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Distributor License for Java: External Commentary

Hi all,

Simon Phipps, Chief Open Source Officer at Sun Microsystems:
"JDK on GNU/Linux: Something Wonderful"
16 May 2006

Responds that "it's OK to distribute along with GCJ, GNU/Classpath and
so on - that was one of the explicit intents of the new license as that
was previously the chief obstacle to distribution with GNU/Linux."

No response to this confused question by Mike Norman: "I am still a bit
confused by clause 2(f). How about a 'ferinstance'? I am a member of my
local JUG and LUG - if we wanted to create a custom Linux distribution
(we did so 2 years ago) and include Sun's JDK under the 'JDK Distros
Community' License, will either or both of the User Groups be
indemnified (sp?) by that clause? The total $$ budget for both groups is
~$900 CDN so we can't afford to ask a lawyer for advice. Simon, you've
got lawyers (hmm, sounds sorta like "you've got mail!") - can you ask

Commentary by Dalibor Topic: "The license is, frankly, still pretty bad,
and contains various nasty clauses: from the overly broad
indemnification(i) part, which has nothing to do with Sun's JDK
software, to the subsettig restrictions not being limited to Sun's
software. That's from a cursory glance, I think you'll get to see more
comments once people take it apart, and the JavaOne buzz is gone...."


Michael Koch, Debian Developer & Debian Java packages group member
"SUN JDK in Debian non-free"
22 May 2006

"Noone of the Debian Java maintainers group was really involved in the
inclusion of SUN JDK in non-free. Noone from the team wants to really
put much effort into closed source Java. I dont speak about closing
bugs. I mean answering questions in the IRC channel or on the mailing
list. People need help with everything from setting JAVA_HOME
environment variable correctly to setting up running a bigger
application with a runtime. As I see it. SUN JDK will only rot in our
archive. Noone likes it. FTP-Master put work on our shoulders but we
don’t do it. It would have been great if FTP-Master would have contact
us to clear the situation before doing any blindfold action."


Pierre Habouzit, Debian Developer
"The whole java/non-free affair"
23 May 2006

Summary and questions. One question is prefaced with "I don't want to
ask, or more precisely I don't want/fear to read the answer to: why does
this come 1 week after that ubuntu made it clear they had some things
going on with Sun ?" In solely general terms, what is it about the
nature of this question that makes it so inflammatory/fearsome?

These and future blogs by Debian developers are accessible from


"Java becomes more distributable"
([Front] Posted May 17, 2006 17:31 UTC (Wed) by corbet)
"With a great deal of fanfare, Sun Microsystems used its podium at
JavaOne to announce a change in the Java licensing terms intended to
make it easier for distributors to ship Sun's Java implementation. LWN
has taken a look at the new license for Java, and written up some first

Available without subscription on 25 May 2006. I'm looking forward to
reading it.


[For my future reference here's my last post to debian-devel:

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