One year ago – Java Liberation Day

November 13 2006 was Java Liberation Day. This brings back happy memories. On that day Sun acted and did not just make promises that one day they would release their java implementation as free software (something a lot of us GNU Classpath hackers didn’t believe would ever happen anymore – till that one day changed everything). They delivered the javac, hotspot and all of the phoneme code under the GPL (the other parts would follow at JavaOne) and they made one of the best GPL shows ever. The best part of the show (imho) is the “Collaborate” part where Jonathan Schwartz says “To the GCJ, GNU Classpath and Kaffe community, now is the time for us to to really get together and try to figure out how to do the right balancing equation, because we don’t want to do any redundant work with you and you don’t want to do any redundant work with us. And we are more than happy to pull all of our efforts together to go really promote ultimately what I think is what we all share, to drive freedom and opportunity for developers.” (see and listen for yourself – 40 seconds ogg/theora). I don’t think we are there yet, but we certainly made some nice progress this last year. We turned GNU Classpath and gcj into a free bootstrap platform for getting OpenJDK/IcedTea into all the major GNU/Linux distros. And I am especially happy to see various projects around GNU Classpath, like cacao, ikvm, midpath and others, find even more exciting things to do with this new future. They are creating interesting hybrids that will change the free software world. They bring libre java to your small and large devices, on Alpha, PowerPC, ARM, MIPS, and S390 architectures and create bridges with technologies, like mono/.net, that seemed impossible in the past. And everything comes with the source code which you are free to run, copy, distribute, study, change, share and improve in whatever way you want. Exciting times!

Rich Sands has a great overview of the java liberation year so far from Sun’s perspective.

Terrence Barr gives a Free Java ME and Mobile & Embedded Timeline.