OpenJDK projects promoting proprietary builds

Geir Magnusson Jr. geir at
Sun May 31 18:04:16 UTC 2009

On May 31, 2009, at 1:55 PM, Kelly O'Hair wrote:

> Geir Magnusson Jr. wrote:
>> 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?
>                                ^^^^^^
>                                we have
> Seems like I am reading too much "them vs. us" in these emails.

Oh, come on.  I don't know where to begin here.

1)  I'm not a "you" :)  I'm really happy OpenJDK exists, but as one of  
the founder's of Apache Harmony, I think it's good that there are many  
free/open/libre Java communities.   I'm very interested in floss Java,  
which is why I pay attention to this community.

2) This whole thread is about members of the OpenJDK community  
complaining about *you* publishing proprietary builds.  They don't  
seem to feel like a part of "us".



> -kto
>>> 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

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