

I do not think that Sun, when decides to open source Java at all, will be stingy on its implementation. It would really give Bad Name for Java in the Linux world if it releases a dumb implementation (already many proponents of GNOME are loud-mouthed about Java's supposed 'slowness'.

IMHO, Sun has to first decide whether to open source Java at all. They want control over Java, which is fine by me, provided they have a license policy which will enable Linux distributers to distribute Java freely, and Sun must take some steps like easy JNI, making it easy to implement applications that integrate well with Linux. I really want to see Java take over as the defacto development platform for GNOME with implementations in C appearing as exceptions).