On Sat, Jun 30, 2001 at 11:57:42AM -0500, Elaine -HFB- Ashton wrote:
> If Java sucks to install on some boutique/niche platforms it
> could mean that a) noone has told them about the issues

I can't even conceive they're not accutely aware.

> b) noone in the FreeBSD/Linux world has taken it upon themselves to
> care enough to love it and see it through to make it work.


Sun doesn't give out its JDK source code freely, they have all sorts
of restrictions.  If I wanted to port the JDK I can do it, but I need
special permission from Sun to distribute it.  This Sucks.  Especially
considering that you could go through a whole lot of work and then
have Sun deny you.

Some are trying from scratch, a truly masive undertaking given that
the current JDK is 20 megs *compressed*.  Hungry Hackers has Japhar
which is a 1.1.5 JDK and there are others, but it all lags behind.

If Sun really wanted to help porters, they could release the JDK
source code Freely.  They won't.  Do not blame the Open Source guys
for lack of effort.

> Where would Perl on VMS be without Peter Prymmer? etc?

White Knights are necessary, but Peter Prymmer did not have to rebuild
perl from scratch.  Being an OS Knight isn't an easy job, but we don't
throw roadblocks in their way.  Some of us have been bending over
backwards to help.

Guys like Hungry Hackers have 0 help from Sun.  All they've got is a

> The issue behind platform selection and support is that since Sun is a
> company out to make money

That's all prefectly valid.  It still means Java doesn't work well on
my machine.

> Java has no platform angels in the corporation or out in the field most
> likely.

Hungry Hackers and Blackdown are two off the top of my head.
Blackdown is in a special position in that Sun has granted them
permission to use the JDK source code, but nobody else can see it.

If I don't have the source code, how am I supposed to fix anything?  I
can patch something and send it off to Sun, sure, but let's think
about a full platform port...

Let's say Peter Prymmer decides he wants to port the JDK to VMS (God
Help Us ALL).  What's his course of action.

0)  Consult a psychiatrist.
1)  Joins the Sun Developer Community
2)  Download a copy of the JDK
3..100)  Goes through a massive amount of work to get it working under VMS
101)  Trumphantly sends the patches off to Sun.
102a)  Sun sets Peter up with a Blackdown-like deal allowing him to
       distribute his port.
102b)  Sun thanks Peter for his time but isn't going to trouble itself with
102c)  Sun thanks Peter for his time, but doesn't feel the port is good
       enough to be blessed.

Its that last bit of fuzziness at the end.  You could go through
aaaallll that work and still be denied at the end.  At least, that's
how I'm reading their license.

The other problem is steps 3 to 100 must be done in a relative vacuum.
I don't believe he'd be allowed to redistribute his patches, so no
vmsjava mailing list or community of developers to work with.  Of
course, he could ask permission from Sun beforehand, but again, this
all relies on the good will of Sun (and them trusting Peter, who could
be some schmo for all they know).

Perhaps more importantly than all this, the spontaneity is lost.  I
know of many, many porting projects which started out with one guy
saying "Gee, I wish X worked on my OS" and in a flurry of wild
patching something is made to work in a few hours/days.  Not perfect,
but enough to get the snowball rolling.

Finally, if the core developers (ie. Sun engineers) are unconcerned
with your OS, they're going to keep cranking out platform specific
code which you're going to have to keep patching over and over again.
At least with perl we've got things like Windows and VMS in the back
of our heads when making core patches (and if we don't we'll have
Peter BEATING the backs of our heads ;) Thinks either work out of the
box or are caught very early on.  None of this ports lagging behind a
few versions while they fix everything up.

Anyhow, this is just the old Open vs Closed source debates rehashed.
Except s/Closed/Community License/

Michael G Schwern   <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>   http://www.pobox.com/~schwern/
Perl6 Quality Assurance     <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>       Kwalitee Is Job One

Reply via email to