Oracle questions GPL open sourced Java
December 2, 2006 1 Comment
It appears that Oracle is siding with IBM on the issue of the Open Source license for Java. From the article:
Steven Harris told Computer Business Review he believed the release of the Java code as open source would be beneficial, but questioned whether the Santa Clara, California-based company would have been better advised to have released it under an Apache license.
“It's a good thing that they're open sourcing it, and it opens up access to people who previously considered there were barriers to it,” he said, while noting that “those barriers were pretty low” in the first place.
However, he also repeated comments made by IBM Corp that the choice of the GNU GPL made the project incompatible with existing projects under the Apache and Eclipse initiatives.
“The most active Java communities are Apache and Eclipse. It is unfortunate that they did not provide a path that would allow these projects to grow,” said Harris. “The community is in Apache and Eclipse. Sun's choice creates a new community.”
Speaking to Computer Business Review earlier this month Sun's chief open source officer, Simon Phipps, explained that using the GPL would overcome fears about license compatibility with Linux. “We've been working on the Java platform for a considerable time and we've got to the point where we're considering 'how do we grow the market',” he said.
“The most important thing is that that the Java platform is not included in many GNU Linux distributions.” Choosing the GPL, which is already used for Linux, avoids that issue, he explained. “Java now becomes the development platform of choice for enterprise GNU Linux users.”
I think this example is an indication of part of the problem some have with license proliferation (and note that these are two of the most popular Open Source licenses). Sun is basically in a position that it has to choose between Linux compatibility and Eclipse/Apache compatibility, or license Java under a myriad of licenses (which is really not an optimal situation). Someone is likely going to lose here, which is a shame since we're on the same team and have the same goals. Unfortunately I don't have an answer to the problem. Fortunately, people much smarter than me are working on it ;)
Sun, Oracle, Linux, Eclipse, Apache, IBM, Java, GPL, Open Source,