OpenJDK and JNI -- licensing

Geir Magnusson Jr. geir at
Wed Jul 8 09:34:39 UTC 2009

I strikes me that the best thing for everyone is a FAQ entry from Sun :

"Q: Does the classpath exception apply to JNI applications running on  

with the answer

"A: Yes"


"A: No"

depending on Sun's official stance on the matter.

Seems like an easy thing for Sun to provide.


On Jul 7, 2009, at 8:08 PM, Kevin Regan wrote:

> So, let me get this straight.  I need to first understand the  
> Classpath exception, then find this entry in the FAQ about alternate  
> licenses (that I otherwise would not be looking for), track down  
> these demo applications, notice that at least one of them is JNI,  
> and then assume from the wording of "Because these components are  
> not part of the JDK but rather are
> application programs, they need not be under the GPL license because  
> of
> the Classpath exception" that my JNI applications are also not  
> encumbered by the GPL?
> You are absolutely serious in putting forth that this is sufficient  
> for most developers to answer this question (are JNI applications  
> subject to the GPL)?  You are stating that most developers will come  
> to the FAQ and easily track down this information?
> So, clearly, from following this procedure, we've surmised JNI  
> applications are not subject to the GPL, correct?
> --Kevin
>> Date: Wed, 8 Jul 2009 01:58:03 +0200
>> From: Dalibor.Topic at Sun.COM
>> Subject: Re: OpenJDK and JNI -- licensing
>> To: galabar at
>> CC: discuss at
>> Kevin Regan wrote:
>>> I'm asking for samples explaining how the license applies to JNI  
>>> and pure Java applications.
>> Let me quote from the FAQ I referred to in the mail you're just  
>> replying to:
>> "Q:
>> Are there any other licenses used in the OpenJDK code base besides  
>> the ones you've already described?
>> A:
>> Yes. The demo and sample code modules are released under the BSD  
>> license. These code elements are intended to be very widely  
>> distributed, freely modified and used. Accordingly, we've chosen  
>> the BSD license as most appropriate for these uses. *Because these  
>> components are not part of the JDK but rather are application  
>> programs, they need not be under the GPL license because of the  
>> Classpath exception.*"[emphasis mine]
>> You can find the samples you're looking for (both pure Java  
>> applications, and those using JNI) in the folders containing BSD  
>> licensed demo and sample application programs.
>> I can only assume that the issues you're having with the FAQ are  
>> based on an assumption that using or not using JNI makes a major  
>> difference in terms of the effect of the license, so I'd kindly  
>> suggest reading the license terms, and/or the FAQ and/or asking a  
>> legal professional for advice.
>> cheers,
>> dalibor topic
>> -- 
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