GPL Java

Bryan Sant bryan.sant at
Wed Nov 8 15:33:42 MST 2006

On 11/7/06, Michael Torrie <torriem at> wrote:
> 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.
> Michael

Not necessarily.  The Linux kernel is GPL, but people produce non-GPL
kernel modules.  How is this possible?  Sun will have a similar
exemption in their GPL adoption.  You won't have to GPL your Java
apps.  They are also going to dual-license the JVM like MySQL does
with their database.  So if you're BEA or Motorola, you license the
JVM from Sun and make your own JVM, without having to give away your
code.  However, I think most will find the GPL restriction to be fine
and the licensing of the JVM code will go way down.  Everyone will
just contribute to the GPL codebase.

If they don't GPL the class libraries at the same time they do the
JVM, it will be soon after.  They've always said they want to, they
just have to work out some legal things (rewrite parts of the class
library for which they don't exclusively own that code).


More information about the PLUG mailing list