GNU GOATS on JAVA
Like i said earlier, these are exciting times. And if i hear anymore person say that lack of patents stiffles creativity, i'll personally truss em!
After crying about the Java Trap (http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/java-trap.html), the GNU community has been responding on many fronts, as a lot of Free software these days are written in Java. The result is GCJ and libgcj (which comes with GCC 4.0).
If you're a bit used to UNIXy nomenclature, libgcj may strike you as odd, b/cos its normally c/c++ libraries that are named like that, since they are compiled to native code. Well... GCJ can compile Java code to native code... Yes sir, you heard me well. In this manner, Java programs can run REALLY FAST.
libgcj is then the implementation of the Java library, and is currently a result of two GNU projects collaborating well (the original libgcj guys and the GNU Classpath hackers).
What does this mean for me as a coder, well, i now have a standard free platform to write Java code (uhh... i'm not exactly a Java freak tho). But most important to me, is that i can compile OpenOffice and Eclipse and run them as native binaries on Linux (and to some extent on windows using Ming). Now that is what i call innovation. You would wonder why Sun didn't do this? Or why .NET uses the same principle as Java (no native code). Well, they all tell you its compile once run everywhere, but in practice we know its not usually that straight forward, and its more true with Java than with .NET anyway, so why bother?
I personally don't know, and right now, i don't care :) Once I can run my Java programs that i NEED on my preferred platform, at native speeds, the bigwigs can go do what ever they like.
Business as we know it is changing fast, and innovations like this are the reason. Like I said earlier, these are exciting times.