IcedTea and integration of applet, webstart, javascript/rhino, visualvm, etc.

Geir Magnusson Jr. geir at
Sat Sep 13 20:54:16 UTC 2008

On Sep 13, 2008, at 2:36 PM, Mark Wielaard wrote:

> Hi Geir,
> On Sat, 2008-09-13 at 10:02 -0400, Geir Magnusson Jr. wrote:
>> On Sep 13, 2008, at 9:44 AM, Dalibor Topic wrote:
>>> Meanwhile, the IcedTea project augments the OpenJDK jdk6 project  
>>> with
>>> independent implementations
>>> of the plugin and webstart, called gcjwebplugin and netx. Those
>>> independent implementations have a different
>>> set of strengths and weaknesses from Sun's implementations: they
>>> work on 64 bit Linux, for example, a platform
>>> that hasn't been supported by Sun's own plugin yet. On the other  
>>> hand,
>>> gcjwebplugin currently lacks an
>>> adequate Java-JavaScript integration that's required by some applets
>>> to execute as well as expected.
>> Seems like Sun is using IcedTea as a kind of "shadow project"?  I
>> don't follow things closely anymore, but someone was asking me about
>> this the other day and I couldn't really explain it clearly.   I find
>> the whole thing baffling.
> It really isn't that mysterious. It is just a couple of us guys and
> girls having fun with hacking on and assembling some free software
> stuff, mostly based around OpenJDK and for a large part consisting of
> people who have also been involved with other free software java
> projects for GNU/Linux like GNU Classpath, cacao, kaffe, gcj, etc.
> There is nothing "shadowy" about it, just look at

Ha!  I didn't mean "shadow" as in secret or sinister, but more like a  
"companion" that does the same thing.

Do you give patches back to OpenJDK?  How do you deal with the joint  
copyright thing?  I looked at the site but didn't see anything.

> In a way you can see it as an continuation of all the ideas which we
> shared around GNU Classpath. Creating a large, enthusiastic bunch of
> people, communities and companies working on all aspects of libre  
> java,
> working together in harmony.

Right - and that's great.  As you know, I'm all for Harmony ;)

I'm just wondering why all of those people don't do it at OpenJDK.

>>> Sun's Java SE 6 download comes with a lot of (third party) software
>>> bundled in, for example
>>> Java DB, Rhino, Visual VM, etc. OpenJDK jdk 6 project leaves such
>>> software out as much as possible,
>>> concentrating on the necessities required for a compatible
>>> implementation of Java SE 6.
>> I don't know about VisualVM, but the rest is free/open  software.   
>> Why
>> not just include those as well?
> We do. IcedTea comes with applet plugins, based on gcjwebplugin and
> Deepak is now extending the new IcedTeaPlugin with
> LiveConnect/JavaScript support (./configure --enable-gcjwebplugin
> or ./configure --enable-liveconnect). I recently added javax.script
> javascript support through Rhino (./configure --with-rhino). And  
> Joshua
> added VisualVM integration (./configure --enable-visualvm), although
> that drags in a big piece of NetBeans (also under the GPL now), so we
> are looking at how to package that easier/separately. I believe the  
> only
> thing not integrated yet is JavaDB, but I don't really know any  
> programs
> using that. If there actually are, we can certainly add that to the  
> mix.
> As extras IcedTea also comes with cacao integration as replacement for
> hotspot on those platforms that hotspot hasn't been ported to
> (./configure --with-cacao). And Zero as hotspot based interpreter
> (./configure --enable-zero) and shark a jit backend for hotspot  
> still in
> development (./configure --enable-shark).
>> So why not jettison the 3rd party code and focus the community around
>> the open/free stuff?  Seems like the thing to do if Java is free.
> That has been and always will be the goal. Sun (or any company really)
> cannot do it all alone (maybe partly crippled by some of those  
> business
> decisions you mention), and that is why we are here to help out  
> wherever
> we can and provide us all with a completely free Java implementation,
> integrated well, and as free as you would expect from anything bundled
> with a GNU/Linux distro.

That's great!  I'm just curious why it couldn't have been done in the  
OpenJDK project.



> Cheers,
> Mark

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