Episode 91

Brazil JavaMan Souza on Open Source and the history of Java


September 17th, 2021

38 mins 42 secs

Your Hosts
Special Guest

About this Episode


Bruno Souza


Richard Littauer | Justin Dorfman

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain! The podcast where we talk about sustaining open source for the long haul. If you’re looking to learn more about Java, this is the episode you really need to listen to. Today, our guest is Bruno Souza, a Brazillian Java programmer and a member of the OSI. Bruno is the Founder of SouJava, a Brazillian Java User Group which became the world’s largest, he was involved with some of the earliest JVM’s, and has been very influential not only in Brazil, but in the Java open source works at large. Bruno goes in depth on how he got involved in open source, getting involved in the OSI, and in Java. We also learn more about what Kotlin means for the community, how OpenJDK was extremely important for Java, and how Oracle really embraced the idea of OpenJDK. You will soon understand why Bruno is known as the “Brazilian JavaMan.” Go ahead and download this episode now to find out more!

[00:01:44] Bruno explains how he got involved in open source and how long he’s been a developer.

[00:03:46] We learn how Bruno got involved in the OSI early on and how he got involved in Java.

[00:07:12] Justin asks Bruno how he felt during the legal proceedings on Oracle v. Google.

[00:12:35] Richard wonders how the Brazilian government got in touch with Bruno and what role has Brazil played in open source. Bruno mentions a manifesto that his Java group wrote along with other user groups in Brazil, explaining how they, as developers, saw open source and standards.

[00:21:51] Justin asks Bruno to talk about what Kotlin means for the community and what other projects took advantage of the OpenJDK contribution.

[00:28:41] Richard asks who is paying the current Java maintainers and how do we make sure that companies are responsible in doing that.

[00:35:14] Find out where you can find Bruno on the internet.


[00:05:15] “So, for me that discussion really opened my eyes on how important it was for a developer to have access to the source code of the things they are doing.”

[00:06:19] “The adoption of Java was important because they were looking for freedom because they wanted to be free from the vendors.”

[00:06:47] “And so for me, when I started discussing open source in 2000, my whole objective was to discuss those two freedoms together, the freedom to choose different vendors and the freedom to do what you want with the software you’re using.”

[00:09:01] “And so for me, it was more like Google was relying and benefitting from the Java tools, from all the knowledge on Java, for all the developers that knew Java.”

[00:09:12] “But at the same time, they did not commit to the community.”

[00:09:25] “And then when Oracle took over and they made the lawsuit, right, the problem with the lawsuit was, in terms of copywriting, it was damaging, I think. The way the lawsuit was done was damaging for developers, for software in fact.”

[00:11:00] “Sometimes it’s like you’re swimming side by side with whales. The whale doesn’t even know you’re there, doesn’t care that you’re there. If the whale decides to move in another direction, you’re dead.”

[00:16:20] “The interesting thing is that the Brazilian open source community at that time was mostly comprised of people using open source, so Linux, and Open Office, so basically people suing tools. And the Java community in Brazil was by far the strongest development community that was developing for Linux using Java. So then basically, we are bringing in the developer discussion.”

[00:16:46] “So, for us, the whole point to us, you know, it’s not only about deciding to use open source, it’s about to develop basing your code on the standards and open source software.”

[00:17:19] “You can buy software from someone, you can download software from someone, but the big effort that you actually do is to write your own software.”

[00:23:15] “And, I think this was very important because Oracle did do amazingly with Java in open source because Oracle really embraced the whole idea of OpenJDK.”

[00:26:15] “I think that having Java open source allows you to base other languages on top of the Java VM.”

[00:26:55] “But Java is the runtime in all history, the runtime that will have received more investments from companies.”

[00:27:30] “Honestly for me as a developer, I see languages as tools.”

[00:29:24] “So we still have to battle that with the developer.”

[00:29:27] “I mean look, the biggest beneficiary of open source is the software developer.”

[00:29:33] “You know you can talk about companies can benefit, you can talk users can benefit, there’s lots of benefits around open source.”

[00:30:01] “So, I think the biggest thing that we can do is actually show to companies how beneficial it is for them.”

[00:31:15] “But, the more Twitter can get that stuff and put on the VM the less difference there is in between the open source version and what Twitter does, the less differences there are, the more Twitter can benefit from the advancements of the Java VM.”

[00:32:56] “Reality, if you want to make sustainable open source, what you have to do is that we have to show the companies how valuable it is that code they have in their hands.”

[00:33:14] “They’re not doing the work on the open source code.”

[00:33:55] “You know it’s like companies that let their open source software be in this precarious situation they are throwing money down the drain.”

[00:34:05] “They’re really ignoring the huge value they have in their hands and if that value disappears, they are going to pay for it… heavily!”

[00:35:39] “Uncle Bob says that every five years we double the number of developers, so every five years half of the developers never heard of any of that.”

[00:38:02] “I think open source in general needs love, needs more people giving and less people taking.”


  • [00:36:38] Justin’s spotlight is Coffeezilla on YouTube.
  • [00:36:55] Richard’s spotlight is a book called, The Great Book of Amber by Roger Zelazny.
  • [00:37:26] Bruno’s spotlight is a book called, Give and Take by Adam Grant.



Support Sustain