Older blog entries for mjw (starting at number 47)

18 Aug 2005 (updated 18 Aug 2005 at 10:02 UTC) »
GNU Classpath distro DevJam

Various Debian packagers and developers are interested in coming
together to improve the Free Software tool chain, the programs and
the free runtime environments for software written in the java
programming language.

For such a meeting we would like to include packagers from various distributions to coordinate on library names, dependency and versioning. And to share experiences on how to integrate and map dependencies of tools like ant and maven when creating traditional GNU/Linux distribution packages.

So we are proposing a developer and packager meeting around coordinating and improving the state of packaging of large scale applications written in the java programming language using the GNU Classpath, gcj and other free java-like tool chains for the various GNU/Linux distributions.

Please see DevJam wiki for details: http://java.debian.net/index.php/DevJam

We hope to get together a group of (20 till 30) people wanting to do some hands on hacking to show the state of the art in packaging. Resulting in the availability of several new packages, improvements to the free tool chains and cross-distribution packaging conventions quickly after the meeting.

One of the ideas to keep the cost down for now is sharing the meeting with another group in Oldenburg, Germany, from September 21st to September 25th. http://meeting.ffis.de/Oldenburg2005/

If you are interested please add you name and thoughts about how to make such a meeting most effective to the wiki! And please contact us if you are interested in sponsoring the effort.

30 Jul 2005 (updated 30 Jul 2005 at 16:42 UTC) »
Towards a standard of Freedom

Facinating article by Benjamin Mako Hill. It makes cristal clear why I have been feeling a bit uneasy about the Creative Commons. It is clearly a very good things to have. But something was missing. In Towards a Standard of Freedom: Creative Commons and the Free Software Movement Mako explains what that missing thing is:

Free software advocates have been able to use the free software definition as the rallying point for a powerful social movement. Free software, like the concept of freedom in any freedom movement, is something that one can demand, something that one can protest for, and something that one can work toward. Working toward these goals, Free and Open Source Software movements have created the GNU/Linux operating system and billions of lines of freely available computer code.

For the CC founders and many of CC's advocates, FOSS's success is a source of inspiration. However, despite CC's stated desire to learn from and build upon the example of the free software movement, CC sets no defined limits and promises no freedoms, no rights, and no fixed qualities. Free software's success is built upon an ethical position. CC sets no such standard.


Just ran into mod_gcj by Hannes Wallnoefer. "mod_gcj aims to provide a way to serve dynamic java Web content that is closer to the Apache Httpd and the platform it runs on." And it was originally based on some code from mod_mono:

Thanks go to the authors of mod_mono, Daniel Lopez Ridruejo and Gonzalo Paniagua Javuer, for allowing me to use their work to get started with mod_gcj. This has allowed me to get some useful code much faster than it would have been otherwise.
Who said there was no harmony between hackers? :)

I liked this explanation from their webpage:

The GCC compiler suite treats java as just another language that is compiled down to native code. Static compilation obviously is a nice fit for server applications, where code can immediately optimized for the platform without going through the intermediate bytecode level and than compiling the code at runtime.

Another benefit is that java code compiled with GCJ can be easily linked with other native resources and thus becomes much less isolated than java traditionally is, and more of an equal citizen of the platform it runs on. GCJ provides its own interface for coupling java code with C++ called CNI. In contrast to JNI, CNI is very sleek, performs well and is suiteble for use by ordinary people.

Events and presentations

Collected the recent events and presentations. It gives a good overview of how the ecosystem around GNU Classpath is evolving. If you go to Oscon make sure to say hi to Tom. Anthony said he would give a small presentation at the San Francisco LinuxWorld show.

Upcoming Events:

Recent Presentations:

27 Jul 2005 (updated 27 Jul 2005 at 13:13 UTC) »
How does 'that company' treat free software?

Nice article by RMS on how to 'judge' a company. I guess he gets asked that a lot.

