[lsb-discuss] Java

Jeff Licquia jeff at licquia.org
Mon Feb 4 18:54:57 PST 2008

Theodore Tso wrote:
> Well, in practice distributions get certified JRE's from their various
> JVM providers for free.  So the distributions don't actually have to
> certify the JRE's --- that's in practice usually done for them.  Now
> it is true that the official Sun Java certification is for a specific
> Distribution release, and at least in theory, the Java certification
> has to renewed for every single new errata kernel and service pack
> release --- but very often, people don't bother --- and it's not the
> end of the world when they don't.
> So if we are willing to cheat a little, where we say something along
> the lines of "as long as the JVM has been certified on some LSB
> certified distribution, and it passes a basic "smoke test", that
> that's our requirement, it doesn't necessarily require the
> distributions have access to the Java TCK.

For some standards efforts, I think this would be OK.  I'm not sure how 
well talk of "cheating a little" or "practical certification" would go 
over at Sun.

It's also worth noting that no open-source JRE can pass the TCK today, 
which means in practice that every distro-supplied JRE is proprietary. 
That's a deal-breaker for us in terms of referring to Java in the LSB. 
We're basing our new thinking on the idea that an open-source JRE will 
one day pass the TCK.  But only binaries can pass the TCK.  It would be 
bad for the LSB to forbid people from exercising their rights.

So, for this to work, the "blessing" of certification must somehow be 
transferable by having a common source base.  I'm pretty sure Sun isn't 
going to buy into that.  They have a history of being very picky about 
this stuff.

Sun doesn't have to buy into it.  We could word our spec so as to 
disclaim specific Sun certification, while claiming that a common source 
heritage is "good enough".  But I fear that our Java spec will become 
meaningless on the one hand, or serve to fork Java certification on the 
other, depending on how specific we get.

I suppose a lot of this is speculation.  Sun will have to deal with 
these issues when the first open-source JRE gets certified, and the way 
they deal with them will likely help us figure out a strategy.

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