From the Free Software Foundation site.
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) welcomed the public commitment from Sun Microsystems to distribute its proprietary Java platform under the GNU General Public License (GPL) — the world’s most widely used free software license.
FSF president and founder Richard Stallman said, “I think Sun has contributed more than any other company to the free software community in the form of software. It shows leadership. It’s an example I hope others will follow.”
Sun accompanied its announcement with the immediate release of code under terms of the GPL for several Java components, and has committed to releasing the remainder in the near future.
With this move, Sun has made a valuable contribution to the free software community. In 2004, Stallman warned, “Your program, though in itself free, may be restricted by non-free software that it depends on. Since the problem is most prominent today for Java programs, we call it the Java Trap.” To escape the trap, the FSF made the GNU Classpath team’s development of a free Java implementation a priority project.
Now, Sun has begun disarming the “Java Trap”, turning it from a pitfall into a valuable foundation for future free software development.