The JOLT Manifesto

The aim of the JOLT project (originally proposed in the Linux-Java HOWTO as "Mr. Coffee") is to produce a freely redistributeable "clean-room" clone of Java that will pass Sun Microsystems's Java validation suite.

We believe that Java will be the most important and empowering Internet technology since the original Mosaic graphical browser. We anticipate that Java will earn wide acceptance as a general-purpose application language. We recognize and appreciate the potential of J-code as a universal intermediate language. We want freeware hackers and users to have these benefits in redistributable source.

The JOLT project endorses Sun Microsystems's strategic objective for Java (preventing Microsoft hegemony) and declares itself friendly to and willing to cooperate with Sun Microsystems. We hope and expect that Sun will view JOLT's product not as competition but as a second source reassuring to people nervous about any kind of license restriction.

We intend to build a production-quality Java compiler, an embeddable Java interpreter with a full class library (including AWT) and documentation for all components. The compiler and interpreter must pass Sun's validation suite. The tools should, ideally, be portable to any ANSI/POSIX conforming system. The initial implementation will be targeted for Linux/i386.

As a longer term goal, we will seek to embed JOLT in a freely-redistributable, high-function Web browser (perhaps based on W3C's Arena code).

Our concept of "product" will also include whatever clarifications to Sun's specification are needed to make reverse-engineering practically (and not just theoretically) possible. These clarifications will be Sun's immediate win from the project.

The JOLT interpreter and class libraries will be issued under a BSD or similar license allowing re-use for either commercial or non-commercial purposes (GPL will not be used due to the widespread uncertainty about license-virus effects; also, we want the license to be similiar to the W3 Consortium's licenses for libwww and arena). The JOLT compiler (which will probably be guavac) will likely be released under the GPL however.


ewt@redhat.com