Position on the passage of Java under the GNU General Public License

Note: Text published on November 13, 2006

Following Sun's announcement concerning the passage of JAVA under the GNU GPL, here is the reaction of April:

The "Java Trap" was the most visible symbol of the dependency of free software on proprietary software. By putting Java under a free software license, Sun Microsystems made a big contribution to the world of free software.

Indeed, even if a program is free software, this freedom may be restricted because of proprietary software on which it depends. All software depend on other software, which can be proprietary. This problem was the most visible with Java. Another example concerns most 3D video cards which fully work only with non-free drivers.

Free software written in Java depends on non-free Java libraries. Such programs are, by nature, not ethically usable in the world of free software. At the instigation of the Foundation for the Free Software, free implementations of Java, such as the GNU compiler for Java (GCJ) and GNU Classpath, are developed but they do not yet have all the features.

This decision by Sun Microsystems confirms the commitment of the company towards free software. It will facilitate the adoption of Java in the free software community, and the choice of the GNU GPL shows that this license can meet both the users' needs and those of the companies...

The adoption of the GPL by Sun for Java demonstrates once again the economic viability and the strategic interest of Free Software for businesses.

Benoît Sibaud, president of APRIL, declared: “After OpenOffice.org and the Open Document format, Sun Microsystems confirms by this freeing its role as major contributor in the world of free software. The company is close to the actors who work for freedom in the computing field. In particular, let us remind that SUN signed the petition EUCD.INFO [ 1 ] following the publication of the «Vivendi Universal» amendments [2], and that the French branch of the company has just adhered last month to the APRIL”.

Petition calling for the withdrawal from the parliamentary agenda of the DADVSI law (Copyright and related rights in the information society) - http://eucd.info/