OpenJDK projects promoting proprietary builds

David Herron david at
Sat May 30 23:05:31 UTC 2009


Please recall that JDK<n> != OpenJDK<n> though for values of n >= 7 the
difference is very small.  The JDK7 builds have some proprietary bits in

It's valuable to the JDK product cycle for JDK builds to have early access
exposure so people can report bugs etc.  Sun started doing very-early-access
releases with JDK6 and the Peabody Project, and early exposure was a purpose
of the <project-name-never-to-be-spoken-again> Regressions Contest which I
ran in early 2006. (See my blog posting of Jan 30, 2006)  I'm sure
you can understand the value, right?

There would also be value to the OpenJDK project for reference OpenJDK
builds to be available.  For example to help those like you who are involved
with packaging OpenJDK-derived builds.  Anybody could do those builds
couldn't they?

I don't think it's correct to say Sun is "pushing proprietary derivatives as
early access OpenJDK builds.." is it?  The name JDK7 is distinguished from
OpenJDK7, right?  Isn't it well known that they are approximately 96% the
same and that there are differences in specific areas?

- David Herron

On Sat, May 30, 2009 at 12:31 PM, Mark Wielaard <mark at> wrote:

> On Fri, 2009-05-29 at 22:10 +0100, Andrew John Hughes wrote:
> > I agree wholeheartedly, but have to say I long ago ceased to be
> > surprised by Sun builds beinge proprietary. Sadly the converse is
> > true; I'd be surprised by a Sun build released under the same terms as
> > our IcedTea builds.
> And that is indeed what is sad about this. That it seems OpenJDK builds
> are actually Sun builds, and by extension such things are proprietary.
> And that is what I object to. OpenJDK builds should be just that,
> OpenJDK builds distributed under the (GPL) terms everybody in our
> community adheres to.
> If a project wants to publish "early access" builds then they really
> should if they feel people would like to play with the bits. But such
> builds should follow the standard OpenJDK project rules
> ( that everybody else also uses.
> Going to Sun legal and requesting alternative proprietary terms and then
> publishing the code and binaries under non-free software licenses is
> just bad for creating a community. It is bad enough that the current SCA
> rules around OpenJDK assign all rights to one commercial party, Sun. But
> projects then abusing those rights by pushing proprietary derivatives as
> early access OpenJDK project builds undermines the whole community of
> equals.
> You are right that we have IcedTea to fix that. If you get your packages
> through IcedTea (derivatives) you are guaranteed that it truly is Free
> Software. But wouldn't it be better if we could say that about OpenJDK
> itself? Wouldn't that make the community stronger?
> Cheers,
> Mark

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