Sun revokes FreeBSD's Java licence

Builder: FreeBSD is concerned that its right to view the Java source code has been taken away

The open source FreeBSD project has had its licence to view the Java source code revoked by Sun, according to the FreeBSD Foundation's latest newsletter.

The newsletter, published two weeks ago, said Sun had terminated the FreeBSD's Sun Community Source License (SCSL), the licence which controls access to the Java source code. FreeBSD is worried that this may mean it can no longer release binary distributions of the Java runtime environment with the FreeBSD platform.

"The latest blow to our efforts [to port Java to FreeBSD] was the recent notification of Sun's desire to revoke and renegotiate the FreeBSD Foundation's SCSL licence," said the newsletter.

"Even after receiving notice of the termination of our licence, attempts to contact Sun to renegotiate the licence have gone unanswered. For now, it is safe to assume that the Foundation will engage in another lengthy, and potentially costly, licensing negotiation before our binary distributions can continue."

Sun and FreeBSD were unable to immediately respond to requests for comment, but according to sources close to the issue the situation was a misunderstanding and is likely to be resolved soon

Others in the open source community have concerns about SCSL. Linux distribution Debian states on its Web site that some Java tools are not available in the standard Debian distribution due to licensing issues.

Debian developer Wookey claimed that Sun's licence has put off many free-software developers from using the language.

"As a result of Sun's licensing much of the free-software world ignores Java and uses other languages, which is a pity -- there is nothing wrong with the language itself," said Wookey. "I know my use of Java has been delayed approximately three years as a direct result of Sun's licensing not being free."

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