GPL Java

Jason Holt jason at
Wed Nov 8 11:50:50 MST 2006

On Tue, 7 Nov 2006, Michael Torrie wrote:

> On Tue, 2006-11-07 at 23:48 -0700, Michael Torrie wrote:
>> On Wed, 2006-11-08 at 06:14 +0000, Jason Holt wrote:
>>> On Tue, 7 Nov 2006, Michael Torrie wrote:
>>>> Of course the Java class libraries are of necessity not under the GPL.
>>>> (Neither are the GNU Class Libraries).  So it will remain to be seen
>>> Why is that?
>> Because if the class libraries were GPL then you could only produce GPL
>> programs in Java, as all Java programs have to link against the class
>> libraries at runtime.  The GNU Classpath libraries are produced under
>> the GPL with a special exception[1] to allow linking your external
>> programs against these libraries.  This is really an extension of the
>> built-in GPL exception clause that says a GPL'd app can link against
>> non-GPL'd system-shipped runtime libraries and vice versa.

That makes sense.  Weren't class libraries the hard part in trying to build a 
Free Java system?  How does Sun license theirs?  Is it non-viral for programs 
that link in, but non-Free for people to download?  Is that we've always had 
to download the jre from sun (or pick up jikes from ibm)?


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