Wed 9 May 2007
As expected, JavaOne was the venue for yesterday’s announcement that the JDK class library source code is now available. Unfortunately, it is still heavily encumbered. About 60 megabytes of binary blobs are emitting a rather nasty smell. Seems like the next task for us freedom fighters is to at least try and build it without these dependencies and with a Free environment (not the proprietary JDK). It was nice to hear of people building it early and getting ebuilds out (well done Betelgeuse), but for me doing so in a Free environment will be the real result. I can safely assume that Sun has already built it themselves with the JDK (including itself presumably).
The hard work is now to come as Sun has to forge a community around this. A good start was made with the governance board, which includes our own Kaffe maestro, Dalibor Topic (congrats to him). The thing is Sun will now have to change their usual attitude towards the JDK in order to best work with the community. I doubt long turnarounds on patches which have to be approved internally by Sun will find much favour with the majority of FOSS hackers. The best thing about working on GNU Classpath has been the vibrant, happy and fun community that has been built around it, formed from a diverse group of folks with their one goal of a full Free Java implementation. Of course, this has still not been achieved, there is still work to be done and I hope that the new OpenJDK project can harness some of the enthusiasm and vigour that has been the epitome of our community.