OpenJDK projects promoting proprietary builds

Andrew John Hughes gnu_andrew at
Sun May 31 00:17:40 UTC 2009

2009/5/31 Geir Magnusson Jr. <geir at>:
> On May 30, 2009, at 7:20 PM, Dmitri Trembovetski wrote:
>> Geir Magnusson Jr. wrote:
>>> Hi David,
>>> On May 30, 2009, at 7:05 PM, David Herron wrote:
>>>> Mark,
>>>> 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
>>>> them.
>>> Why?  For heaven's sake... why?
>>  Because the corresponding open source parts aren't good enough yet and we
>> don't have enough resources to make them on par with the proprietary bits
>> although this is what we want in the long run.
>>  Specific parts that I know of are color management, AA shape rasterizer
>> and font rasterizer.
> It's been how many years that you've had to re-write?

>From my perspective at least, if Sun aren't shipping it, they have no
motivation to fix it.  If they were shipping OpenJDK builds and
getting bugs filed against them, then the priority of fixing these
issues would be much higher.  As is, the next JDK release or previous
u bump is always going to take precedence and it will simply never get

As a first step, it at least needs to be narrowed down to specific
issues.  Just saying 'it isn't as good' is of no use to anyone wanting
to work on this.  This same little quote has been thrown about for two
years now and nothing has changed much in the last year to suggest
we're going to see any progress ever.

>>  You must understand that "passing the TCK" doesn't necessarily mean "has
>> acceptable performance, fidelity and stability".
> Oh, I understand that.  Of course, I'm still in the "getting the TCK"
> phase...
> ;)
> geir
>>  Thanks,
>>   Dmitri
>>>> 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?
>>> As an interested observer and fan of open and even Free(tm) Java, I need
>>> to ask why would you want to have this differentiation?
>>> I can understand the need to provide source and/or binaries to commercial
>>> partners and customers under licenses that aren't the GPL, but given your
>>> right to relicense the whole thing, the same code should be able to be
>>> offered under the GPL...
>>> geir
>>>> - 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

Andrew :-)

Free Java Software Engineer
Red Hat, Inc. (

Support Free Java!
Contribute to GNU Classpath and the OpenJDK

PGP Key: 94EFD9D8 (
Fingerprint: F8EF F1EA 401E 2E60 15FA  7927 142C 2591 94EF D9D8

More information about the discuss mailing list