The Java* track at FOSDEM 2011 started off on the right foot by dealing with the state of the OpenJDK head on – both politically and technically – with a talk from Oracle's Mark Reinhold. There were quite a few speakers at Java DevJam and lots of Java tech over the two days, but this talk was needed to start to clear the air, …
Quoth the article, "Oracle has not had pleasant press on its "soft skills" recently"
Soft skills??This makes it sounds as if Oracle's sin is bad PR. In reality Oracle has been destructive to Java (attacking the use of Java by Android) and hostile to the Open Source community - notice the Apache story that you yourself mention.
This is not down to diplomacy. This is down to destructive behaviour by Oracle. Oracle are acting like a sociopath, which all corporations are, of course, only Oracle much more so.
Oracle and Java
It seems that article writer Damon Hart-Davis is more concerned about getting latest Java VM for his personal Mac that in-depth reporting on the status of Oracle allowing certification of the Apache Harmony, and pre-maturely concludes that Oracle will "do the right thing" by RedHat, Azul, Apache and everyone else, even while the company closes off prior business arrangements.
How naive and stupid can a tech writer be, when he has witnessed the calamitous moves by Oracle in several areas of technology management, including reneging on official declarations of technology agreements.
These technology journals need to get better qualified, more sensible and intelligent reporters.
I am mostly speechless. Your superficial discussion of what's going on in the JAVA world is not within normal limits expected of The Reg.
Bluntly it seems your attitude is as long as I can have it on my Mac all is forgiven. This is the attitude of an apple fan-boy not an IT reporter.
I am fairly certain JAVA is doomed. Oracle will hold the IT world in FUD for as long as it's lawyers are able. But eventually the copyright suits work themselves out. This will likely take 2 years. Once this is done we can move forward with a (hopefully) Apache/Google backed language with some as yet to be determined name. This language should be source compatible with Java 1.6 and ideally should get an ISO sign off.
Then Oracle can take their ball and go home. Or straight to hell. That works too.
Agree with first two posters...
Oracle made its position very clear, bottom line, screw the rest. As one poster mentioned psychopathic behavior. Oracle needs to be removed completely from the OpenJDK to give Java some good news. At present I would think there would be a large move away from Java on the basis of Oracle's behaviour...
Go on Google - drop Java and throw your support, and money, behind D. A much more advanced language that we can all use safely, and no lawsuits.
Java in the real world
Having been to FOSDEM, at some of the same Java talks as Damon, I can more or less confirm his account of things. To understand it, you have to remember that the world is very rarely black and white, as the Daily-Mail-esque headlines of some of the tech press would want you to think, but is generally shades of grey.
Yes the atmosphere at FOSDEM was a bit tense but most attendees were grown up and were ready to hear what Oracle had to say before pillorying them. And Oracle did the right thing in addressing the problems head on and then concentrating on the technical aspect of things. So the impression I got is that the technical people at Oracle are trying to do the right thing for the Java language and the community (which is not the same thing) while having to navigate carefully around the controversy generated by the accountants and lawyers.
Do I agree with the way Oracle as a corporation has managed Java since acquiring it? No but I understand the situation their techies are in, having been in similar situations myself where what is good from an accountant's point of view is anathema from a technical point of view.
Do I agree with Damon that Oracle understand they have been clumsy and can't afford to drop the ball on Java any further? Yes, you just have to look at their Fusion middleware portfolio: if they fuck up Java, they fuck up a large revenue stream. And this is why I am reasonably optimistic about Java and why I think Oracle will try to do the right thing in the end: they can't afford not to.
The point Damon is trying to make about Java on his Mac is simply that from JDK 7 onwards, the Mac OS-X implementation will be delivered by Oracle rather than Apple and should follow shortly after the Windows, Linux and Solaris implementations.
Last but not least, the areas where Java could be easily replaced by another language are mobile and desktop (JME, JSE), which is a tiny fraction of the install base and not where Oracle traditionally makes money. Java EE is a completely different kettle of fish, not because of the language but because of the API and platform that goes with it and this is also where Oracle makes money. In order to support their business, they need the JEE platform to keep being successful and in order to do that they need JSE and Java as a language to keep being successful. And to be honest, every single company I've dealt with recently that has a significant investment in JEE has no intention of reducing it, rather the opposite.
Real World Java
Originally, J2EE was a lousy API and was rightly losing ground to the open source projects, Spring and Hibernate. JEE therefore has ended up copying those open source "community" projects for the greater good. Remind me again how the Community is not necessarily good for Java? Why the apparent disdain towards the "community", who, after all, are comprised of well meaning, talented techies, many of whome are professionals, techies whom you seem to admire, if they work for Oracle that is...
So, Oracle techies want the right thing but they are frustrated by the Oracle lawyers and accountants - you're admitting that this is a huge problem. And that means Oracle is a problem. Oracle are responsible for this bad behaviour. That their techies want the right thing is not the point. Actions of Oracle matter, not words of their well-meaning engineers.
You may be right, Oracle may be good for Java. However so far their actions have been hostile, not just to Java communities but to all the other open source communities they became involved with when they bought Sun. Back to Oracle, why are Oracle denying the reasonable requests of Apache? Wiithout Apache, Java would not have been the success it is, Apache are important to Java. Let's hope for a swift redemption, but I'm not very optimistic, knowing Oracle. If Oracle turn java into a closed, patent-time bomb, monstrosity like .NET, then even if Java remains commercially successful, then Java is ruined. The community will abandon it, and make something better, to replace it.
Now *that* could be a good thing.... Java is dinosaurs (and .Net is worse, a closed clone of the dinosaur, with heaps of cruft on top).
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