Improving Java for Linux

John D. Gwinner gwinner at
Thu Nov 6 20:12:29 PST 1997


First off, I didn't say the parts in : >'s, just the : parts.

> : > Microsoft is right.  Sun is trying to turn the Java platform into a
> : > proprietary environment which only Sun controls.  
> I disagree, because Sun has applied to submit Java for ISO
> standardization.  

(Jim Pick's statement, although I agree with it)

And was Java accepted for ISO?  They want to retain, no, OWN the rights to
a language. I'd have a lot of problem with Sun owning an ISO standard

> Sun wants Java to be portable.  Sun does not
> want Java to be restricted to any range of platforms.  That is
> why Sun is actively developing JVM models for embedded, for
> smartcards, for PDAs, &c.  

Sun wants to make money.

Java is a way that Sun can continue to sell platforms, if Java is popular
enough then the dominance of Windows goes away.

All are true views of what's going on, and although I don't agree with
their view, I understand why they have it and I'd agree with it if I was a
stockholder.  Oh, the cash from licensing deals helps too.

Java just happens to be a cool language, IMHO, but that's a fall out <G>

> : > So, does anybody else feel like it might be time to "diverge" a bit
> : > Sun's definition of what the Java platform should be?  
> Foolhardy.  

Again, not my original comment; Jim Pick said it. 

What I was talking about was a slight modification of this -- a 'subset'
of Java if you will, which I think Jim was also thinking of.

Why is that foolhardy?

> Wait until ISO standardizes.  

On what?  If ISO standardizes on a language that is wholly owned and
controlled by Sun/JavaSoft (whoever) then I've got big problems with that.

> If ISO standardizes, Sun will follow, and so should free-dom.


> That's JDK 1.1 right now, JDK 1.2 in a few months.  

Not for me, at least not yet.

> : Is Java patented?
> No.

Interesting -- then can we get away with this core of Kaffe as an ISO

> : I have a lot of problem with a basic language being treated as 
> : proprietary in any event; I like this idea a lot.
> In what sense?  

In the sense that JavaSoft originally wanted 6 figures for me to include
Java in my application, unless I wrote the app IN Java.  Nobody makes me
pay 6 digits to write an application in C.

> I really don't like to perpetuate these non-productive
> threads by participating, but this is really coming from some
> alternate, counterfactual, universe.  

Them's fighting words!  

How is this counterfactual?  Are you saying that it's free to use Java? 
The communications I've had with JavaSoft were quite different; it's
possible they changed their policy in a 180 (as I've been careful to
note).  BUT --
any company that can control a language the way they seem intent on doing,
in my mind, is "proprietary".

> In what way is Java being
> treated as proprietary, aside from the trademark?  

Well, that's a major way right there!  If I can't say that my program is
written IN Java, then that's a bit of a restriction, isn't it?

It doesn't cost me anything to advertise that my application is written in
C++.  What happens to me if I say that my native program can include Java
programs?  Now I've violated a trademark, and you better believe that will

I'm NOT a Java expert, but who decides what the language consists of? 
Isn't it's Sun's right to extend or modify the basic VM and language, but
no one else's?  Anyone that can change something with no one else having
the right controls something -- and makes it proprietary.  

I haven't read the license agreement in depth, so I can't really talk
about this authoritatively, hopefully someone else will step in.

If I can't sell my program without paying royalties and annual maintenance
to JavaSoft or Sun, then where's the freedom?  Again, this might have

> In terms of the
> JVM, Kaffe is (non-conformant) Java, Access Co. Ltd. of Japan's
> JV-Lite is (non-conformant) Java.  I don't see anyone sueing anyone
> over the technical substance -- just Sun sueing Microsoft for
> violating a contract.  No bearing on the free world, whatsoever.
> Y'all seem to be buying the FUD!  Stop that!

Ok, that's is good point, but I've been careful to caveat the places
where things might have changed, and I'm looking forward to more than just
'na na you're wrong' discussion of this.  If it's really changed, can you
refer me to a license agreement?  The only one I got from Sun was quite,
quite expensive (which was a matter of public record, I haven't broken my
NDA with Sun).

		== John ==

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