Sun's Tests

Martin Herdieckerhoff mhe at
Wed Nov 12 02:00:49 PST 1997

On Tue, 11 Nov 1997, Clark Evans wrote:

> I am specifically worried about:
> which says:
>       Sun Microsystems, Inc.  (SUN) hereby grants to you a
>       fully-paid, nonexclusive, nontransferable, perpetual,
>       worldwide limited license (without the right to sublicense)
>       under SUN's intellectual property rights that are essential
>       to practice this specification.  This license allows and is
>       limited to the creation and distribution of clean room
>       implementations of this specification that (i) include a
>       complete implementation of the current version of this
>       specification without subsetting or supersetting, (ii)
>       implement all the interfaces and functionality of the
>       standard java.* packages as defined by SUN, without
>       subsetting or supersetting, (iii) do not add any additional
>       packages, classes or methods to the java.* packages (iv)
>       pass all test suites relating to the most recent published
>       version of this specification that are available from SUN
>       six (6) months prior to any beta release of the clean room
>       implementation or upgrade thereto, (v) do not derive from
>       SUN source code or binary materials, and (vi) do not include
>       any SUN binary materials without an appropriate and separate
>       license from SUN.
> (iv) is especially distrurbing.  In my own capacity, I asked Sun to 
> please contact me regarding:
> 1.  How do I get the tests mentioed in (iv) for a cleanroom effort.
> 2.  How do I get a license from sun to include binary materials in a 
>      cleanroom the distribution for libraries like JFC and RMI that
>      are 100% pure.
> In general, I think it would be good for sun to be able to point at the 
> and say "See Microsoft... here we have good people out there,
> respecting our test suites and licenses.. that haven't even signed."
> So they should be very helpful to Kaffee.  

The chances of getting Sun's Java test suite to validate Kaffe for free
are absolutely zero.

Sun likes very much to say that their Java platform is open, that the
full JVM specification is freely available, and that everybody is allowed
to implement her own JVM. And certainly this is true. This is also a very
important marketing argument to differentiate themselves from much more
proprietary approaches of the competition.

On the other hand Sun is not at all interested that everybody be able to
write her own JVM, Java libraries, and so on. They try hard to be ahead
of others as much as possible while being kind of open at the same time to
give Java a chance in the market.

Now to the Java test suite:
Initially, Sun said they would be making the test suite available for
free. Later on they said, they were in the process of discussing whether
or not to make it available for free. Just recently, I read a statement
from Sun that they invested huge amounts of many into this test suite
and that they consider this suite to be one of their most important and
most valuable property (this statement from Sun might have been in discussing the counter sue regarding IE4's Java
incompatibility). Well, we can see the trend.

This test suite is kind of an oracle: You pass it - it is Java. You
don't pass it - it is not Java. Sun does not want anybody having not
paid a license to be able to say: Look here, I have implemented this,
it is cleanroom, it is Java, and I can *prove* that it is Java.
You may implement what you want, it may perfectly fit any available Java
specification, but without the fee-full help of Sun, you will not be
able to *prove* that you indeed adhere to the specification, and
therefore, you will not be allowed to call it Java. No, Sun will never
give these test suites away easily.

Moreover, the Java test suite would be incredibly helpful for getting
a JVM or library implementation right. Sun noisily allows us to
implement their specifications but they will not give us any
assistance in doing this - let alone such a tremendous one as donating
their test suite.

Knowing that the test suite is such an important issue for Sun, M$ is
trying to make a big thing out of public availability of this suite in
their counter sue regarding IE4's Java incompatibility.

Regarding testing of Kaffe's adherence to the Java specifications
I see the following issues:
- A free Java test suite is required
- This test suite is not likely to come from Sun
- Standardization of Java might have an impact on the availability
  of test suites in some form
- Some companies have these test suites. It is unlikely that one of them
  would be willing to use them for testing Kaffe. But just given this
  case: Would their license allow them to do so?

-- Martin

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed are my own and not those of my employer.

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