30 November 2006

Sun Opts for GNU GPL v2.5

I've written elsewhere about my pleasant surprise at Sun choosing the GNU GPL for Java. But an obvious question that follows on from that news is: which GPL? B

This is a highly political question, with no easy answer. And yet Simon Phipps, Mr Open Source at Sun, has given a good 'un:

the very first question Richard asked me about OpenJDK was "GPL v2 or later" or "GPL v2 only"? I explained that Sun could not in good faith commit to using a license sight-unseen for such an important code-base. It's used on 4 billion devices, there are more than 5 million developers dependent on it for their living, and the risk - however slight - that the GPL v3 might prove harmful to them can't be taken. So while we are very positive about the GPL v3, committing to using it when it's not finished does not seem responsible stewardship. I hope we can use it, but I can't express that hope by committing in advance. So for now, the Java platform will be licensed under just the GPL v2.

Sounds fair enough to me.

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