[lsb-discuss] LSB conf call notes for 2008-07-30

Theodore Tso tytso at mit.edu
Tue Aug 12 11:00:12 PDT 2008

On Tue, Aug 12, 2008 at 05:51:49PM +0100, Alan Cox wrote:
> (As an aside you are rather out of date with scientific theory - pure
> deconstructionalism went out long ago. System modelling and emergent
> properties rather did for it. I defy you for example to deconstruct the
> problem of "where is 95% of the mass of a proton" or "why was google a
> success" and get a sane answer.)

I was talking about engineering, not science --- in engineering, the
technique of breaking up problem into manageable subpieces is still
quite a valid one.  It's also taught in project management classes as
well; it's definitely not out of date.  But that's neither here nor

> > We've already had one person claim that this probably doesn't extend
> > to the pathname /usr/bin/java, with one Sun employee being involved
> > with Kaffe.
> That needs Sun to sort out and its really a side issue to the main points


> On the CentOS side you are I think missing a key point.
> Right now I can run test suites against my distro and to a good extent
> say whether LSB compliant apps will run on my distro. It's not certified
> it might not be 100% in all cases but for a project like CentOS that is
> important. For the LSB it is also a big deal as it means LSB apps run on
> most "not formally LSB" distributions and makes the market rather more
> attractive.
> The TCK changes that. I don't have a test set for Java where I can say
> 'seems to work ok' and not use the trademark.

Given the current TCK license agreement, there is absolutely no way we
can bundle the TCK into to the LSB test suite.  So people who aren't
interested in certifying, but who only want to run the LSB tests, will
still be able to do so.  If folks were thinking that we would require
a signed TCK license before they could download the LSB Distribution
testkit --- No.  We're not that stupid.

So if the concern is whether people can continue to download the LSB
test suites without getting entangled into Sun NDA's and Trademark
issues --- of course!  If all they want to do is run the test suites
against your distribution, you will always be able to do that.  If
nothing else, *our* test suites are under the GPL, and the source code
is in bzr, so anyone is free to download sources and create their own
distribution test suite.  (I hear that the Moblin folks have already
done so for their Mobile Linux initiative.  But I digress...)

If we can't negotiate better terms with Sun, it's likely to be the
case that LSB certification will require that Linux distribution
requesting certification will simply submit a statement saying that
they have provided an certified JVM at /usr/bin/java.  We might have
one or two tests that attempt to run a "Hello, world" java program
just so that we know there was a JVM present, but we would primarily
relying on statement from the Linux distribution that their JVM had
passed the TCK.  (And of course, if people want to contribute tests,
maybe we could add them to the LSB and over time we could supplement,
and later supplant, the TCK with a true open source Java test suite,
assuming that Sun can't be influened to get a clue on this front.)

If we can negotiate a license from Sun that allows for anyone to
download the TCK bundled with LSB (which would effectively obviate the
NDA aspets of the license, given that anyone could download it from
ourwebsite :-), and perhaps some language surrounding the
indemnification clause *only* applying if you ship a JVM, we might
bundle the TCK with the distribution testkit.  What's the likelihood
of that happening?  To be honest, given how intractable Sun has been
with the Apache Foundation's concerns, which they raised quite some
time ago, I don't have high hopes here.

And of course, if upon review our lawyers find something truly
terrible in the TCK license agreement, we might decide to hold off
including Java as a mandatory part of the LSB, and simply making it be
trial use only, pending resolution of the issues involved.  One of the
reasons why I've been trying to tease specific concerns out of you and
Russ was to find out if there were specific things we needed to pay
attention to, other than just vague mutterings: "Sun... Legal
Agreement... Trademarks... Indemnification...  Bad!"

Best Regards,

					- Ted

More information about the lsb-discuss mailing list