[Kde-java] Should we ditch support for Sun's JDK in favour of Free Software?

Richard Dale Richard_Dale at tipitina.demon.co.uk
Thu Apr 15 20:37:09 CEST 2004

Maybe this is a rant, but I use LinuxPPC and the most recent version of the 
jdk is 1.3.1. Here is a mail to the java at gcc.gnu.org from Kevin Hendricks, 
who used to do Blackdown ports to LinuxPPC I thought.

Lets all move to gcj, what is the point of supporting Sun's stuff unless we're 
paid - we don't need them?

-- Richard

Subject: Re: GCJ adoption and improving our "PR"
Date: Thursday 15 April 2004 17:57
From: "Kevin B. Hendricks" <kevin.hendricks at sympatico.ca>
To: java at gcc.gnu.org


Bryce> However, I also believe that in order for random Java hackers
Bryce> to see and understand these benefits we must work to "smooth
Bryce> the transition path" for those coming from the traditional JRE
Bryce> development environment. To me this means that gcj must become
Bryce> more robust and easier to use in terms of taking existing
Bryce> applications and getting them up and running quickly.

I could not agree more.  Imagine if I had a small java program that
used swing and I wanted to use gcj on ppc Linux (my chosen platform).
Look what I am faced with now ...

- I have to figure out which version of gcj is the right one HEAD,
gcc3.4, gcc3.5 etc

- I have to check out of cvs that version of gcc to get the latest
fixes, build it from source
(many ppc linux distributions do not ship with gcj or gij or libjava
and even if they did it would be gcc 3.2.2 based and probably lacking
lots of improvements)

- Then i have to find,  download and hack the latest SWT build to get
it to work
(can't use prebuilt SWT from Eclipse since it does not exist for PPC

- I have to then hack the build process to get SwingWT to be used
   in gcj and remove the incomplete awt support already there

- I have to hack my own build process to changes from javac to gcj and
gij or hope that some shell scripts or perl scripts can be used to hide
the build differences.

Then and only then will my small java program that uses swing even be
buildable, let alone testable or releaseable.

What we really need is the best of all free java worlds in one place
regardless of minor license differences ...  a standalone JDK
that I can simply download and it works like a drop in replacement for
Sun's or IBM's jdk.

That version should have all of the key pieces already in place
(ie. support for lastest classpath, SWT, awt, and Swing).  It should
have its own command line tools that simply replace, java, javac or
jikes or ..., and etc. and it should look and smell and taste like a
JDK with its own documentation and demos and pieces.  It should also
have its own jre equivalent that I can distribute with my applications
(all the required shared libs, libgcj,  SWT libs, etc) all in one nice
installable package.

That way, I could focus on *using it* instead of focusing on how to
hack it all together just to see if it works.

Is something like that simply not possible?  I think the first Linux
distribution that can produce something like this will be doing the
free-java world a huge favor and will start to build the kind of
momentum and interest desperately needed from both users and developers
for free java to push forward.

All we need to make it happen is the right collection of parts all put
together and assembled and ready to go under some huge multi-license
GPL, LGPL, SWT License that makes each project work as a team instead
of just alone.

It could and should be done by a third party if not from gcj/kaffe, etc

My 2 cents,



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