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GPL Java – What will it mean?

November 16, 2006

Well Sun has made lots of noise about open sourcing Java for some time so I guess it’s not a huge surprise that they finally made good on their promise. I think a lot of people were surprised that they released Java under the GPL but in many that license choice makes a lot of sense.

I highly doubt that this will make much difference to the average Java developer. I don’t really expect to see a great rush of improvements and bug fixes from the open source community – and I think it any forks will not gain much traction. Developing a JVM and language library of the size and complexity of the Java platform is no simple task and, some exceptions aside, Sun do an excellent job of maintaining Java as it is. I expect this will continue to be the case going forward.

One area I do think will get a big boost is with packaging Java into various distributions. The GPL is a much friendlier license for distributions and I’m sure we’re going to see Java’s integration with Linux and the Linux ecosystem improve as a result of this move. It would certainly have been better for them to have done this before Mono gained such a strong presence there.

I do feel sorry for all the people that put effort into the classpath project. With one quick announcement their project is now effectively obsolete.

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From → Java

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