Harness source availability; was: Re: JavaSE 7 build 15 is available at the openjdk.java.net website

Gary Benson gbenson at redhat.com
Sat Jul 7 11:28:02 UTC 2007

Hi David,

Free software developers can have this weird blind spot for non-free
stuff.  It can seem like puritanism or zealotry but there's actually
a deep sense of pragmatism behind it.  Most people who would be
interested in a test harness aren't going to see it as a curiosity,
something to play with for a day or a week and then forget.  They're
going to want to integrate it into their build systems, maybe write
some tests of their own.  This kind of thing requires a certain
investment of time and effort, so you want to make sure that your
investment will pay off long term.  But with a closed harness, well,
sooner or later you're going to hit a bug, or there'll be some
functionality that could make your life a million times easier, if
only you had the ability to add it.  Or maybe you just upgrade your
OS one day to find the harness now doesn't run, and maybe the harness
provider doesn't care about your new OS so never makes a release.
All your work was for nothing.  Over time most of us have been bitten
one way or another by something like this.


David Herron wrote:
> Hey Mark,
> That's good feedback and it will make for an interesting
> counterpoint when I talk with my managers next week.
> FWIW my thought regarding releasing the source to our (SQE's)
> harness is that I don't know how y'all will respond to this
> harness.  If we release it and you hate it then we will have
> wasted a lot of man-hours getting it published.  I'm thinking
> to release the binary, look at the response, and then act
> accordingly.  But it sounds like you're likely to ignore it
> and I won't be able to judge the response ...
> Hurm.
> - David Herron
> Mark Wielaard wrote:
> > It would be a shame if you wouldn't release parts if you cannot at
> > the moment also release the harness. So please do release as much
> > as you feel comfortable with. But don't be surprised if people
> > will want to replace the harness with something based on free
> > software. Just like they are doing for the binary plugs in the
> > openjdk libraries. It is just what people like best, having (and
> > creating) a full set of free tools.
> > 
> > And in the long run it is also the most pragmatic solution since
> > given enough time there will be some reason to want to change or
> > adapt such a harness. Maybe it actually has a bug! Or it is
> > missing some feature (and you can be sure that day will come the
> > more you rely on it).
> > 
> > Cheers,
> > 
> > Mark

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