Re: Plans for 2.8 - GNOME Managed Language Services?

On Mon, 2004-03-29 at 13:26 +0100, Bill Haneman wrote:
> Ryan McDougall wrote:
> I think this is a core issue - it means that Sun would find it difficult 
> to ship a GNOME that wouldn't run properly on the Sun runtime; i.e.. Sun 
> would need to be able to swap its own runtime in.

This is a language issue, not a VM issue. The ECMA CLR+IKVM is able to
run Java code. If Sun wanted to place their JVM in place of ours, the
Java code would run the same. I don't the issue -- its identical to
shipping Kaffe except that it Kaffe can't run C#, while CLR can.

> >
> >True, but if Novell gives us, say iFolder, are we (GNOME + all of
> >"Linux-land") going to refuse to use it because its in C#? Similarly,
> >lets suppose Looking Glass is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Are
> >we going to refuse to use it since its written in Java?
> >
> >The problem quickly becomes intractable when we have to tip-toe around
> >giants because we are afraid of hurting their feelings. :(
> >  
> I don't think that is what this is about.

You didn't answer the question about what we (the GNOME community)
should do if Novell donates C# code (as it has already done with

> >Also, lets say we choose Java and ship a Free JVM+Classpath. Thats
> >redundant too! Will that offend their platform aspirations? If the JVM
> >is integral for Sun, is it a competitor as well? I know we can please
> >everyone, but I'm starting to get the feeling we can never please anyone
> >without doing exactly what they tell us.
> >  
> >
> This would probably be a total non-issue to Sun, as long as they could 
> swap in their own JVM.  Presumably IBM would swap in _their_ vm, etc. if 
> it differed from the "stock" GNOME vm.

So is ECMA CLR a non-issue in your opinion then? The only problem would
be if we shipped C# code (which wouldn't run on a JVM)?

> >>Of the two, I think for Sun in particular the VM issue is probably the 
> >>touchier one.  If it's possible to write GNOME code that can run on a 
> >>free runtime but which can also run on a proprietary runtime, then we'll 
> >>avoid the thorniest issues and give the corporate interested parties the 
> >>most flexibility.
> >>    

It seems that the VM is not the thorniest issue, its the language. Am I
correct (from your point of view)?

> >
> >What about corporate interested parties who want C#, or a migration path
> >from .NET on Linux? You (understandably) seem to have a Java centric
> >view, but that doesn't help when considering what goes on beyond Java.
> >In your opinion, should we ignore what Novell is trying to offer us if
> >its not C or Java?
> >  
> >
> This is a question for Sun marketing really.   Whether any company would 
> ship a C# technology has to do with (in addition to any legal 
> considerations) their perception of whether it supported/reinforced 
> competing technology, or provided a migration path / customer option.

My question was geared to yourself as a GNOME guy, not a Sun guy. There
are people want C#, and there are people who want Java. What do you
suggest we do, offer a Java-only strategy? Place friend A in cold while
we accommodate friend B?

> The problems arise if GNOME introduces dependency on any "controversial" 
> technology (Java included) which might force GNOME adopters to either 
> bundle the technology or do surgery on GNOME in order to excise it.

This is the part I called "emotional" and you call "controversial":
GNOME should be able to run Java, but if it runs C# as well, does this
pose a problem? I don't think it should, but thats just me. ;)

> > ...
> >
> >Bill, I am interested in your point of view as a person who works for
> >Sun, so please feel free to comment further. Specifically, I'm not sure
> >I yet understand your pragmatic point of view.
> >  
> >
> I hope I've made it clearer above.

I think you have, but I am interested in hearing your response to my
questions above.

[snip parts I wholly agree with]

> (I'll try to seek some clarification about your last paragraph, but 
> don't hold your breath while you wait, please :-)
> )
> - Bill

That would be great. The last thing we need is to huff and puff our
selves in circles while we have no idea exactly how Sun would react to
this. I sent an email to fellow alumnus James Gosling, and got a
preliminary "I don't get what the fuss is all about. Use Java.", so
hopefully between the two of us we can poke and prod enough people to
find out exactly what we need to make everyone happy. :)

If you can get me a contact at Sun, I'd be happy to do the legwork.


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