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Sun Microsystems Java Programming

Sun Open-Sources Java UI Toolkit 59

ruphus13 writes "As the mobile space heats up, Sun has released the source code for Java Lightweight UI Toolkit under the GPL v2 license. ZDNet quotes Sun's senior director of embedded software saying, 'By creating LWUIT, Sun is reaffirming its commitment to the mobile development community and by open-sourcing the LWUIT code, we are enabling mobile developers to quickly and easily create rich, portable interfaces for their applications -- functionality that they have been requesting for some time.' Will Adobe follow suit?" Sun is also working on some fixes to holes in their mobile Java platform, which were discovered by a Polish researcher who demanded €20,000 to disclose the information.
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Sun Open-Sources Java UI Toolkit

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  • by JamesP ( 688957 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @10:42AM (#24634625)

    "which were discovered by a Polish researcher who demanded â20,000 to disclose the information. "

    You know what??? GOOD FOR HIM.

    So noone tought this would happen with lawsuit-happy, dig-your-head-in-the-sand companies (I'm not saying NOK and JAVA are)

    Tips for dealing with large corporations, if you give it for free, the don't want it. If you put a price tag in it, you make it worth it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mixnblend ( 1002943 )
      Where in the summary or in the article does it say that any of the authors thinks this is a bad thing? You imply it yourself but the sentence above reads,

      "which were discovered by a Polish researcher who demanded Ã20,000 to disclose the information."

      They are merely stating what occurred. Neither make a value judgement about his actions.
      • Tips for dealing with large corporations, if you give it for free, the don't want it. If you put a price tag in it, you make it worth it.
      • Using Imperial Units is supporting Darth Vader

      ERR: Does not compute.

  • by oever ( 233119 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @10:50AM (#24634689) Homepage

    Oh my, evertying about LWUIT seems ugly. It is an ugly acronym, the screenshots look horrible (green text on a very pink folded person) and the rotating cube is unaliassed and completely unnecessary.

    There is an article on ZDnet [] explaining the differences between JavaFX and LWUIT. It explains that LWUIT is a stop gap for people that cannot use JavaFX yet. But looking at the content of the LWUIT homepage I conclude that SUN could have better not release LWUIT at all.

    As for phone GUIs, I'm rooting for Plasma []. At Akademy last week I saw lots of EEE PCs and other small PCs, Nokia internet tablets, OLPC and OpenMoko machines all running Plasma. And it looks amazing and is easy to use and customize.

    • by digiti ( 200497 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @11:26AM (#24634981)

      Well LWUIT could use the iPhone theme but then Sun would get sued. No point in deriding a technical project on the lack of a full time UI designer...
      The text in the 3D cube in newer versions of LWUIT is anti-aliased, its still not as smooth as it can be but it runs on pretty much every phone out there.
      Furthermore, it will look better with newer devices while still supporting existing 50$ phones.

      Plasma, iPhone, Android etc. are all great but LWUIT runs today on a billion shipping phones... I doubt any of the above would ever make that number.

      See some of the newer demos and videos here:

    • LWUIT runs on MIDP 2.0 phones, i.e. a large part of the phones out there - not just expensive smartphones which might be capable of running Plasma.
    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @11:36AM (#24635061) Homepage Journal

      Well, it reminds me of the reportedly apocryphal story of the exchange between Lady Astor and Winston Churchill.

      "Winston, you're drunk!" she is reported to have said. Churchill replied, "Yes, Madam, and you are ugly. But in the morning, I will be sober."

      Of course, the joke is about the difference between temporary and permanent situations, and Churchill was semi-permanently drunk. In later years he used to do his morning's work in bed while he swilled a bottle of brandy.

      The question with respect to the toolkit isn't whether it is visually ugly. That can probably be repaired. The question is whether it has ugly use patterns, which would be much harder to repair. In the next release, a visually ugly toolkit might not be ugly, but an awkward toolkit will probably remain so.

      In any case, I've designed a number of mobile apps over the years, and every time I do one, the next one diverges more strongly from styles of interface I used to use on desktop applications. Mobile apps work benefit greatly from being radically streamlined. The biggest aesthetic problem with most desktop programs are clutter and complications; this problem is greatly amplified by the constraints of mobile apps.

      It follows that a well designed mobile app should be pared to the bone. While it is still possible to have bits of ugliness, like really bad font rendering, a streamlined interface has much less scope for ugliness.

      Some of the demo LWUIT screenshots are supposed to show as many of the toolkit's features as possible. Any actual app that looked that way would be really badly designed. That's all too common of course, but there isn't any system I can think of that is both general purpose and can't be used to create ugliness.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        That's all too common of course, but there isn't any system I can think of that is both general purpose and can't be used to create ugliness.

