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JDK 6 RC, licensing discussion in motion?

Seems things are getting closer: Java SE 6, the basic Java development and runtime environment, by now is available as a ‘Release Candidate’, the stable version being expected by 12/2006. Still trying to figure out what is actually new, I had to learn that the ‘Features and Enhancements’ document does not yet work properly. Hopefully this is likely to change as the release itself is drawing closer. Note to myself: Check out the Scripting API to be introduced in JSE 6, seems to be a rather interesting feature just asking to play with it.

Talking about changes: The way things look by now, it is at least likely to see Sun Microsystems sooner or later release the JSE using the GPL license, thus not just making it “open source” but also “software libre”. Though this probably is of little interest from a pragmatic point of view, I really hope for that as it would ease JDK inclusion into GNU/Linux distributions, probably would help establishing Java even more as “the standard” for cross-platform applications. And… I wonder what Microsoft is supposed to do about this, looking at its .NET platform, and given that this move is likely to give Java more than just a little boost…

Edit: It’s not likely anymore, it is official by now that, by today, the first piece of the JDK (namely the “javac” compiler) will be released using GPLv2. By now, though, the OpenJDK just ends in a ‘404’. Let’s wait and see…

13. November 2006

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