[lsb-discuss] Java

Jeff Licquia jeff at licquia.org
Mon Feb 4 11:37:22 PST 2008

Theodore Tso wrote:
> If Kay is right and there are a large number of application which fall
> into class (1), then one way of addressiong this in LSB 4.0 would be
> to add a requirement that a JRE which is certified by Sun to be Java 6
> compliant must be made available at some pathname such as
> /usr/lsb/jre6, or some such.  We wouldn't say *which* JRE was there,
> just that it must be certified by Sun as being Java complaint.  We
> wouldn't even need to supply any tests; just require that part of the
> Distro certification process would involve submitting proof that the
> JRE which was shipped was certified as Java compliant.

If we do this, then we essentially incorporate, by reference, the entire 
Sun spec, certification program, etc. into the LSB.

This creates two problems:

  - Distributions can currently verify their compliance with the LSB for 
free.  This would not be possible afterwards.

  - The LSB certification process becomes yoked to Sun's process.

To give an idea what kind of burden the latter issue would impose, 
here's a statement from Sun's site about the scholarship program they're 
implementing for Java certification:

"The Compatibility Testing Scholarship Program is an annual support 
scholarship program to provide suitably qualified efforts access to 
Sun's TCK (Technology Compatibility Kit) support services for Java 
technology Specifications free of charge. A Review Board which oversees 
the Program determines which efforts are eligible for a support 
scholarship. The program will be funded at or above a rate of 30 efforts 
per year (current value of approximately $1M) for at least the next 3 
years. The Review Board may also grant TCK access at no cost without 
support services to qualified efforts."


At $1 million for 30 efforts, that's about $33,000 per effort.  That is 
three times the current cost for a non-LF member to certify one 
distribution to every architecture we support--literally, the highest 
bill any one distribution could possibly incur with us.  As I understand 
Sun's process, each "effort" is one binary JRE for one platform.  So, 
the cost of Java certification would dwarf the cost of certifying the 
rest of the platform.

Scholarships are available, but only for non-commercial and/or research 
efforts, and subject to approval by a review board.  The fees would 
likely not be prohibitive to the Red Hats and Novells of the world, but 
would be to small community distros.  Even were we to assume the highest 
ethics and motives on the part of Sun (and remember that they now market 
a competing open-source operating system), limiting scholarships to 30 
per year is prohibitive; we do not want to put anyone in the business of 
picking which community projects are "legitimate", nor do we want 
ongoing certification for long-term projects put at risk ("you got 
certified last year, it's someone else's turn").

And there are many community distros--Debian, for example--who won't 
touch a proprietary certification program with a ten-foot pole, even if 
they could afford them or were offered scholarships.

It's my opinion, therefore, that for the LSB to extend any recognition 
to the Sun certification process, some alternate arrangement must be 
negotiated between the LF and Sun.

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