Official announcement of Java and the GPL

Bryan Sant bryan.sant at
Mon Nov 13 13:58:55 MST 2006

On 11/13/06, Gabriel Gunderson <gabe at> wrote:
> The ad on the product page
> says - "Always Open. Now Free."
> Is that right?  I don't think that captures the essence of what's
> happened.  I like "Always free. Now Free." or something like that.

Java has always been open, as opposed to closed.  Java source code has
always been available via the SCSL (Sun Common Source License), and
then later the more relaxed JRL (Java Research License).  Both options
allowed the viewing, compiling, and using of the Java code.  You just
couldn't redistribute, fork, etc.  In addition, Java has always been
governed by the Java Community Process (JCP).  All of this is in no
way near the same level of open-ness of say Linux and the GPL.  But it
was far more open than most commercially developed software.  So that
statement is right.  Java has never been a "black box", it's always
been "open" for anyone to view, inspect, and contribute.  However,
Java was not liberated as it soon will be.


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