# Monday, 09 May 2005
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Harmony

There's been a lot of confusion about Harmony in the last couple of days. I don't pretend to speak on behalf of the project, but I wanted to give my take on it.

The primary goal of Harmony is to create a J2SE 5 implementation under the Apache License. Many people have interpreted this as meaning that the ASF would start building a JVM and class library from scratch, but that's not the intention at all (although it is a possible worst case scenario). Talks are ongoing between the FSF and ASF to try and work together to change the GNU Classpath license to be compatible with the Apache License. In this light it is important to note that GNU Classpath is already licensed under a modified version the GPL that is more liberal to attract more developers and users. Another thing to note is that the FSF owns all copyright on GNU Classpath (each individual contributor signs over their copyright to the FSF), so the FSF can relatively easily change the license of GNU Classpath (or, for example, dual license it).

In his "Fork in the Open Source Java world" blog entry (a title I obviously disagree with) Miguel argues that the GPL may be a liability instead of an asset for some open source projects. I tend to agree with his view, the GPL and the FSF activism scare many people away, and even with a more liberal license there exist strong motivational factors for companies to work with the community instead of forking a large project and improving only their private version.

As for the pretentious name, all I can say is that I had nothing to do with that :-)

Update: Mark Wielaard corrects me:

And just to correct a little information in Jeroen's latest blog. The FSF/ASF talks are about the general (L)GPL/ASL 2.0 incompatabilities. We do hope to finally solve those since most of them are just legal technicalities and misunderstandings/misinterpretations. (This is something I think is of even more value then this new harmony project).

The current exception statement to the GPL used by GNU Classpath is compatible with and acceptable to the Apache community. But the FSF did say that IF the exception statement was in any way unclear THEN they would certainly be willing to clarify it so that there was no obstacle for adoption of GNU Classpath. There currently doesn't seem any need to do this though.

Monday, 09 May 2005 10:05:34 (W. Europe Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0]
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