Java is Free

As Tim mentioned, Java is now free. This is Good™. I’ve always been slightly nervous about a general inability to poke inside the box with Java. Yes, you can download the source. I’ve done so, and used it to my benefit1. But it’s still a damned nuisance, and there’s no way for me to give anything back into it.

Now there is, and that gives me hope.

That and being able to apt-get install java by default helps.

But of course, none of this matters unless people actually get involved. At work, I’ve just been thrown a large amount of source code from a foreign system. It’s really hard work slogging through it. And it’s not that bad code either.

It takes community to build a project. And I really, honestly hope that Sun manage to achieve this for Java. It needs this to avoid becoming irrelevant. It needs to avoid being the COBOL of the 21st century.

1 Finding out that the sodding -jar option wipes out any classpath you’ve specified.

2 replies on “Java is Free”

Why would it be a bad thing if Java failed. Things move on. What is so special about Java that it deserves to live forever?

It’d be bad because it’s such a large part of the computing ecosystem. It needs to be a part of the whole rather than an isolated community. There’s a lot that’s good in the Java world, and it shouldn’t be partitioned off apartheid-style.

It certainly doesn’t deserve to live for ever, but it’s a part of the world today. And making it properly free ensures it’ll be a part of the world tomorrow.

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