This is interesting,
Gosling doesn’t think there is much need for an open source JVM.
Here are some quotes from this DevX article:
“We’ve got several thousand man-years of engineering in [Java], and we hear very strongly that if this thing turned into an open source project—where just any old person could check in stuff—they’d all freak. They’d all go screaming into the hills.”
I think he fails to understand the concept of meritocracy. In the Apache community, if someone demonstrates ability they are granted commit access to a repository, but it isn’t something people throw around lightly. The Apache Subversion repository isn’t a Wiki with completely open access, there is a (arduous) process for granting commit access, and everyone signs a very stringent IP agreement. On top of that process the Apache Community is driven by consensus, any change to code can be vetoed, and the community takes this process seriously.
He also refers to the “enterprise development community”. Who are these people? Are these the same people who embraced EJB 2.1? Icky. I think Sun is starting to resent the fact that innovation in the Java space has been coming from people working on open source projects who are not associated with Sun. Sun’s influence over the world of Java is fading, I think they should embrace this change rather than fight it. Sun doesn’t gain much from “owning” the Java brand.
“In the open source community, if you actually care about being legally clean, it’s a nightmare. Most people don’t actually read the licenses. Every day or two there’s something about someone getting hammered for GPL violations, and most of the people who are doing it don’t even know it.”
Sure, point taken, most people don’t know squat about open source licensing, but it seems entirely unrelated to the question at hand. Harmony is a project at the Apache Software Foundation which has little to do with the Free Software Foundation’s GPL license. I’m going to give Gosling more credit than this, I think this has more to do with Glen Kunene’s writing than what Gosling was trying to communicate. I’d like to think that Gosling knows the difference between a BSD-style license and a GPL license. The reason why people are excited about seeing something like Harmony succeed at the ASF is that the Apache license is very free and doesn’t contain the restrictions carried by the GPL.
If anything Harmony will at least spur some discussion, and produce results sooner than people think. I agree with Geir, there is a need for a JVM implementation unencumbered by either Sun’s license or the GPL. Being “close-enough” doesn’t cut it, and the transparent collaborative meritocracy provided by the ASF and the Incubator will be a Good Thing for Java and the Community.
Harmony? or Dischord?