So what can we say about Sun? Can we add up these three very different comportments and get an overall measure of how a whole company treats the Free World? Maybe we could, but I think we should not try. Any such combined measure would be simplistic. Except for those companies that do something so nasty that it calls for special outrage, [...], we should decline to "add up" all the activities of one company, decline to judge it "as a whole". It is more useful to judge each activity separately, so we can praise or criticize it as it deserves. I wrote this article because when I was asked to comment on Sun, I forgot this point. We all make mistakes -- and we can use them as examples to teach others what not to do.
26 Jul 2005 (updated 26 Jul 2005 at 17:06 UTC) »
Huge rise in GCJ usage on Fedora Core

John M. Gabriele posted a very nice overview of fedora core gcj package to the Fedora Core gcj mailinglist. It has a huge list of packages that are available out of the box now and explains the relationship between those packages and jpackage.org. The discussion on the mailinglist is very good. Nice to see a new community blossom.

6 Jul 2005 (updated 6 Jul 2005 at 14:57 UTC) »
Europe rejects software patents!

European Parliament says no to software patents, yes to innovation. Thank you Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure. Thank you economic-majority.com. And thanks to all those individuals that called, phoned, faxed and demonstrated these last couple of years. Hopefully this shows that european democracy can work. Even if it takes a lot of time and energy. The people from the FFII really did a good job, and I hope that they will continue to educate politicians in the future (hint: Donate to the FFII!)

And amazingly even Red Hat and Sun are friends when it comes to oposing software patents. They went as far as releasing a joint press release:

Sun and Red Hat, [...], set aside their competitive differences in this process. Both companies felt the interests of free and open source software merited cooperation at a high level.
Seems Sun has learned a lesson or two. Now Lets see if they can put this new friendship into real actions in the future.
3 Jul 2005 (updated 3 Jul 2005 at 10:44 UTC) »
STOP Software Patents in Europe!

How you can help

If you cannot attend the demonstation in Strasbourg in person please phone or fax your member of the European Parliament (MEP). Or better yet discuss the situation with others you work with and send a company FAX to show them how this new legislation will hurt your business if the Buzek-Rocard-Duff amendments are not adopted by parlement on Wednesday. If you don't inform your parliament, mega-corporations are doing the job for you: "The European Parliament is filled with lobbyists of Microsoft, Eicta, CompTIA and so on. There are 30 to 40 lobbyists permanently roaming the halls."

Join us now...

Jerry Haltom and Robert Schuster have (re)joined Planet Classpath. Make sure you read their announcements of the Ubuntu GCJ4 Eclipse packages and the GNU Classpath presentation at LinuxTag 2005 and the accompanying paper.

GNU Classpath/gcj presentations at LinuxTag

If you are near or in Germany please don't forget to go to LinuxTag this week (22 - 25 June, Karlsruhe).

On Saturday 25 June there will be 2 presentations on GNU Classpath/GCJ:

Robert Schuster - GNU Classpath (in German)

Andrew Haley - GCJ and Classpath: A Free Implementation of the java programming language (in English)

See also the full program on Saturday

Fedora Core 4 released!

One of the comments to the The Amazing Fedora Core 4! announcement was:

Sweet. OO.o 2.0 and Eclipse in an all-Free-Software distribution. Happy, happy, joy joy!

So go and try it out! (Or help test the Debian eclipse packages.)

22 May 2005 (updated 22 May 2005 at 18:07 UTC) »
Where is the Harmony?

Things like the bad competition between KDE and GNOME is what keeps me interested in the harmony project. There is also good competition between these projects. And I do hope Harmony can be what freedesktop.org is for the larger free software desktop community. That is what we have always tried to do with GNU Classpath.

And it seems that is kind of happening now. We have even seen Apache hackers contributing patches to Kaffe (showing that the licensing issue can be overcome!). And there is a lot of talk on the list on the cutting edge research that is being done against all the free runtimes (Robert surprized me by posting about an university course on hacking JamVM).

And even gadek and I seem to agree for a change. He points out Snap which tries to show that what Harmony set out to be is already possible. Creating a collection of free libraries, runtimes, compilers, tools and applications to show what the community around GNU Classpath has produced these last few years. Hopefully people wanting to make Harmony a success check out these kind of collections and try out Kaffe OpenVM or GCC 4.0 to see how we can have harmony asap! (BTW. The Live-CD idea is really nice. I wish there was one for FC4test3 to show all the native stuff created with GCJ for those that don't want to install a full FC4 test release.)

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