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[Javaweb-discuss] Re: [rms] Re: Is Java free software?

From: Mark Wielaard
Subject: [Javaweb-discuss] Re: [rms] Re: Is Java free software?
Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2007 00:07:21 +0200


Sorry for the late reply, I misfiled this email.

On Sun, 2007-09-30 at 21:37 -0400, Richard Stallman wrote:
> > What about if you add other free components
>     > such as from classpath and/or GJC?  How adequate is
>     > the resulting combination?
>     That is what a lot of individuals have been working on. Replacing the
>     binary blobs with code from GNU Classpath and adapting the build process
>     so that it can all be bootstrapped with GCJ. You can find the result at
> Where are we on the path to getting this done?

Pretty far actually. IcedTea has a complete build system so that
everything can be bootstrapped with gcj on x86 and x86_64 GNU/Linux
platforms. The latest release for GNU Classpath had a lot of work to
better support the OpenJDK compiler and the icedtea bootstrapping
process. Red Hat is working on extending hotspot (the openjdk runtime
engine) so that it has an interpreter that can be run on other
platforms, in particular for PPC. And the Cacao project has integrated
their GPLed JIT engines with icedtea/openjdk which adds support for arm,
mips, s390 and sparc architectures (not all fully working yet, but
progress is being made). Most of the encumbrances in openjdk have been
replaced with code from GNU Classpath in icedtea. And Sun itself has
liberated more code. They are kind of matching the icedtea progress,
when icedtea integrates part of GNU Classpath then they have their
internal teams be more public on their work. We are hoping they will
also liberate their plugin applet browser code. IcedTea has integrated
gcjwebplugin which works mostly, but misses some advanced features.

> Do we have teams working on all the replacement libraries that are
> needed?  Could it help to find you more people to work in parallel
> on some additional tasks?

There isn't such a big team, but it is a very dedicated group and I
believe most remaining issues are being addressed. Current work is
getting IcedTea into Fedora, Debian and Ubuntu so that more users and
developers know about the progress made and will help finish any missing

The biggest "task" really is getting a good relationship with the Sun
engineers. They are still not used to working in the open and trusting
'outside developers". On the other hand, they do seriously work on free
software replacements for the encumbrances they still have in OpenJDK.
This does duplicate some of the work, but it will result in more
software under the GPL, so it isn't that bad (they duplicate part of the
work since they want to hold full copyright on the end result so they
can also relicense under proprietary terms). They do know that with the
openjdk/classpath icedtea hibrid we have a good enough implementation
that the GNU/Linux implementations will want to ship instead of OpenJDK
itself since IcedTea is fully free software. That does mean they are
pretty cooperative. At least as much as you can expect from a group of
engineers which isn't really used to working on Free Software. But
things seem to be growing.



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