It all sounds Geek to me! [Gautam Arora]

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Free But Shackled - The Java Trap by Richard Stallman

Here is an article by GNU guru Richard Stallman where he talks about the fact that Java developers are completely dependent on Sun, and its time the GNU get a GCJ(GNU Java Compiler with Libraries), which will lead to complete freedom for the Java coders (just what GCC did for C...)

"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."

"If some of a program's dependencies are non-free, this means that all or part of the program is unable to run in an entirely free system--it is unusable in the Free World. Sure, we could redistribute the program and have copies on our machines, but that's not much good if it won't run. That program is free software, but it is effectively shackled by its non-free dependencies."

"If you develop a Java program on Sun's Java platform, you are liable to use Sun-only features without even noticing. By the time you find this out, you may have been using them for months, and redoing the work could take more months. You might say, "It's too much work to start over." Then your program will have fallen into the Java Trap; it will be unusable in the Free World."

"We are trying to rescue the trapped Java programs, so if you like the Java language, we invite you to help in developing GNU Classpath. Trying your programs with the the GCJ Compiler and GNU Classpath, and reporting any problems you encounter in classes already implemented, is also useful. However, finishing GNU Classpath will take time; if more non-free libraries continue to be added, we may never have all the latest ones. So please don't put your free software in shackles. When you write an application program today, write it to run on free facilities from the start."

The complete article can be found here.

Note: I will refer the work in progress at the Harmony Project, and try to see if any similar objectives exist between the two.

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