Sun revokes FreeBSD license for Java

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at
Wed Jan 5 11:29:24 PST 2005

Hi Paul,

  Hey, good luck to you!  The basic root of the problem as I understand
it is that Sun license for the JDK 1.3 originally prevented redistribution
of the
JDK with the FreeBSD which is something that the Project wanted to be
able to do for obvious reasons.  As a result the FreeBSD Foundation worked
with Sun to make some modifications to the Sun license to allow this,
as a result the JDK 1.3 can now be redistributed.

  Unfortunately with the newer JDKs Sun once again changed the licensing
terms and the original people at Sun who came up to speed to understand
the issues are no longer there, and there's a new set of people there
in charge of this who are more busy with bigger fish to fry.

  It's of course quite legal for end users to download the JDK directly
from Sun and compile it on FreeBSD themselves and then use it.  There's
no shortage of development time available to get the newer JDK's working
on the latest FreeBSD versions and many people have already done so.
The problem is in the licensing issues.  If you puruse the Sun website
the licensing terms are quite vague on Java as it is and half of them
don't reconcile with public statements that various Sun officials have
made at one time or another.

  I think there is a story there for you but more along the lines of:
"Sun's wishy-washy licensing terms driving people away from Java"
along with a story about how it pretty much takes a tema of expert
lawyers to figure out if a business is in compliance with Sun's terms
or not - and even then you don't know if Sun is going to come after you
for royalty payments or not at some point in the future.

  Just try reading the many Sun licenses for Java off their website and
try to imagine where a typical high tech company would fall in and you
will see what I mean.

Ted Mittelstaedt
Author:  The FreeBSD Corporate Networker's Guide.  Addison-Wesley, 2000.
tedm at

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-freebsd-questions at
> [mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at]On Behalf Of Paul Krill
> Sent: Wednesday, January 05, 2005 11:14 AM
> To: Joshua Lokken
> Cc: Jorn Argelo; glewis at; freebsd-questions at
> Subject: Re: Sun revokes FreeBSD license for Java
> I am a writer with Infoworld magazine and would like to speak
> with someone
> at FreeBSD regarding these issues with Sun, for a possible story. I will
> be contacting Sun as well.  Here are some links I am following up on here:
> (scroll
> down to Java Update)
> Joshua Lokken <joshua.lokken at>
> 01/05/2005 11:05 AM
> Please respond to Joshua Lokken
>         To:     Paul Krill <Paul_Krill at>
>         cc:     Jorn Argelo <jorn at>, glewis at,
> freebsd-questions at
>         Subject:        Re: Sun revokes FreeBSD license for Java
> On Wed, 5 Jan 2005 11:01:22 -0800, Paul Krill <Paul_Krill at>
> wrote:
> > I was doing some browsing on the Web, looking for something else, and
> > bumped into this. It seems like a lot of people already know.
> >
> > "Jorn Argelo" <jorn at>
> > 01/05/2005 10:59 AM
> >
> >        To:     Paul Krill <Paul_Krill at>,
> > freebsd-questions at, glewis at
> >        cc:
> >        Subject:        Re: Sun revokes FreeBSD license for Java
> >
> >
> > On Wed, 5 Jan 2005 10:53:07 -0800, Paul Krill wrote
> > > This is Paul Krill of Infoworld magazine. I would like to speak with
> > > someone at FreeBSD regarding issues with Sun. I am at 415-978-3228
> > > or email me with a number where I can call you. Thanks.
> >
> > Where did you get this information?
> What information?  This post is very lacking in details.  What is it?
> If you're the poster, what's your point?  Why -questions?
> If it's just something I don't "get", please clue me in.
> --
> Joshua Lokken
> Open Source Advocate
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