IcedTea Java, unrelated patent deals, and FSDaily

The IcedTea project has been launched by GNU Classpath. It's goal is to make Sun's recently freed Java implementation, called OpenJDK, work in free software environments. This involves replacing some binary blobs with code from GNU Classpath, and making or adapting a free software build system for OpenJDK.

As the announcement says, it's just in the experimental stages, but it's great to see progress being made through the collaboration of Sun and the free software community.

In other news, Xandros and LG Electronics have signed patent deals with Microsoft for the privilege of distributing free software. That MS are rushing these deals out the door before GPLv3 comes into usage could be a sign that they don't have much confidence in getting more of these deals post-GPLv3. The direction the money is flowing in (not toward MS) also seems to be a sign that MS does not have much confidence in it's patent claims.

When GPLv3 is released at the end of June, these companies will have to disclaim those deals if they want to distribute future versions of software that moves to GPLv3 (such as all GNU projects). So these deals will be exposed as useless and MS's patent claims will be undermined by their refusal to go to court or even detail which patents are infringed.

Meanwhile, this week, Slashdot ran yet another "Stallman is splitting the community" article (it seems the next round of the anti-GPLv3 campaign has started). When Slashdot is publishing this crap, is there a place for people to get free software news and participate in informed debate? Bruce Perens's answer was to set up Technocrat, although it has a science/technolgy focus rather than a free software focus. A new website with a free software focus is FSDaily, so I wish them luck.

Ciarán O'Riordan, -- Support free software: Join FSFE's Fellowship


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