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Re: non-free?

søndag 21. mars 2004, 09:53, skrev Petter Reinholdtsen:
> [Sajith VK]
> > Is removing non-free softwares in our TODO list so that we can
> > expect a "free" version in the future?
> Well, only if someone do the job of making alternatives.  We include
> Java to make sure the browsers are able to handle Java applets.  It
> would be nice with a free alternative.  A related issue is the lack of
> Flash support.  A free alternative would be nice here too.

This is _one_ reason for having Java included. There are even more important 
reasons to include Java in Skolelinux, and at least one of those makes it 
important to utilise Suns JRE as opposed to any of the free implementations 
out there.

Please allow me to explain: 
One of the greatest hurtles when trying to convince (primary and 
secondary/junior High) schools (in Norway) to use Skolelinux as posed to 
Windows, is an argument that they are allready utillizing a host of 
learning-tools which won't work without Windows. 
I've personally had a chat on the phone with the guy calling the shots 
regarding one of these Windows-products[1], concerning whether they would 
consider reimplementing this tool of theirs for Linux. He said then (about 4 
to 6 months ago) that they would not consider porting the existing tool, 
because it has to small userbase to righten the investment in doing so. 
On the other hand, he said, they are these days considering to reimplement the 
whole thing (it's starting to get old), and in this respect they haven't yet 
decided what platform to use for the reimplementation. He said they _might_ 
consider Java _if_ they can rely on the general usability from their 
customers point of view.

I'm a Java programmer, and my general experience is that my programs written 
for Suns JRE won't work when tested under _any_ of the free 
Java-implementations out there, including GCJ (witch I personally favour as a 
consept). In my humble opinion this is caused by the frenzy within 
Java-circles; the development of the Java-platform is fast. I would be amazed 
if there, in forseeable future, where to emerge a free implementation of java 
that actually works on apps of any considerable size (not counting what Big 
Blue might do).

As long as we keep (one of) the reference-implementation of java within 
Skolelinux (and here IMHO Suns Java _is_ the reference when talking about 
javas), there is a considerable chance we will see a movement of OS-dependent 
implementations of such tools towards OS-independent implementations 
utilising Java. 

Taking this context in to account, it's my standing that the matter of a 
freely implemented java-environment at this time, is of minor concern for 
Skolelinux: Without learning tools like the one mentioned above, Skolelinux 
is merely another wanabe-school-system in the crowd. 

Further taking into account the current distribution of users between Linux 
and Windows ... Consider this: "When supporting Java, you're supporting 

I (wanna) rest my case (please).



Gjermund Skogstad

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