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Microsoft and a WFC killer app

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weberjn
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Joined: 2003-11-11
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If Java were opensourced, Microsoft were free to create a non-compatible Java (e.g. resurrect Windows Foundation Classes). Non of the currently discussed licenses, not even the GPL, prohibits this. (And if Sun were to create a special license that would prohibit forking and creating non compatible versions, this wouldn't be a real open source license.)

So, what if Microsoft put a swing-less, WFC-resurrected JVM into all Windows installations _and_ included some real killer apps written against this JVM?

Then everybody would use the non-Sun-compatible MS JVM and nobody would bother to download the Sun JVM. With time even Eclipse would be written against this JVM. Imagine enough users complaining that Eclipse wouldn't run with the JVM on their machines.

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flozano
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Joined: 2004-01-22
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> Microsoft OTOH have a strategic alliance with Sun,
> IBM being the common enemy.

Check Microsoft past alliances and see if this makes Sun safe.

> And oh, Microsoft does have a hand in open source and
> standards bodies.
> They're a core partner of the W3 for example, plus
> the CORBA working groups, and others.

It's amazing how Microsoft fails to comply with the standards themselves help develop, like CSS.

flozano
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Joined: 2004-01-22
Points: 0

> If Java were opensourced, Microsoft were free to
> create a non-compatible Java (e.g. resurrect Windows
> Foundation Classes). Non of the currently discussed
> licenses, not even the GPL, prohibits this.

Actually if Sun uses either the GPL or LGPL to open source Java, this cenario would backfire on Microsoft. Because their extensions and changes would have to be released onder the GPL and LGPL as well, so Sun could incorporate them and any other JVM provider (including Linux distributions and Apple) would be also able to take Microsoft code and port to their architectures. In the end the advantages of "this runs only with Microsoft JVM" would be nullified.

Actually this would be very bennefical for Java developers and users, as all of them would have unrestricted and royalty-free access to the Microsoft improvements.

sumitkishore
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Joined: 2003-06-10
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They can't get .NET right, and their foray into a forked JVM will kill off Sun and tame Eclipse?

It's good to be wary of behemoths like MS and Google, but I can't see why so many people think of their threat in paranoiac terms.

jwenting
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Joined: 2003-12-02
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I'm far more concerned with what IBM will do than what Microsoft might do.
IBM has for years been trying to drag control over Java away from Sun or else make the platform insignificant.

Microsoft OTOH have a strategic alliance with Sun, IBM being the common enemy.

And oh, Microsoft does have a hand in open source and standards bodies.
They're a core partner of the W3 for example, plus the CORBA working groups, and others.

rabbe
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Joined: 2003-06-14
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> I'm far more concerned with what IBM will do than
> what Microsoft might do.

I certainly agree with you on this. IBM would have far more interest in Java than MS would. It's somewhat telling that the media these days can't seem to draw the distinction between eclipse and Java often using the names interchangably as though eclipse were somehow an alternative to Java rather than a RCP that requires a Java runtime.

leouser
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Joined: 2005-12-12
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the media seems to mess up quite a bit. I thought I read the other day where not having Java Open Sourced was keeping it from being included in the Linux kernel. While a slightly provacative thought, I think the goal hasn't been to make the VM part of the kernel but make it more acceptable to Linux distributions.

leouser

robilad
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Joined: 2004-05-05
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FWIW, if one wants a VM in the kernel, see http://teaseme.sourceforge.net/ ;)

ghackmann
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Joined: 2005-06-08
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> Non of the currently discussed
> licenses, not even the GPL, prohibits this.

If the Java class library is released under a copyleft license -- even a weak copyleft license like the LGPL or CDDL -- then Microsoft would have to release their changes under the same license. Microsoft would be very unlikely to do this, since (a) working on copyleft software is against their corporate culture; and (b) it would be possible for developers to port the Microsoft extensions to other OSes, eliminating the ties to their OS.

Also, I think Microsoft could effectively do this today: they could bundle the Sun VM with Windows, include proprietary extensions in .JAR files, and set the default CLASSPATH environment variable to point to their extensions.

atripp
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Joined: 2003-07-15
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> > Non of the currently discussed
> > licenses, not even the GPL, prohibits this.
>
> If the Java class library is released under a
> copyleft license -- even a weak copyleft license like
> the LGPL or CDDL -- then Microsoft would have to
> release their changes under the same license.

Only if the MS class library is based on Sun's. They already have their own cleanroom implementation, so they could still just do that.

> Microsoft would be very unlikely to do this, since
> e (a) working on copyleft software is against their
> corporate culture; and (b) it would be possible for
> developers to port the Microsoft extensions to other
> OSes, eliminating the ties to their OS.

Again, none of this applies to their own cleanroom implementation. So MS can do what the OP claims, and in fact, they already did. They just can't call it "Java" (as evidenced by the settlement in the Sun/MS lawsuit that followed).

>
> Also, I think Microsoft could effectively do this
> today: they could bundle the Sun VM with Windows,
> include proprietary extensions in .JAR files, and set
> the default CLASSPATH environment variable to point
> to their extensions.

Yup, that's exactly what they already did, and they could do it today. In fact, they *do* do it today, really. The VM that comes in IE is bundled with Windows and is incompatible with Sun's.

tompalmer
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Joined: 2006-08-26
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And besides, Microsoft already still maintains a version of Java. See J# (http://msdn.microsoft.com/vjsharp/).

And it's all just computers anyway.

Don't worry. Be happy.

larswestergren
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Joined: 2006-02-20
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I agree with Rabbe. Consider how much money Microsoft has poured into developing and especially marketing the .Net platform. No way are they going to drop that in favour of Java now, it would cost them heaps of money to support/continually develop both platforms. Also, and it would be a huge loss of face if they did a really popular app in java rather than C#/.Net.

Even if they DID do this, it would not follow that "everybody would use the MS JVM". The biggest open source projects are also aware of the anti-Microsoft sentiment among many of their developers and users, so they wouldn't risk alienating them by doing a Windows only app. No need to worry.

rabbe
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Joined: 2003-06-14
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I'm sure you're not telling Sun something they don't already know.

Microsoft probably won't bother messing with Java since they have .Net. There would be no great or competitive advantage for them to do some.

You're right that pretty much anything goes as long as they don't call it Java. I could see a slimmed down Java compatible (remember J2EE compatible JBoss before it was certified?) gaining some steam. I doubt many would care that it's not called Java as long as the runtime met a specific requirement.

Honestly there is nothing preventing this from happening today. Take for example gcj, kaffe and classpath which are not officially Java but are compatible enough to be useful for some. It's likely that the community will center around Sun's efforts and the other implementations I just mentioned will whither and die.

I too would have preferred Java remain closed, but we're beyond that now and it's time to look forward to the advantages open source Java will bring and not dwell on the disadvantages.