Official announcement of Java and the GPL

Michael Torrie torriem at
Mon Nov 13 06:35:42 MST 2006

At the risk of re-opening an old thread that I am guilty of prolonging,
details of the Java GPL release are trickling out.  Looks like the
runtime libraries themselves will be GPL with a special linking
exception (similar to GLIBC).  Sun will retain the copyright (of
course), and ask that any contributions to Java turn over the copyright,
allowing Java to be dual-licensed.  This way companies that want to
license the Sun source code can do so without having to make their own
code GPL.  This is a win-win for Sun.  They can continue to cultivate
commercial contracts and associations while giving Java a life of its
own under the GPL.  Also we can immediately see projects like the GNU
CLasspath merging Java code into their own code bases, producing a
completely compatible, completely free version of Java, or else just
disappearing entirely (since the real classpath is now completely free
in every way).  Not to mention we'll see immediate porting of Java to
all the Linux platforms that currently do not support it (although
porting a JIT takes a lot of work).

This is indeed great news and makes RedHat very very happy, as they have
started to embrace Java, with the GNU gcj and classpath system.  I also
note that RedHat's lawyers are still okay with them distributing Mono in
Fedora Core (only a few gnome apps are C#, and they aren't core), as
they believe that MS's patents largely do not cover the parts of the
EMCA standard that gnome apps use (IE they don't use, etc).

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