this is probably a little touchy to ask...

Jonathan McKeown j.mckeown at
Wed Sep 15 13:46:22 UTC 2010

On Wednesday 15 September 2010 13:02:41 Jerry wrote:

> It took years, literally, before FreeBSD matured enough to get 64-bit
> drivers for nVidia working correctly on its platform. The failure to
> get the latest version(s) of Java working correctly on FreeBSD and
> thereby, at least in my case, make the latest version of Firefox fully
> usable, rests with the FreeBSD developers.
> I have not been able to ascertain exactly why Java cannot be made
> functional on a modern FreeBSD system. Other than receiving some
> useless suggestion about donating money to the Java foundation, or
> whatever it is called, nobody has responded with an answer.

> The bottom line is that Java appears to be functioning on other flavors
> of *.nix, but not FreeBSD. It would seem pretty obvious where the
> problem lies.

Yes. It lies with Sun and Oracle, and the licensing terms that prevent the 
FreeBSD project from distributing modified Java packages. More generally, the 
problem lies with companies who won't support FreeBSD but also prevent the 
project from supporting their product itself.

There are strong commercial interests in Linux - IBM, Red Hat, Oracle, to name 
three - which makes it worth spending some money supporting a product on 
Linux. (That goes for other products too: nvidia graphics card drivers, 
flash, wireless networking device drivers...) Even so there are products that 
have patchy support in Linux too.

FreeBSD isn't as attractive a commercial target, since it has no financially 
powerful backers (that I'm aware of), a small market share, and not much 
public awareness. Some companies are prepared to sink resources into 
supporting it anyway, and others are prepared to release the information 
needed for the FreeBSD project to support their products for them. There are 
other companies, as I said, that won't do either.

I don't think it's fair to blame the FreeBSD developers for that; nor indeed 
to expect the FreeBSD developers to be responsible for making Sun/Oracle's 
Java and the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox work.


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