GPL Java

Steve smorrey at
Wed Nov 8 12:06:16 MST 2006

My last few linux distros have shipped with the option to install sun
java w/o any more headache and overhead than for instance BlackDown.
I was mildly impressesed.  In fact it's because of these recent
changes I've decided to one and for all put Java on my list of
proficiencies, by going full bore out and learning it.

On 11/8/06, Jason Holt <jason at> wrote:
> 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)?
>                                                         -J
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