Scratch Google Go, Find Open Source

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-11-13 Print this article Print

11. Google Go is open source to the bone

Pike said he believes that part of the advantage of Go being totally open source is the community can help generate an ecosystem. "If the community gets excited and starts building up the ecosystem it will grow and thrive on its own," he said. Regarding the Go language Website, Pike noted that it is not Google-branded. "It's a different Website," he said. "We're happy it's from Google and we're going to use it internally for a lot of our stuff, we hope. But it really is an open-source project and we want the community to help us make something happen."

Also, in a nod to the openness of the Go language and the might of the Eclipse open-source development platform, Pike said, "I would love to see Eclipse support Go. We've talked about that for probably a year now, but we haven't gotten anyone to do the work. It's a fair bit of effort to make a proper plug-in for Eclipse."

In response, Ian Skerrett, director of marketing at the Eclipse Foundation, told eWEEK: "I think it would be great to see a Go plug-in for Eclipse. Eclipse has support for lots of languages, including some of the 'newer' ones like Scala, Groovy [and] Ruby, so adding Go would make sense. It will really depend on people in the Go community seeing the need and creating the plug-in." 

12. Next steps for Google Go

Regarding what the Go team plans to do in the near term, Pike said:

"We've got a few language features that we've been batting around for awhile that we'd like to continue to bat around and see if we can make them fit-things like ... [for example,] union types is something that we think we have a good handle on that we haven't had time to implement. The run-time needs a fair bit of development. The garbage collector works just fine but it's not robust or efficient enough to be a practical solution for a large-scale server. We're very conscious of that. But there's some very clever work at IBM that's been published that we think we can use to guide a much better garbage collector. I think we can solve that problem well. And once we do we'll have achieved something really nice, which is a native compiled language with garbage collection that works well in a systems environment.

"Java suffered quite a bit from that and we're very aware of the issues that garbage collection and systems programming have. You tend to worry about pauses where the garbage collector is running. We have to make sure we don't introduce those. Those are the big things that we're thinking about. But we also need a lot of tools. We need a debugger, and then second-order things like IDEs and ports to Windows and other operating systems." 

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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