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(Not So) Stupid Questions 12: What's in a Name

August 10, 2006


(Not So) Stupid Questions

What's in a Name?





Editor's note: Sometimes the most interesting discussions begin when someone says, "This may be a stupid question, but ...". If the person asking the question has taken the time to think about the problem before asking, the question is often not stupid at all. The uncertainty points out an ambiguity in the specs, holes in the docs, or a search for how more experienced programmers may address a particular problem. From time to time, we will print one of the "(Not So) Stupid Questions" we receive and invite our readers to answer the question in the feedback section.

Remember that new people are joining the Java community all the time and may be looking for help from those with more experience. Also, those who began with Java as their first language can benefit from those coming to the community with experience in other languages. As always, answer the questions with kindness. You are also welcome to submit your questions to

This may be a stupid question, but... "Can I use the 'Java' name in an open-source project?"

First thoughts:

I'm beginning work on an open-source project using the Java programming
language. I'm looking for information on use of the "Java" name. I'd
like to include the word "Java" or the letter "J" in my project name to indicate to other developers that this project is based on the Java
programming language.

What are the restrictions on using the word "Java" in third-party
software, Web site domain names, and so on?

For example, can I write an open-source toaster framework and call it
"JavaToast"? Can I then go out and set up a Web site at www.JavaToast.com? Can I call my development house JavaToast Inc.?

So, to put it all in a nutshell:

Where and how can I use the "Java" name?

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