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From "Geir Magnusson Jr." <g...@pobox.com>
Subject Re: Looks like Sun responded to the Open Letter
Date Mon, 13 Aug 2007 00:16:26 GMT

On Aug 12, 2007, at 8:01 PM, Dalibor Topic wrote:

> Geir Magnusson Jr. <geir@...> writes:
>> But you're confusing things here - your theory about NDAs giving
>> advantage to the signatories is reasonable, but having a proprietary
>> RI or TCK doesn't give anyone an advantage because of the license.
> I think keeping the RI or the TCK proprietary gives whoever gets to  
> be the spec
> lead a clear advantage over others, as they need access to them to  
> verify their
> compatibility with the specification.

Well, the spec leads product needs to as well - if the TCK license  
was lightweight, then there wouldn't be a problem.

I actually am sympathetic to the idea that spec leads need to be able  
to recover costs of development of the TCK.  (Of course, this can be  
abused...)  Certainly, it would be preferred if the TCKs were open  
source, but I think that this isn't the right time to mandate this.

> If both RI and TCK have to be open source, I don't need to trust  
> the spec lead
> to grant me a license I'd consider reasonable and non- 
> discriminatory, I know
> I'll get one.

You don't really need the RI to implement - it's just proof that it  
can be done.

>> Again, I don't understand your argument here.   I think that EG
>> activities are trending towards the totally open.  One counter-
>> example is Java SE 7, which seems to be happening outside of the JCP,
>> entirely inside Sun.
> I agree there is a very nice positive trend, in particular in  
> respect to
> providing transparency around new JSRs. Unfortunately that trend  
> does not seem
> yet to extend to TCKs, as far as I have seen it.
> Basically, it seems that some of the proprietary software vendors  
> on the EC are
> moving away from business models based on keeping both the RI and  
> the TCK
> proprietary to one where the RI is open source, and the TCK is  
> proprietary.

I'm not sure if I would yet try to predict a trend there.

> That's still great progress, but it's still a discriminatory  
> system, where you
> need to sign NDAs to work with the proprietary TCKs.
>>> Unfortunately, turning around Sun only changes one vote on the EC.
>>> That's not
>>> sufficient in order to fix the JCP.
>> Well, right now, they are the only member of the EC that is trying to
>> rig the game for themselves by trying to dictate control of *any*
>> implementation of the JAva SE runtime, so I think if you fixed that,
>> you'd have a decent environment to work in.
> I understand that it looks that way from the inside, after all the  
> hard,
> thankless work the ASF has put into the JCP - I'm sure you  
> understand that it
> still doesn't look that inviting from the outside, as long as the  
> NDA barrier to
> participation is there.

Agreed - we haven't beat that one yet.

>>> The soft one is to create advantages for free software
>>> implementations of JSRs
>>> over proprietary ones, so that the value of proprietary JSR
>>> implementations
>>> decreases over time, and therefore the companies behind them lose
>>> the incentive
>>> to rig the system in their favor. No money, no problem.
>> That wouldn't be an open standard, and actually contrary to the
>> notion of freedom, isn't it?  Let others distribute their IP as they
>> choose....
> I don't think that those advantages need to be mandated by the JCP.
> I think the JCP should mandate open source RIs, TCKs, and CC  
> licensed specs for
> every JSR. But I don't think the JCP should limit the licensing  
> choices to just
> open source ones for implementations of such JSRs. That'd be  
> sufficient for the
> soft strategy to work, but it's not necessary, and besides, it  
> would be cheating.

How does that give structural advantage for free software?  Is this  
just wishful thinking?

> There are better ways of ensuring that free software  
> implementations of JSRs win
> over their proprietary counterparts, for example by providing  
> better support for
> them. The soft strategy has nothing to do with the JCP, and  
> everything with the
> free market.

Ok... but that can happen w/ closed TCKs and NDAs.  (See "JBoss" as  
an example of how an open-source-licensed distribution from a  
commercial company did very, very well against proprietary  


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