So the buzz is that Sun will really actually truly free
Java sometime. Details, timeline, license, etc.: TBD.

This makes me feel very weird. I assume for a moment that it
is true and that it happens under acceptable conditions: it comes
pretty soon, it is complete, it is under a non-crazy license. On the
one hand, hallelujah! This is what we’ve wanted these 10 years.

On the other hand… I wonder what I’ll do with myself. I suppose
there are plenty of interesting things to work on. Even the Sun JDK I

But the dislocation goes far beyond my future to-do list. What
does this mean about all the work I’ve done? Is it a waste?

I probably should’ve come up with answers to that back when we
merged libgcj into Classpath and nuked a lot of code. Sometimes I
feel bad about that process.

I do have my own answers for those questions. Everything is born,
lives for a while, and dies; our programs are no different. That they
die early or late doesn’t render them meaningless — only dead. And
meaning itself is something we bring, in interpretation; it isn’t an
intrinsic quality. Of course it is one thing to think that and
another to know.

Whew. Back to reality, we’re still hacking away on gcj. It
makes no sense to change course based on a maybe as big as this one.

Miguel’s blog pointed to a
nice entry
on this topic.

Danese Cooper says we’re
too poorly organized
, or at least thought of that way. I think
she is using “organized” to mean “backed by IBM” or something like
that. Anyway there’s not much correspondence between that idea and
what we’ve actually done.

It is true that Harmony has been a notable winner in lining up IBM
and Intel behind it. I often think of Harmony as a consortium in the
guise of an ASF project. I suspect our failure here was our license;
but it is difficult to say whether this was really a mistake per se.

She also wonders. “I’m wondering how long it will take the
various Linux distros to figure out that they can ship Harmony”.
We already know about Harmony. When shipping it isn’t a
big regression from shipping gcj, we’ll probably ship it. What does
that mean? It means that platform coverage and library coverage
matter. Meanwhile gcj remains the best free VM on my list of metrics:
platforms, performance, debuggability, and community.

gcj details

I’ve got the eclipse front end plugged into gcj here. It consists
of a new driver for ecj and a patch to the gcj specs to invoke it.
I’m debugging some .class compilation bugs that this
found, but I should be able to build everything soon. (I’ve already
built 1.5 code with it.) Next step: a branch in the gcc repository.


Last night when I couldn’t sleep I became bizarrely interested in
gnash and flash
software. First, I found the gnash source code kind of unreadable —
pretty messy. I read a bit about SWF; what a weird setup this thing

A flash plugin is a classic example of what not to write
in C or C++. You end up reimplementing the world. Instead, start
with a library-rich language like java and it looks much simpler. I
found JSwiff for SWF
reading. Am I deluded when I think that this plus Java2d (and sound
and I guess JMF — yuck) plus a bit of glue would make it all happen?

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