Java is one of the most important software development technologies in Brazil. Major companies, especially Brazilian Government, are users of this technology.
JVM – Java Virtual Machine – is a key component of Java technology. JVM guarantees Java applications to be multiplatform and provides them all necessary functionalities. JVM is a key component for all developers who use this technology, not only for those developing desktop applications – for instance, the application developed by the Secretariat of the Federal Revenue of Brazil and by Serpro for Personal Income Tax Declaration – but for application servers, which is the case of systems such as Caixa Econômica Federal Lotteries. The country as a whole, and specifically Brazilian Government, has been investing a lot on developing Java. These investments depend on JVM.
It is possible to notice that Brazilian public sector, both in federal and state spheres, is highly investing on this technology. Major projects such as those developed by Serpro, Banco do Brasil, Caixa Econômica Federal, Brazilian Central Bank, Dataprev, Datasus and Procergs, use Java technology. More and more, Brazilian federal government is searching for independence and freedom of choice and in terms of efforts on developing free software, Java is an important tool.
Other important decision that the government made related to technology is to adopt free softwares in its projects. This decision not only reduces the costs of the projects but also offers more freedom to the country in relation to the foreign market. Moreover, it helps to develop internal technology and knowledge. Once more, Java plays a key role in this discussion, since it has been the chosen technology for some of the main projects to support free software initiatives – such as Direct Project (Procergs) and IRPF Multiplatform (Personal Income Tax Declaration by the Secretariat of Federal Revenue of Brazil).
The community of developers, the companies and the Brazilian government itself depend on a stable JVM, open and free, to maintain their projects and keep the flux of innovation that has been emerging in the country during the last years.
Notwithstanding, even though there is a version of JVM that is completely free and available on OpenJDK Project, in Brazil almost all projects in Java still use the trademark version of JVM. Using this trademark version can seem harmless, since it is a free version, however, the massive use of it brings about a major problem, due to the fact it has been discontinued and preliminary tests show that many critical systems for Brazilian government stopped working while testing their adherence to OpenJDK.
Besides that, another problem is the fact that OpenJDK Project is managed by a Counsel that is comprised, on its majority, by big American software companies, which have commercial interests that most of times differ from national interests.
During the 11st International Forum of Free Software that took place in Porto Alegre (South region of Brazil), many government institutions signed a document called “The Brazilian government and the open and free Java Virtual Machine” (O governo brasileiro e a máquina virtual Java livre e aberta), on which they present their concern about the future of Free Java – OpenJDK, mainly after the judicial process between Oracle and Google about the patent breaking of Java Virtual Machine use.
CPAI is aware of the strategic vulnerability of depending on a Java Virtual Machine whose managing is outside Brazil. Due to that, it coordinates national efforts about the technological domain of this VM through the community OpenJDK BR. The aim of this community is to discuss, in Portuguese, the use, the tests and the evolution of OpenJDK. If such an action was not taken, the autonomy, the independence and the freedom of choice of every user of this platform would be at risk.
The main objective of this community is to serve as a central point to collect the results of the tests carried out by the government and the society, in order to comprise the errors found in Java libraries that were not incorporated by OpenJDK Project. Afterwards, it can contribute to the correction of these errors and to the evolution of the Virtual Machine through actions of research and development in free software.
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