13 November 2006

Java - A Gift To Free Software

After a few weeks/months of build up the the press are now reporting on Sun open-sourcing Java under the GPL license. This is free as in freedom. This is great news, especially in the current climate brought about by Microsoft in recent weeks (with the Samba team now pubic in their opposition to the deal). Overall, this is great news and I imagine this could push Java from strength to strength. Pair this up with the Adobe's EMCAScript donation to the Mozilla Foundation, I think this could be a very exciting time for the Java family of products.

This has also got me thinking about Java user interfaces. The last time I looked at them many years ago they were more of a Motif style of user-interface, certainly not the native look'n'feel. I wondered how far they have got now. I am a user of Azureus the fantastic BitTorrent client written in Java, the interface is not quite native, but has been getting closer and closer in each subsequent version. Apparently it is also possible to build Azureus with the GNU Classpath library supplied with the GCC.

There is some documentation about Swing look'n'feel available here about some default theming. There is also a look'n'feel Java website here. There certainly seems to be a lot out there that runs pretty close to being native looking, but it seems to fall short in some places, I think this warrants some more investigation...