JCP Gives Java 7, 8 Roadmaps Greenlight Under Protest

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2010-12-07 Print this article Print

title=A Grueling, Controversial Process} 

Eclipse's executive director, Mike Milinkovich, also told eWEEK, "This process has been grueling and highly controversial. We are happy to see that it has reached the conclusion that the Eclipse Foundation has been supporting for some time. Although the vote was not a consensus, it was strongly in favor of moving the Java platform forward. A movement we believe is critical to its future success."

Perhaps the most telling comments come from Credit Suisse, which is more of an enterprise user member of the executive committee with no skin in the game as a vendor of Java technology. Although qualifying that its vote was purely on the technical content of the JSR, Credit Suisse said:

"We strongly demand open standards and an active community around Java as we selected Java SE & EE as primary pillars for our application development (as many others in the industry do). The current battle around licensing term, however, reveals that Java never actually was an open standard. FOU restrictions clearly discriminate open source implementations and prevent competition, and with that, innovation in that space. While Java had a considerable head start, it lost a lot of momentum over the last years. Fragmentation (or a fork) of the language and its platforms are clearly not desired. But today, customers are already facing competing models for developing enterprise applications (e.g., Spring, OSGi, Java EE). The main problem, in our view, is the lack of modularization, clear delineation of Java IPs owned by Oracle and truly open standard extensions, and the ignorance of developments outside of the JCP (even though OSGi has a JCP blessing). The OpenJDK framework is not sufficient for all aspects of the language. Java must be kept interesting for researchers and universities: researchers not only contribute to the standards (e.g., Doug Lea for concurrency or Michael Ernst for type annotations) but also decide on the languages (and paradigms) that are taught at universities -- and this in the end determines the knowledge and mindset we acquire with our software engineers. While we recognize Oracle's intellectual properties around Java, we strongly encourage Oracle to re-think its current position around licensing terms. We strongly support open source as a licensing model for contributions in the JCP."

Added Werner Keil on the modularity issue, "I share discomfort with less talked about, but nevertheless tedious problems like the lack of modularity in SE7 and its effect on dependent JSRs like EE."

Meanwhile, Peierls' expressed frustration that no matter what the outcome of the JCP vote would have been, "one can only conclude that the SE/EE EC is never going to be more than a rubber stamp for Oracle."

The issue of the monetization of Java -- which Java creator Sun Microsystems was criticized as not getting - is central to Oracle. As Peierls said:

"The big boys want big apparent forward motion because it means more stuff to sell, more contracts and control. As a result, we are whipped to a frenzy with messages (both subliminal and explicit) that Java is falling behind, losing mind-share, being lapped by C#, anything to sell the idea that more is desperately needed, when in fact most folks could make do with a lot less."

Indeed, Peierls says the rush to move Java forward could be nothing more than a smokescreen. "I'm coming to believe something heretical, that it actually is not all that crucial for Java to move forward," he said, "at least not to the constituency I felt that I represented on the EC, the tens of thousands of Java developers who don't work for a big company with an Oracle contract."

Meanwhile, in a press release on the vote, Oracle said with the JCP approval, the Java standard will progress through the JCP while the open source reference implementation will be delivered through the OpenJDK project. The plan calls for standardization of these technologies in Java SE 7 within 2011, with Java SE 8 following in 2012. Java SE 7 includes language changes for improved developer productivity, dynamically typed language support, and performance improvements. Java SE 8 includes technologies in support of Java modularization and language enhancements for advanced multicore support.

"Oracle appreciates the efforts of the Executive Committee and the entire Java community in helping to make this important step forward for the Java Platform," said Hasan Rizvi, senior vice president of Oracle Fusion Middleware and Java, in a statement. "Oracle outlined a specific roadmap for Java SE 7 and Java SE 8 at JavaOne in September. We are pleased that the roadmap was ratified by the JCP Executive Committee. We see it as the next step in our delivering significant updates to the Java Platform and Language Specification."

Also in a statement, Adam Messinger, vice president, Oracle Fusion Middleware, said, "The JCP Executive Committee approval of the Java SE 7, Java SE 8, and component JSRs follows Oracle's recent announcements surrounding OpenJDK momentum with IBM and Apple participation. Together, these developments demonstrate a renewed energy behind Java and strengthen its future as the language and platform of choice."

For its part, Oracle listed several facts and figures on the usage of Java, including that more than 1.1 billion desktops run Java, there are 930 million Java Runtime Environment downloads each year, 3 billion mobile phones run Java, 31 times more Java phones ship every year than Apple and Android combined, 100 percent of all Blu-ray players run Java, and 1.4 billion Java Cards are manufactured each year.

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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