Java's Language Downfalls

As free software activists, we all enjoy using the latest and greatest in free software, but we need to make sure that the software we are using really does respect our freedom. A lot of software relies and depends on Java, since it appears to be fully free software, nontheless we have many concerns with implementation and decisions made by authors of this language.

What are the issues?

Firstly the OpenJDK trademark policy is problematic, similar to rust. Their trademark license imposes restrictions for the redistribution of modified versions that making it inconvenient to exercise freedom 3. The OpenJDK Trademark says “changes required”, “so long as that work takes place in the context of an approved Project hosted in the OpenJDK Community”. Therefore everything abranged by Java project (OpenJDK and JVM) cant be patched and/or modified without approval by the “community”.

Secondly, on what comes to security (privacy<-security<-freedom), Java has been one of the most common infection vectors for UNIX based systems. Poor coding practices in JVM have resulted in many popular cross-platform exploits.

And Lastly, current or previously used PKGBUILDs that were inherited from Arch and are less then prefected, in the sense that they download various pre-compiled and pre-packaged binaries, which obviously goes against Hyperbola ideals and Social Contract. These are a risk to our users. To properly build them requires several hundred additional PKGBUILDs and the time to rebuild Java from scratch. This would require considerable effort and is not currently feesable given the size of our team.

In short, OpenJDK won't be happy with us applying patches and modifications to try to adress this issues in to their trademarked language without approval, or the need for entire language rebrand, so it is belated atack to our users freedom. For further references, Criticism to Language itself as well has Criticism to repeated Security Vunerabilities. And also our article on Rust trademark, given the similarities with it

Big Picture

There are various project utilizing Java as a aceptable language. I2P is one of them, has well as a huge plenora of projects.

As an alternative to the java I2P implementation, i2pd (I2P Daemon) may be used. It is a full-featured C++ implementation of I2P client, useful for building and using the anonymous I2P network. However, this implementation still lacks some features given is overall less mature.


  • Rebranding the entire language to avoid the trademark restriction. Such as IceCat was made to replace Firefox and Iceweasel-UXP to replace Basilisk; however it is a programming language, not a browser. A rebranded version of Java maintained by the GNU Project and FSDG-compliant distros could be the way. However, we would need patches to adapt all Java-dependant applications to the rebranded version of Java, since it is a programming language. We would also not be able to adress the problems that come with the sheer size of main packages, as well as all the not discloused secutity predicaments of this language.
  • Getting OpenJDK to change its trademark agreement to allow modifications on the java binary for any purpose in respect of Freedom 3.

Comparisons with other software trademarks

Some users have correctly mentioned that many other software packages have trademarks, do we plan to remove them all? No. We are not against all trademarks, only those which explicitly prohibit normal use, patching, and modification.

As an example, neither Python PSF nor Perl Trademarks currently prohibit patching the code without prior approval. They do prohibit abuse of their trademarks, e.g. you cannot create a company called “Python”, but this does not affect your ability to modify their free software and/or apply patches.

Due to the anti-modification clause, OpenJDK is a non-permissive trademark that violates user freedom.