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Is Java free software?

From: GNU Herds work team
Subject: Is Java free software?
Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2007 20:25:40 +0200
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The GNU Herds job site tags as follows:

"Java" technology is tagged as Free Software due to there are free software 
Java compilers.

However the below Sun Java technologies are tagged as Non-Free Software 
because of the license you have to agree to download them is not a Free 
Software license.  None of the Java Sun technologies are GPL'd at the time.

  * Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition (J2SE)
  * Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE)
  * Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition (J2ME)

  * Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE)
  * Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE)
  * Java Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME)

  Sun Java (tm) software distribution is Non-Free.

  OpenJDK is GPL'd but it still has some proprietary parts.

  IcedTea is OpenJDK with proprietary parts removed using
  the GNU Classpath parts to replace those.

  Unfortunately many things are still not possible with the
  current free software Java tools.

Proposed rule to tag a technology-skill as being Free:

  "If there are several implementations of such technology, and
   at least one of them is 100% Free Software, then such
   technology can be tagged as Free.

   That is to say, having at least one free software option to
   choose is enough to tag such technology-skill as Free."

e.g., applying such rule to .NET:

  * Microsoft .NET
      is tagged as Non-Free Software.

  * Mono .NET
      is a set of tools under GPL, LGPL and MIT, or dual licenses,
      It is tagged as Free Software.
  * .NET
      is tagged as Non-Free Software because of the Mono tools
      are not 100% complete. Mono does not cover all .NET

  * C#
      is tagged as Free Software due to there are
      free software C# compilers.

Let us know if you think this policy is not right. Flames, comments, etc. are 

P.S.: The GNU Herds data base has currently 370 tagged skills:

        323  Free
         39  Non-Free
          8  Abstract, e.g. "Web Development"
          0  Unknown
          0  Pending

  Note that the GNU Herds job site do not expose to
  the public Non-Free or Pending to classify skills.

Best regards,
The work team
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