[linux-elitists] What's some marketing buzzwords for what we do?

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Tue Dec 31 06:46:45 PST 2002

Quoting Justin F. Knotzke (jknotzke@shampoo.ca):

> A rather impressive list. What's even more amazing is how many were
> written in Java. 

Eight open-source ones (the extent of whose proprietary dependencies
remain to be determined -- see below).  Five proprietary ones.  Out of
108 total entries.

> Please correct me if I am wrong but aren't there issues with Java and
> Linux Elitists or has that disappeared since gcj ?

A convoluted and contentious topic, which is one reason why my list
hints at the problem areas but doesn't dive headlong into the topic.

My brief rundown on the pieces involved (for open-source Java on Linux) 
is here:  http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/linux-info/java .  But I'm nobody's
idea of an expert, and Java-land is keeps sprouting complex jargon at 
such a rate that I'm surprised anyone can keep up.

We have a semi-suitable JRE, kaffe, which also serves as the one in gcj.
We have several reasonable substitutes for Sun's javac.
We have some semi-OK sets of class libraries.
We have lots of JITs.
We have diverse servlet engines.

All of that is compatible to various degrees with various generations of
what Sun produces, which of course has been evolving.  The differences
often matter; sometimes they don't.

But then there's the mess involving graphics class libs.  If I
understand correctly, Sun used to want people to implement AWT, which
tried to make maximal use of the various OS-native widget sets (on X11, 
OS X / Cocoa, Win32).  People bitched about inconsistency and other
things, so they went to the other extreme and produced Swing, which
eschews native graphics at the cost of immense complexity.  I'm not
clear on how well if at all AWT is implemented in open-source tools, and
I suspect that Swing doesn't have a prayer of that in the near future.

Then, IBM muddied those waters further with SWT (Standard Widget
Toolkit), which implements a model mid-way between AWT and Swing (as to
use of native graphics libs).  And IBM produced some open-source libs
for that, but they're under a licence that's not GPL-compatible, so 
GPLed code can use it only with a licence exception.

But the libs don't stop there.  You'll notice that a bunch of the Java
MUAs on my list depend on Sun's Javamail class library -- and various
require proprietary Sun pieces such as JavaBeans Activation Framework,
Java XML class library, Java Application Framework Java bean (and I
don't guarantee that I listed all such requirements).  Open-source
plug-compatible equivalents?  I highly doubt that.

In summary:  Some Java can be done with completely open-source tools,
but complex projects have a high likelihood of problems with such tools
if they were built with the expectation of usage with Sun/Blackdown
tools.  Complex projects with Sun-type graphics implementations, more

I may be talking out of /dev/ass, in which case some Java devotee is
welcome to set me straight.

Cheers,                             Ever wonder why the _same people_ 
Rick Moen                           make up _all_ the conspiracy theories? 

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