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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 21:54:05 +0200

On Sun, 2007-10-21 at 12:26 -0400, Richard Stallman wrote:
> 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.
> Wait a minute!  I thought Sun had already liberated all the Java
> libraries that it had the legal power to liberate.  Is that not the
> case?

The biggest part was some of the security and crypto code, since US
export regulations had to be checked this wasn't released yet, but now
is. This is a large chunk of code, we are also using the crypto code
from GNU Classpath, but having the reference implementation now also
available under the GPL does help a lot.

They are also working on replacing some of the fonts and graphics stuff
that they couldn't release since they don't have the legal power to do
so. Some of this code will better integrate with . This is code Sun
engineers are writing from scratch, while for IcedTea the GNU Classpath
bits were used. The GNU Classpath code didn't really integrate that
well, so some compromises had to be made, in particular there isn't any
anti-aliasing enabled. The hope is that the code that the Sun engineers
are writing themselves will integrate better. Depending on how important
pixel-perfect matching of the old proprietary engine is for an
individual this is or isn't super important. It would certainly be nice
to have smoother graphics and fonts in the future.

Then there are some small cases where their own code is tangled up with
code of parties that don't want to see it released under the GPL. These
are some of the path algorithms used in the graphics engine for example.
They are working on untangling that code, but it isn't a completely
trivial thing to do. There we have as much as we can just replaced the
whole subpart of that library with GNU Classpath code in IcedTea.

The missing parts that I believe they should have the legal power to
liberate, but that they haven't yet are the webbrowser applet plugin and
the jnlp webstart engine (a remote application framework). It isn't
clear why these parts haven't been released. There might or might not be
legal issues which prevent it from being released. Meanwhile we have
replaced the plugin with gcjwebplugin and are working on integrating
netx, which is available under the GPL and has made to work with gcj
already, into IcedTea/openJDK to provide the same functionality.

I (and others) obviously do keep pushing Sun to give a clear roadmap for
that code to be released under the GPL or to confirm that they don't
have the legal power to (all) that code. But till they are clear on this
we keep working on providing replacements for these parts ourselves



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