Improving Java for Linux

veillard at veillard at
Thu Nov 6 07:20:20 PST 1997

[Repost of bounced from Paul Michael Reilly <pmr at>

Nelson Minar writes:
 > I agree entirely. I almost switched to Windows a few months ago
 > because all my research now relies on Java programming. I didn't
 > switch because even if the JVM is fantastic, Windows still does suck.

Truly.  I recently made Linux my "first" system, relegating NT to the
background.  What a breath of fresh air is Linux --- except for Java
and browsing.  NT should be so reliable.

 > >The thing that is really, truly, and sadly missing is a highly
 > >interactive effort, in the best Linux tradition, towards generating
 > >tools that allow the general community to dig into encountered
 > >problems (at the source level) so that we can offer up fixes, making
 > >life easier for everyone.
 > I agree that this is the problem - we can't do the free software thing
 > with Java because the existing Java code is not free. But I don't
 > think the fault is with the Blackdown folks, or the kaffe folks, or
 > anyone else who's been working hard on Java for Linux. The problem is
 > with Java's licensing terms. We can't touch the source code.

We (Linux/Free Software Community) can do the free software thing with

We can do nothing about Java's licensing terms.

These are two of my fundamental principles in attacking this
Java/Linux problem.

 > (An aside - *why* doesn't Sun lift some of the license restrictions on
 > the VM? It's not like their VM is high quality or particularly fancy.
 > If they really want to beat Microsoft, it'd help if they gave us well
 > meaning hackers the access we need to improve Java on Unix.)

Who knows.  Doesn't matter though.  I can't control Sun, or Microsoft,
or Kaffe, or Netscape.  Just me.  So I'll do the little that I can and
go from there.

 > >I certainly am ready to take the plunge and attempt to help remedy
 > >this situation. My goals are to have robust, reliable, bleeding edge,
 > >Free, Java tools for Java application development, with many, many
 > >hackers contributing to the process.
 > That's kind of you. But my own feeling is that trying to write a new
 > VM right now is not worth the effort. Maybe working on kaffe to
 > improve it will be, since kaffe is fairly far along already. But Java
 > is moving very fast - Java 1.1 is a major change over 1.0, and 1.2 is
 > going to be another big increment. Only Microsoft has the resources to
 > keep up with Sun. Free software is not at its best playing catchup.

I have no intention of writing a new VM.  My purview says that the
right thing to do is to fix the problems I'm aware of with Kaffe,
distribute it GPLd early and often, merging in Tim's distributions and
accepting patches from all comers.  If the FSF wants my work, I'll
give it to them.  If not, no sweat.  I'll just keep doing what I can.

I won't be able to keep up with Sun, but WE will be able to.
Especially if someone can act as a catalyst to enable the Linux
process.  I'll do it till someone takes over and carries the torch.

With any luck, my effort will never get off the ground. :-)

 > >I'm anxious to embrace Cygnus' Java/GCC efforts, but so far these have
 > >been vaporware as near as I can tell.
 > I think they're farther along than that - it looks to me from the
 > outside that Cygnus is quite committed to improving the Java situation
 > for Unix. Between gcc and kaffe they have quite a base, and I have
 > heard rumours they've got some code working. But we haven't heard much
 > from them, so it's hard to know how far along they are.

Any URL's?  Does Cygnus intend on making their efforts GPLd?  I'll
gladly use any code they make available and give them any they desire.


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