GPL Java

Bryan Sant bryan.sant at
Wed Nov 8 15:50:11 MST 2006

On 11/7/06, Michael Torrie <torriem at> wrote:
> I doubt it's something earth shattering.  But it is an insurance policy
> for Sun.  In order to compete with the Microsoft/Novell conspiracy (umm
> did I say that?), by GPLing Java, Sun can bring IBM and other community-
> based resources, such as GNU gcj and classpath, to bear on making Java
> better and more competitive with .NET.  At the same time they don't have

I'd say it's the other way around.  .NET is trying to compete in a
Java dominated market.  They are doing very well, but they are still
the underdog.  Nothing against .NET, I'm just clarifying that Sun
didn't do this out of desperation to compete with MS+Novell and .NET.
But I do think this will give Linux/Mono users one less reason to
choose mono over java.

> to crawl into bed with IBM (and get squished) because the GPL will make
> sure that IBM's benefits can come back and help Sun too.  There is a


> reason why Linux began after BSD but has now exceeded BSD in many areas,
> especially corporate interest.  That's the GPL.  Now Sun can also wield

Well, the biggest reason is because UC Berkley was in a serious
lawsuit with AT&T over the legality of distributing the BSD codebase.
Companies didn't want to adopt or contribute to the BSD codebase
because the plug could be pulled at any time and legal action could
even be directed at them.  AT&T lost in 1997 -- Linux had too much
steam by then.  What SCO (and we all know that MS was behind it) tried
to do to Linux is what actually happened to BSD.  The GPL doesn't
hurt, but I wouldn't say it is the reason that Linux is more
successful than BSD.  Linux didn't have the scary legal baggage that
BSD had and people wanted a free UNIX...  Hey let's try this Linux
thing over here instead!

> this to its advantage.  One can only hope that Sun's schizophrenia with
> regards to open source in general has now been cured, and that they can
> figure out just what kind of company they are.  Solaris? Linux? AMD?
> Sparc?  Are we even a hardware company at all?  Why do we do software
> again?  Are we competing with Apple?

I don't care if Sun figures it out or not.  Once the code is GPL they
can make a bazillion dollars or go out of business.  It doesn't effect
GPL java users.  However, Sun isn't going anywere.  Novell, HP, and
others would go out of business before Sun.


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