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Sun Java vs. Kaffe

 
J Mangual
Greenhorn
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Before I installed Sun Java, my console was suggesting I download things like Cacao or Kaffe. I realized these were open source alternatives to Sun's version. Ultimately, I got the Sun version which is free anyway.

What are the pros and cons of downloading something like Kaffe? I am not going to do anything too fancy. Can I use it to write networking applications like sockets or java swing applications? I am hoping Kaffe has many of the generally used Java features and maybe not some of the most recent changes.
 
Piet Verdriet
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On the right hand side of the home page of Kaffe, some pros and cons are given (more cons than pros if you ask me!).
 
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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A complete Java runtime is a fairly complex piece of software. There are a few in existence -- Sun's and IBM's in particular, but there are a few other commercial offerings which are in this category too -- which are well-implemented enough to use in production. Kaffe, GCJ, and the other grassroots open-source JVMs are all quite impressive accomplishments, but in my experience none of them are robust enough to use for serious work.
 
Ulf Dittmer
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Now that the JDK is being released under the GPL, the benefits of using something like Kaffe (and the GNU Classpath libraries on which it depends) are minor, IMO.

Note that the last release of Kaffe was almost a year ago, and of Classpath more than 7 months ago. So I don't think a lot of work is going on there.

As to compatibility, Classpath has about 95% of the Java 5 APIs, and I doubt that it's ever going to implement the Java 6 APIs.
 
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