Pacta sunt servanda

Pacta sunt servanda (“pacts must be respected”) is probably the first or second thing you learn when you enter law school in Italy. Looks like someone in Sun could use some good old latin to understand why what they’re doing to Java is wrong in so many ways.

I hope the community as a whole understands what the real issue is: the problem is not Sun trying to restrict Java use through questionable strings attached to the Java Compatibility Kit. The problem is not Harmony being at risk of losing the “Java” branding. The problem is not even OpenJDK itself being potentially impaired by the Field of Use restrictions Sun is trying to make the community swallow, which are most probably incompatible with the GPL itself.

All these are serious issues which should be addressed, yet there is a much more prominent conundrum which needs attention from all of us. The whole JCP is at serious risk, as the very basic contract among the different parties (the JSPA) has been breached by the most prominent kid in the block, the one who started it all: if this issue is not resolved, it won’t be just a problem for Harmony, as everyone would feel entitled to provide Open Source incompatible ties to the TCK or the RI for a given Java spec.

Just look around and consider how much Open Source software relies on JCP-provided specs: from XML processing to JDBC, from servlet containers to portals, the virtuous cycle of interoperable implementations by means of good specs, solid TCKs and usable RIs will be broken into pieces, as spec leads would be able to restrict usage of TCKs, effectively hampering or even prohibiting Open Source implementations.

Let me delve into more latin: Harmony here is just a casus belli. The stakes are much, much higher.

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1 thought on “Pacta sunt servanda”

  1. It has been weeks and months, since I first heard of a still unknown project of the founders of Kazaa and Skype.. I’ve been looking desperatly forward to it.

    Just an hour ago I read an article about “Joost”, which I know can’t wait to get my PC in.

    For like one hour now I’ve been calling friends, closely linked to internet-related stuff.. but: Noone is in the project yet.

    Please, I passionatly beg you to invite me to this project!

    Sincerly yours, Andreas (andreasspiegel@gmail.com)

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