        I think anything past "any system" is redundant. They say that for every idiot-proof system the universe will create a better idiot, well show me a ugly-proof system and I'll be just as amazed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17, 2008 @10:52AM (#24634715)

    Huge difference.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yep, it actually gives developers more leeway in linking non-gpl modules in their project.

    • by U96 ( 538500 )
      How does Classpath Exception help when in MIDP everything gets smushed into the same jar file -- there are no separate modules to "link" to one another. Even if when using IDE tools in Eclipse like EclipseME that make it "look like" you're linking to a jar, that's actually IDE automagical convenience -- for MIDP what's happening under the covers during build is that the toolchain is unpackaging everything out of the linked jar and putting it all in the single MIDlet jar that you ship.
  • interesting (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Before Sun was into java, they teamed up with NeXT to create the OpenStep specification. sun had a beta Openstep package for solaris (sparc only) but then got java fever. Many of the original Java classes bore a striking resemblance to the Foundation Kit. It's been downhill since.

    Sun's track record at designing good toolkits is like Han's reiser's track record of not murdering his wives, or Cowboy neal's track record of not being fat.

  • When I go to the download page there is no source code and no GPL. []

  • No 64bit Java plugin (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    They'd better fix this bug:

    • Market research shows that 0% of all java users currently use browser java-plugins on 64 bit machines, so why bother ;)

      If the ask-slashdot thread about flash is right and there is really only one linux developer for the flash plugin, and that one works* on 64 bit installs, then I wonder how many developers there are for the java plugin. Either 0 or more than 100.

      * if correctly installed, just how to install it is another point.

  • Is this another one of those "LGPL-like" variants of the GPLv2?

    The LWUIT home page doesn't mention it, it just provides a link to the GPL2 page.

    • by WWWWolf ( 2428 )

      Is this another one of those "LGPL-like" variants of the GPLv2?

      Basically, as I understood it, Classpath exception is "Running in the JVM isn't considered linking as GPL defines the term". If you went by the strict letter of GPL, the GPL would require all classes running in the same VM to be under GPL-compatible license. It's necessary to do it this way, because in JVM there's little technical difference in linking a library and running a class, and running separate JVMs for GPL and non-GPL-compatible classes is just silly.

    • by digiti ( 200497 )

      The classpath exception is a different use case from LGPL which doesn't make sense in the mobile world where dynamic libraries can't be deployed (in most phones).
      Its designed to allow proprietary applications but requires changes to LWUIT to be contributed back:

      • by argent ( 18001 )

        The classpath exception is a different use case from LGPL which doesn't make sense in the mobile world where dynamic libraries can't be deployed

        I suspect there's something more complex than that, because the LGPL doesn't require dynamic libraries.

        • by digiti ( 200497 )

          No there isn't.
          LGPL requires opening the application source code when linking with the library. The interpretation of the word linking has been widely debated... The classpath exception does not. Sun representatives have stated that the goal is to allow proprietary development with the library e.g.:

          • by argent ( 18001 )

            Where precisely does the LGPL require opening the application source code when linking with the library? The whole point of the LGPL is that you don't need to release source of components that are not covered by the LGPL. You *do* have to provide a linkable version of the non-LGPL components, but that doesn't require source.

            • by digiti ( 200497 )

              That is my understanding of the license (IANAL):

              Section 4.d.1 seems to be relevant:

              • by argent ( 18001 )

                Thank you for those informative links.

                Section 4.d.1 is one of two alternatives. The purpose of these alternatives is to satisfy this requirement: You may convey a Combined Work under terms of your choice that, taken together, effectively do not restrict modification of the portions of the Library contained in the Combined Work and reverse engineering for debugging such modifications.

                To do this you may satisfy 4.d.1 or 4.d.0. Given the normal Java packaging mechanism this should be trivial, since a JAR is ju

                • by digiti ( 200497 )

                  I assume you are more familiar with LGPL than I am. However, I don't think this violates the intent of GPL (at least not more than the LGPL license) since the license was approved by RMS (it is the one used for open sourcing Java SE).

                  • by argent ( 18001 )

                    It wouldn't be the first time someone has slipped something under Richard's radar. I would be very surprised if he'd agree to allowing Tivoizing like that.

  • A GPLv2 UI library is essentially useless. They either need a classpath exception or LGPL.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by digiti ( 200497 )

      It has the classpath exception:

  • Jambi (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Brandybuck ( 704397 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:00PM (#24636139) Homepage Journal

    What about Jambi? Qt for Java. High quality easy to use UI framework. Yeah, I know it's Nokia now, but so what.

    • As I understand, so far it's only desktop version of Qt for Java, and not Qt/Embedded.

      And, of course, it still requires the native Qt binaries for each platform it runs on, so you can't just run it on any random J2ME phone. Which you can do with LWUIT, since it's pure Java.

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