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From "Geir Magnusson Jr." <>
Subject Re: Harmony: project purpose
Date Sat, 07 May 2005 02:53:53 GMT

On May 6, 2005, at 10:26 PM, Simon Kitching wrote:

> Hi,
> Can someone clarify for me why Harmony is being proposed when GNU
> Classpath, Kaffe and other projects are quite a long way to satisfying
> the goal of a Free Java environment?
> Is it:
> * That SUN is not expected to ever grant a free license to run the TCK
> for a GPL-licensed project, so the only way to get a "certified" free
> Java implementation is to ignore the existing GPL'd stuff and start
> again from scratch?

No.  I fully expect Sun to grant the TCK to a GPL-licensed project  
when the time is right - I don't think that there are any limitations  
around the license under which an OSS project chooses to work.   
Certainly that isn't what Apache was striving for in it's JCP efforts  
(when Jason Hunter was JCP rep) when the JSPA was changed to allow  
OSS impls, and it's not a limitation we'd support now.

> * That you feel that more contributors will be involved in an
> Apache-licensed project than in a GPL-licensed project, resulting in a
> better overall end result? If so, why?

It remains to be seen.  Clearly people have license preferences.

It's clear that there are contributors that only wish to contribute  
to GPL-licensed projects. Similarly, there are contributors that only  
wish to contribute to BSD or other no-copyleft or weak-copyleft  

What we're trying to do is two things - do an implementation under  
the Apache License (that's how we license things at the ASF...) but  
at the same time, collaborate with any other interested people,  
communities and organizations so that we can share and interchange as  
much as we can.  And when we fix the license incompatibility issues,  
we'll be able to share more.

> * That you feel that the availability of an Apache-licensed project is
> important enough to duplicate all the existing GPL'd effort? If so,  
> why?
> Who in particular wants an Apache-licensed implementation and can't
> accept a GPL'd one?

What if you wanted to extend it in a proprietary way?  Suppose you  
had a killer GC implementation that you wanted to try to build a  
business around (ok, farfetched, but you grok the intent...)?  or  
wanted to tune it for your hardware w/o giving what could be  
proprietary techniques away?

I don't want to debate GPL vs AL vs CDDL vs MPL vs ... here.

The fact is, we have a big community around us that has an interest,  
and the ASF is willing (if the PMC approves) to give us a shot to try.

> * That Kaffe/Classpath are somehow flawed and that it is necessary to
> start again?

No.  Kaffe and GNU Classpath people will be participating and  
observing.  This is an open project, and people from Kaffe and GNU  
Classpath have been invited and helped get the conversation started.

Lets bridge these communities in whatever way we can.  We can't do it  
w/ licenses (although we're working on it) so we'll do it w/  
technology and design.

> * That because Apache is a well-respected player in the Java community
> that a project hosted at Apache will be so much better accepted  
> that it
> is worth discarding all the Kaffe/Classpath work done so far?

No, I don't think that's anyone motivation.  We aren't thinking about  
this as anti-Kaffe or anti-GNU Classpath, but rather pro Java, pro  
independent implementation, and pro community.  We've been building  
relationships and friendships with the people in those communities  
and I'd like to keep working with them, not alienate them.


> Regards,
> Simon
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Geir Magnusson Jr                                  +1-203-665-6437

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