Sun Revokes Java License from FreeBSD

The FreeBSD Foundation, funded largely by donations from the devoted community around its open source UNIX operating system, received some bad news shortly before Christmas. Sun Microsystems has announced it is revoking FreeBSD's SCSL license, which permits the project to ship Java support with the OS.

The SCSL, or Sun Community Source License, is a combination of proprietary and open source licenses. In order to distribute the Java runtime environment in FreeBSD, the project signed an initial agreement with Sun in August 2003.

Since that time, the FreeBSD Foundation says it has "funded additional development to port the Java 1.4.x to FreeBSD," as well as worked on a port of Java 5. But despite its support of Java initiatives, the project says efforts to negotiate with Sun have met a deaf ear.

"Even after receiving notice of the termination of our license attempts to contact Sun to renegotiate the license have gone unanswered," FreeBSD project leaders wrote in a newsletter. "For now, it is safe to assume that the Foundation will engage in another lengthy, and potentially costly, licensing negotiation before our binary distributions can continue."

The FreeBSD Foundation notes that Sun is apparently re-negotiating all of its SCSL licenses in order to standardize its revenue model for the Java platform.

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