Sun Java Changes

Sun has made a significant step for providing users and developers better access and freedom with Java. Sun announced this week they will be open sourcing key parts of Java under the GPL. In effect most users should not see a direct impact on their Java usage, however in the long term Java will have a more widespread usage, subject to fewer problem and more readily available on different systems.

Due to licensing and Sun’s tight control of Java (TM), an open implementation of a Java compiler (GCJ) is being actively developed. Previously any Java developer risked the possibility that an adverse change in policy by Sun could affect their Java development. Although the intention is good, the vast majority of developers still used Sun Java, leaving GCJ very immature. Distributions like Fedora included GCJ, but prohibited Sun Java. However since most GPL software is acceptable in Linux distributions, Java will most likely will show up in Fedora, Debian and others which formerly banned it. At least it should make for an easier installation of Java in Fedora Core!

In other developments, Sun has release the Java 1.6 RC (Release Candidate). Included in the Desktop Features are improvements to the GTK look and feel. Hopefully this should make Gnome Eclipse users happier!

For those who wish to try Java 1.6 along side 1.5 in Fedora Core:

Download the JRE (jre-6-rc-linux-i586.bin) from … Sun Early Access Downloads.

As root:

# sh jre-6-rc-linux-i586.bin
# mv jre1.6.0 /opt/jre1.6
# alternatives --install /usr/bin/java java /opt/jre1.6/bin/java 3
# echo 3 | /usr/sbin/alternatives --config java

# java -version
java version "1.6.0-rc"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0-rc-b104)
Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.6.0-rc-b104, mixed mode, sharing)

I don’t recommend testing the web browser plugin (as if Firefox doesn’t have enough reasons to crash). However playing around with Eclipse may be nice to see if you notice any changes!