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Re: Quitting debian-java

* Alexander Hvostov <vulture@aoi.dyndns.org> [010301 19:49]:
> Sun did not license Java in a non-free manner. They licensed _their
> implementation_ of Java in a non-free manner. Java itself is not subject
> to a license of any kind, but just some straightforward IP protections to
> keep people (like Micro$oft) from forking Java. Which is bad, for obvious
> reasons.

My understanding is that it is still an unknown issue if one is legally
able to implement a completely free version of Java[0] entirely from
specification (known as a clean-room implementation) -- as in, not only
is their implementation of Java Not Free, the API itself is also Not
Free and cannot be reproduced without licensing from Sun.

> Blackdown Java is Sun's Java ported to Linux. Literally. Blackdown is
> responsible for porting all of Sun's Java-related products to Linux.

Yes, and they do a fine job of it too. :)

> There are those (including myself) who believe that Debian is also about
> distributing as much software as possible, free or not. I believe I read
> this in a Debian manifesto kind of document somewhere. I agree.

What you are remembering is in fact a note that Debian will not hamper
non-free software from running on the system, and where possible, Debian
will help those who wish to run non-free software on Debian. But that is
a far cry from "distributing as much software as possible, free or not"
-- infact, many developers have had discussions about killing crufty
packages recently.

> But that's not the point of this email. The point is that non-free is
> part of Debian, that it has been proposed to remove non-free, and it's
> been struck down every time, and the reasons for it having been struck
> down.

No no; non-free is *not* part of Debian. Debian consists of main/ and
non-us/main. The fact that non-free sections are on the archives and in
the BTS is entirely based on convenience. There are many who wish it
gone, and I honestly think this last time through, non-free would have
been killed from the BTS and the archives had the vote not been so

Another thing to consider -- this was in response to someone who was
blaming Stephane personally responsible for Java not being in Debian by
default. This person obviously did not have the grasp of the situation
that you do. :)

[0]: Again with the confusing nomenclature -- java as a language, an
API, a family of APIs, a virtual machine, and Sun&competitors
implementations of these various specifications....

[1]: Remember? No one heard from Darren for quite some time, the four
weeks between proposal date and not-vote-date killed the proposal, and
then it got worse. non-free has survived in the past because there just
weren't free alternatives to a lot of important pieces of software --
SSL capable web browsing being the one I recall the best... Now that
pretty much every tool anyone would want has a free alternative, don't
rely upon the continued presence of non-free. (Which has never been part
of Debian.)

Cheers! :)

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