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Re: Free Java specifications (was Re: Java Policy.)

On Sun, May 12, 2002 at 09:15:31PM -0700, Jim Pick wrote:
> I think the Debian Java policy, as currently stated, is slightly flawed,
> as it tries to satisfy two goals that aren't completely orthogonal:
>  1) To get as much free Java software into Debian as possible, that runs
>     without non-free software (eg. without Sun's JDK)
>  2) To put together a distribution that works out-of-the-box with
>     multiple free JVM and class library implementations (as well as
>     proprietary JVM implementations).
> They are both worthy goals, but ultimately, in order to get something
> that works nicely, I think we need something else - our own set of
> specifications.

I agree.  Per noted earlier that it's wishful thinking to talk about
"Java 2" wrt Debian, because none of the free implementations meet
that standard (or are likely to in the near future).  So we really
want our own standards to described the state of the free Java

> Now, I want to essentially do this work anyways, as part of documenting
> Kaffe and it's class libraries, and trying to pull in elements of
> Classpath, libgcj, ORP, etc.  So you've got a volunteer.  :-)

Wow, excellent!  This is an ambitious project, that can only be
completed with 1) lots of effort, and 2) a good understanding of
both the free Java world and the Sun Java world.  Hopefully, the
collective experience on this list can help with the latter.

> I'd like to see it done as a standalone specification, useful to the
> free software community, which doesn't depend on Sun's specification. 
> Again, that might anger Sun, even if the specification doesn't diverge
> from their specification.  So it would be nice to have an established
> free software project "stand up" for the spec, and publish it for us.
> Somebody like Debian, or the GNU project, or perhaps Apache or maybe
> even FreeStandards.org.  Theoretically, I suspect even the JCP could be
> used to host such a project, right under Sun's nose, but I suspect that
> there would be issues with the whole premise of the project (to promote
> free software implementations and APIs that in some cases, compete with
> Sun's offerings).

One way to go about this would be to implement the spec in Debian,
as a set of virtual packages.  You propose virtual packages for
comment, harass maintainers to provide and require them as
appropriate, and if it works out, they go into the Java policy.

This will both give you a testing ground, and put the force of
Debian policy behind you.  On the other hand, you could find that
tying yourself to Debian and its often anemic pace could slow you


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