NewsForge: On Java Licensing, Sun Settlement
Apr 12, 2004, 19:45 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Richard M. Stallman, Rick Ross)
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Free But Shackled: The Java Trap
"If your program is free software, it is basically ethical--but
there is a trap you must be on guard for. Your program, though in
itself free, may be restricted by non-free software that it depends
on. Since the problem is most prominent today for Java programs, we
call it the Java Trap.
"A program is free software if its users have certain crucial
freedoms. Roughly speaking, they are: the freedom to run the
program, the freedom to study and change the source, the freedom to
redistribute the source and binaries, and the freedom to publish
Commentary: Where is Java in the Settlement?
" I can neither endorse nor denounce the Sun/Microsoft
settlement at this point. Those of us on the outside have no access
to the particulars of the settlement and have no way to know
whether Sun has sold us out. In truth, precious little of the
corporate messaging has specifically referenced Java. It would be
nice to paint a positive picture, but experience has proven that we
shouldn't be too quick to believe what corporations convey in their
highly managed dog-and-pony shows.
"They made a similar set of happy announcements when Microsoft
originally signed on as a Java licensee. Look how many years it
took before we got to see the bad faith that finally surfaced in
the courtroom evidence. We should be smart enough to learn from
history that things may not ultimately be as happy as the spin
doctors want us to believe they are..."