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  4. <title>FSF Europe - Projects - AGNULA: A GNU/Linux Audio distribution (IST-2001-34879) - Java Issues</title>
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  8. <img src="agnula_logo_big.png" border="0" /><img src="ist_logo.png" border="0" /><br /><br />
  9. <h1>Java Issues</h1>
  10. </center>
  11. <p>The goal of the AGNULA project is to create an entirely Free
  12. Software GNU/Linux distribution for professional audio users. When
  13. setting out with this goal, we didn't know how far we would come, but
  14. it turns out that it is indeed possible. As it so often is the case,
  15. one problem remains to be solved.</p>
  16. <h3>Java issues</h3><ul>
  17. <p>The "Java issues" often mentioned in several places is not a
  18. technical problem of Java as a programming language. It is rather in
  19. the way Java is being developed and maintained as a proprietary
  20. operating base.</p>
  21. <p>There are two major Java implementations currently in use, one
  22. maintained by IBM, the other by Sun. Both of them may come without
  23. charge, but are without the freedom that would make them qualify as <a
  24. href="http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html">Free
  25. Software</a>.</p>
  26. <p>Consequently, all software written in Java &#8212; even software
  27. under a Free Software license, such as the GNU General Public License
  28. (GPL) or the BSD license &#8212; running on such a platform will put
  29. the users freedom at risk. A situation quite comparable to Free
  30. Software running on Microsoft Windows.</p>
  31. <p>Alternative approaches to provide Free Software Java platforms
  32. exist, but due to the proprietary nature of the Java implementations,
  33. Free Software needs to re-engineer what the proprietary platforms have
  34. implemented after they have been released, putting Free Software
  35. implementations at a disadvantage. Furthermore, this is a tedious task
  36. that not many developers wish to undertake.</p>
  37. <p>As a result, the proprietary Java platforms tend to be more feature
  38. rich than their Free Software counterparts, tempting programmers to
  39. make use of their advanced features.</p>
  40. <p>When programs make use of these advanced features, they will not
  41. run on Free Software Java implementations. In fact they will often
  42. only run with one of the two major proprietary implementations. A
  43. situation comparable to Free Software that only runs on Microsoft
  44. Windows and cannot be made to run on a Free Software operating
  45. system.</p>
  46. <p>If you seek more detailed information about the status of Free
  47. Software Java implementations, the following link should be useful:</p>
  48. <ul><a href="http://www.gnu.org/software/java/">http://www.gnu.org/software/java/</a></ul>
  49. </ul><h3>Effect on AGNULA</h3><ul>
  50. <p>There is only one package in AGNULA that has a dependency to a
  51. proprietary Java implementation. Unfortunately this is a very valuable
  52. project called <a href="http://www.ircam.fr/jmax/">jMax</a>, written
  53. by <a href="http://www.ircam.fr">IRCAM</a>, one of the AGNULA project
  54. partners.</p>
  55. <p>The project itself consists of a server written in C and licensed
  56. under the GNU General Public License (GPL), and a client written in
  57. Java, also licensed under the GNU General Public License.</p>
  58. <p>So all that would be required is to make sure the Java client does
  59. not have proprietary dependencies.</p>
  60. </ul><h2>What we have tried</h2><ul>
  61. <p>There are several possible ways to solve this problem that we have
  62. explored:
  63. <ul>
  64. <li><b>Convince Sun to release their Java implementation as Free
  65. Software</b>:<br /> Because Microsofts .NET initative seems very
  66. likely to become the "Java killer," releasing their Java
  67. implementation as Free Software would greatly increase Suns chances to
  68. remain an important player in the market. Although there are some
  69. people inside Sun who would like to do this, it appears unlikely this
  70. will happen soon. Suns recent announcement to support Free Software
  71. Java implementations helps, but it is not enough to solve the
  72. immediate problem.</li><br />
  73. <li><b>Make the jMax GUI use the GNU Java tools:</b><br /> IRCAM has
  74. spent some time evaluating the possibilities and found that the GNU
  75. Java Compiler (gjc) would be up to the job, unfortunately the
  76. libraries needed for the GUI are still too rudimentary. The simplest
  77. solution along this route would have been to add the necessary
  78. features to GNU Classpath, a task that has been estimated with four
  79. person-years. Unfortunately IRCAM does not have the resources to do
  80. this and by European Commission rules, AGNULA can only finance
  81. integration, not development.</li><br />
  82. <li><b>Create an alternative non-Java GUI:</b><br /> Since it seems
  83. unlikely we'll be able to stick with Java and keep the project
  84. entirely free, the last alternative appears to be the writing of
  85. another GUI based upon a different programming language.<br /> After
  86. some discussion it has been decided that <a
  87. href="http://www.python.org">Python</a> would be a good choice for a
  88. platform independent Free Software GUI.</li> </ul></p>
  89. </ul><h3>Creating a Python GUI for jMax</h3><ul>
  90. <p>For the same reasons mentioned above, AGNULA cannot directly fund
  91. development of a Python GUI, nor can IRCAM afford the resources
  92. necessary for full development. We are determined to not fall short of
  93. our goal, so we will not include any of the proprietary Java runtime
  94. environments. Which is why we are asking for volunteers.</p>
  95. </ul><h2>Call for volunteers</h2><ul>
  96. <p>If you are a Python developer or somebody with an interest in music
  97. applications, please help us develop <b>pyMax</b>, the Python GUI for
  98. jMax, so we can offer this as another fully functional Free Software
  99. audio application on AGNULA.</p>
  100. <p>IRCAM cannot do all the work themselves, but they are willing to
  101. offer volunteers priority support (answer time within 24hrs on working
  102. days) and all help that they can provide.</p>
  103. <p>Should you wish to help with this problem, please subscribe to the
  104. IRCAM jMax development list and let people know that you want to help:
  105. <ul><a href="http://listes.ircam.fr/wws/info/jmax">http://listes.ircam.fr/wws/info/jmax</a></ul>
  106. </p>
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