[gobolinux-users] Re: Java and free software

Bill Burdick bill at mobilereasoning.com
Wed Nov 3 19:43:08 GMT 2004


Let's see -- I started using Java commercially in October 1995.  That 
means it's been more than 9 years.  I'd say that Sun is hanging at the 
mercy of companies and developers that might switch to .NET, not the 
other way around.  IBM has had very good support for Java in their VMs 
as well.  Not much of a gamble at all from my standpoint and my hands 
haven't been tied to my knowledge.  I have a lot of experience using 
things that I haven't personally modified (or can't), as I think you do 
too.  I don't consider using these things to be a gamble.  For instance 
I drive cars but I don't modify them to use a different type of fuel.  
Some people do, and that's fine (for those who don't accidentally blow 
themselves up), but I don't.

I'm very much in favor of open source (obviously), but I don't agree 
that you should ONLY use open source.  My machine here has an Nvidia 
driver, by the way.  I like it because it actually provides graphics 
acceleration for my desktop, which is hard to find for Linux, and that's 
what I use it for.  It's a shame that the driver isn't open source, but 
I'll continue to use it anyway;  I don't consider using it to be a gamble.

Here are a few pieces of software that you yourself probably use which 
are not open source:

the BIOS in at least some of your computers

the firmware on your modem/cable modem/router

the firmware in your car (if you have one)

the firmware in busses that you ride (if you ride them)

the firmware in the telephone switches that route your phone conversations

the firmware in your cellphone (if you have one)

the Java VM in your cellphone (most modern cell phones run Java now)

the firmware in any microwave ovens which you may have occasion to use

My company produces software, most of which is not open source (some of 
it is even patented).  I have personally contributed source code to OSS 
projects (Gobo is one that comes to mind) and some of that code is even 
my company's code.  I even have a couple projects on sourceforge 
(http://ober.sf.net and http://p2pmud.com [ 
http://sf.net/projects/p2pmud ]).  I don't see a conflict here.  Some 
day even you might work for a company that sells non OSS software.  Hey, 
brush up on your Java and maybe it will even be my company.

MJ Ray wrote:

> On 2004-10-29 17:45:39 +0100 Mika Pesu <pmika at japo.fi> wrote:
>> MJ Ray wrote:
>>> Sun Java is only free of cost. Your hands are still tied.
>>      uh,in what ways your hands are tied if using Sun Java?
> Can you study how Sun Java works, adapt it to your needs and 
> distribute your changes to the community?
>> [...] i could help them to implement the needed features but i dont 
>> have the extra time to do that.
> The utility of all your work is hanging at the mercy of the publishers 
> of the Java systems who can run your code. How can you not make time 
> to help protect your own work? That's a huge gamble IMO.

	Bill Burdick
	Bill at mobilereasoning.com

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