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Showing posts from July, 2008

Is Free Software really Free? (A case of Google Android and Java)

Update: Google has open sourced Android and I will take back what I said. If you still wish to read the post, you may do so.

A lot of people have asked me why anybody would want free software, because there is no support or commercial licensing usually. Let me define what free is supposed to mean: "The freedom given to a user to execute the program; to modify the source code, compile and execute the modified program; to be able to redistribute the modified source code and the modified program."

We are not here to discuss if everybody is giving you a false free software promise, or if being "good" is essential for our life, but only to discuss a particular false software promise by organizations like Sun and Google.

Let us take a classic example: the Java platform. While Sun has been (for years) trying to free Java, they still can't push in just enough to make it completely free. And when they did GPL their OpenJDK (which at the moment, is probably mostly unhinder…