Posted by rvloock
on November 9, 2005 at 12:40 PM PST
I've searched a while for a suitable category to post this under, but coming up with empty-handed I hope you won't mind I post this here.
I have a currently 'hypothetical' question about the distrbution of Sun's J2SE JRE.
The license and README states that you're free to distribute the JRE yourself if you keep it intact, if it's used to support the bulk of your program, and more importantly, if you install it on general-purpose personal computers or servers.
Now, let's say that you build a certain software package based on Java, and let's say that you require Sun's JRE for whatever reason, and you distribute it along with it. So far, no problem I can see...
Now, let's say that you do something like Google with their Google Appliance (or what it's called), and distribute your software as a PC-based hardware product with the software on it, but still as an open general-purpose PC/server. That should still be OK, no?
Let's say you add hooks into your software package with RMI or a similar technology and expose the API so your customers will be able to hook into your software, and therefore your 'device' as described in the previous paragraph. This seems all perfectly valid and would actually encourage Java use.
Now let's say you want to secure your own product and source, and you close down the hardware device to something the customer can't manipulate (so it's no longer general purpose), but the software still performs what it's meant to do, and the library hooks are still there. So other than closing down the hardware (by software means or whatever is obtainable), for increased reliability and the likes.
If you do that, close down the hardware, then in fact, you have moved away from 'general-purpose' PC/server hardware. In theory, the hardware is still general-purpose, but in practice it isn't. So in that case you start violating the distribution terms of the JRE, no?
I'm seeking for some clarity on this matter. Would one be allowed to do everything described here? Or would a specific license from Sun be required, or should one flock to a future fully free JVM/JRE for these purposes?