[ANNOUCEMENT] Kaffe: The future

Tim Wilkinson tim at transvirtual.com
Mon Feb 23 14:09:53 PST 1998


This is a year of changes, and it is high time to tell you about. By
beginning of 1998, Tim Wilkinson (of Kaffe) and Joerg and Peter Mehlitz
(of BISS-AWT) teamed up to form:

  Transvirtual Technologies Inc.
  1804 Fifth St.
  CA 94710,

As you might guess from what we have done in the past, our goal is
not just to provide our own Java system technology, but also doing
this in our very special way.

We are well aware of the fact that our former work got popular because
of our free user community. Many people from around the world have
contributed to this work. They deserve that we continue to focus on
a free system with public sources. As a consequence, this will be
our main goal: developing an efficient, portable and publicly available
Java-compatible system that comes with sources. Period.

Having our own company, and not being confined by other copyrights
and schedules, helps a lot on our way towards this goal. But there
is no free meal. During the past year, we also experienced considerable
"exploitation" by others, not contributing anything, but trying to
make money with our work. Now we, ourselves, have to think about how
to make a living from that. The way we want to combine free and commercial
software resembles a bit what turned out to work with Ghostscript.
And who would deny that this system is a valuable contribution to
free software, even if it is not under the GPL?

The main system (with sources for the VM, core libraries and the AWT) will
be free for commercial and non-commercial purposes, but not for all platforms
and not for somebody who tries to make money with modified versions
of it. Don't worry, Linux and Net/Free-BSD folks. Since your communities
care for their freedom, these platforms will remain free (at least
if you don't run it on vendor specific, proprietary HW). The restricted
ones most notably include DOS and some embedded system platforms.
Distributing the system on CD-ROMs will become easier.

There will be versions of the system without public sources and binaries.
Since this is a commercial market anyway, or main commercial targets
will be:

* embedded systems

* ports to non-standard, proprietary HW

* ports to commercial operating systems, not supported by others

* customised VMs for a corporate environment (low memory footprint
  and distributed VMs)

* customised development environments

Besides this, we also hope to get some sponsoring for the free main
system. The more we get, the less commercial, proprietary work we
will have to do.

Why did we wait for so long to let you know?  Part of this is due to
the fact that it took us some time to get operational (moving to Berkeley,
getting an office, setting up servers). But the main reason is different:
we wanted to combine our announcement with a new, full release of
kaffe (including Java 1.1 compatible Java libraries and AWT). This would
have been possible since Joerg and Peter already had a working, stand-alone
AWT (based on BISS-AWT) in November 1997.  Unfortunately, BISS GmbH
ceased any support for BISS-AWT at the end of last year, and we were
not able to get any acceptable agreement to release that work.  The bottom line
is that we had to go back to the labs, to develop a new AWT implementation
which is not ``owned'' by others.  This is our topmost priority, and
we expect to get it out in March. The whole BISS affair will be subject
to an additional announcement in the BISS-AWT mailing list.

Enough said - now it is your turn. Please let us know about your point
of view, whether you have questions about the license, want to contribute
work for the free system, think of sponsoring, are interested in commercial
work, or think of some other kind of cooperation.

Given all the expertise that is concentrated inside of Transvirtual,
and given your support, we have it in our hands to build the free,
fast and small Java-like system we all dream of. Regardless of all
obstacles which have been put in our way during the past: This is
the beginning. The race is on.

Tim, Peter and Joerg

For more information:
        Web:    http://www.transvirtual.com
        Email:  info at transvirtual.com

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