Improving Java for Linux

Nelson Minar nelson at
Wed Nov 5 16:27:07 PST 1997

You've misinterpreted me.

"John D. Gwinner" <gwinner at> said:
>>*why* doesn't Sun lift some of the license restrictions on the VM?
>So why doesn't JavaSoft give me a VM to embed in my product?  Frustrating.

I meant to ask why doesn't Sun lift some of the restrictions on the
*source license* for the VM. Binary licensing is a totally different
issue, I'm sorry I didn't make myself more clear. Sun's making it
difficult to get hands on the Java VM source code hinders the spread
of Java, and as near as I can tell protects no valuable intellectual
property of Sun's.

My impression is that lawyers who don't understand free software have
too much control over Java. I say this partly because of the past
troubles with Linux licensing, partly because Sun has not effectively
embraced the Unix community's strength in supporting itself.

>> Free software is not at its best playing catchup.
>Yes -- as others have pointed out, running free software as a
>_business_, in other words sticking to schedules when it's all
>volunteer time, is tough.

Uh, I'm not sure what this has to do with what I said. My point is
that it's hard to get volunteers to feel passionate about contributing
time if all they're doing is trying to reproduce some software that
already exists. It's not interesting to rewrite a Java bytecode
interpreter, for much the same reason it's not interesting to write a
free Windows clone or a free Word clone.

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