OpenJDK and JNI -- licensing

Florian Weimer fweimer at
Mon Jul 20 08:44:44 UTC 2009

* Martin Buchholz:

> Whether an API is a published standard influences whether or not a
> client of that API is considered a separate work or not.  Most (but
> not all) of the interfaces to hotspot are specified by a JCP
> standard (and that includes jni),

The publicly available JCP license does not permit deployment, only
development for evaluation purposes.  Things are even more complicated
if the API contains service loaders.  For instance, I think it's Sun's
intention that you aren't allowed to write a JDBC driver and
distribute it (without further restrictions) if you've obtained the
JDBC API spec from the site.

So it's not clear to me if you can infer additional rights from the
existence of the JCP process.  Apparently, it was Sun's intent that
the main source for Java technology licensing was the JDK
distribution, and not the JCPs themselves.

> In any case, it would be good for Sun to clarify its position.
> In particular, engineers need to understand the policy
> when creating a new source file.

Right, especially since OpenJDK contains code which licensed under the
Apache 2.0 license (which is generally thought to be incompatible with
the GPL version 2).

Florian Weimer                <fweimer at>
BFK edv-consulting GmbH
Kriegsstraße 100              tel: +49-721-96201-1
D-76133 Karlsruhe             fax: +49-721-96201-99

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