Classpath and Kaffe

Stuart Ballard sballard at
Wed Jun 28 13:24:32 PDT 2000

Nic Ferrier wrote:
> Absoluely! I'm working on an HttpURLConnection that does pipelining,
> I don't know Classpath already has an implementation but if it hasn't
> I would like to donate the same class to both projects.
> It seems mad to me to have any duplication of effort within the free
> software community, we have enough problems as it is.

I've always felt this about the two projects. The last time I was
involved with a discussion of the issue was a long long time ago on the
Classpath list, and what seemed to happen was a bit of behind-the-scenes
negotiation and failure to come to any agreement. I'd rather see this
sort of discussion out in the open, at any rate.

The issues as I see it:

1) Merging code is hard in general - not necessarily a big problem;
classpath is dealing with it already with libgcj (the merge is currently
in progress so now might be a good time to get in... after all, it'd be
better to be merging three files at one time than to merge two, and THEN
have to go back and add another).
2) Kaffe is GPL, Classpath is GPL+Exception (making it approximately
equivalent to the LGPL, except with some differences important to Cygnus
as embedded users). Classpath's AWT, which I believe is not yet
functional, is un-modified (L?)GPL (for the express purpose of not
interfering with TransVirtual's business model, if I remember rightly).
This means that Classpath code can be imported into Kaffe but not vice
versa, which seems a bit of a shame.
3) Kaffe is copyright various people, in particular including
TransVirtual. Classpath is copyright FSF.
4) Classpath is multi-VM, Kaffe's libraries are (of course) designed for
Kaffe only. Classpath doesn't yet have a Kaffe port, although
periodically people suggest one and it's generally regarded as a good
idea if someone would actually do it.

None of these issues seem to preclude cooperation between the two - the
license issue is probably the biggest problem as no Kaffe code could be
merged into Classpath without adding the exception to the license. But I
haven't seen any real (public) discussion as to whether/how this could

Well, I guess I've set the stage for a real flamefest now... ;) I hope
not though - this seems like an issue that could use some *real* debate.


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