The Top 7 Java Stories of 2010
eWEEK takes a look at seven of the biggest stories to impact or raise the interest of the Java community in 2010 - starting with Oracle acquiring Sun.1. Oracle completes its acquisition of Sun Microsystems Oracle announced the completion of its $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun on January 27, 2010. The move made Oracle a hardware vendor, adding to the rich software heritage the company carries. In a five-hour conference with press and analysts, Oracle officials set down the road map for how they planned to integrate Sun's assets into the Oracle fold - saying they wanted to make Oracle "like the IBM of the '60s." Meanwhile, Thomas Kurian, executive vice president of Oracle Product Development, singled out Java as the "crown jewel" of the software assets Oracle garnered in its acquisition of Sun.
That move set into motion a series of events that would change the Java landscape. With Java firmly in its paws, Oracle set out to "monetize" Java - to use former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz's favorite term - like it had never been monetized before. And if anybody knows how to make money on software, Oracle does. As the year would unfold, Oracle began to show its colors and mark its territory with Java by filing lawsuits and taking a heavy-handed, albeit not unfamiliar, stance with the Java Community Process (JCP).
While putting its might behind OpenJDK, IBM also withdrew its support for the Apache Software Foundation's Harmony project to deliver an open-source implementation of Java. That move left Apache and Harmony without a powerful ally in its continuing struggle with the JCP over a technology compatibility kit (TCK) for Harmony. Meanwhile, in November, Oracle and Apple announced the OpenJDK project for Mac OS X. The news came as welcome relief to developers who were concerned over Apple's recent statement about deprecating Java. Yet, with the new project, Apple will contribute most of the key components, tools and technology required for a Java SE 7 implementation on Mac OS X, including a 32-bit and 64-bit HotSpot-based Java virtual machine, class libraries, a networking stack and the foundation for a new graphical client. OpenJDK will make Apple's Java technology available to open-source developers so they can access and contribute to the effort. Apple also said that Java SE 6 will continue to be available from Apple for Mac OS X Snow Leopard and the upcoming release of Mac OS X Lion. Java SE 7 and future versions of Java for Mac OS X will be available from Oracle. 6. The JCP approves the roadmaps for Java 7 and Java 8 In December, the Executive Committee (EC) of the Java Community Process (JCP) voted to approve the Java Specification Requests (JSRs) for Java 7 (JSR 336) and Java 8 (JSR 337), based on the technical content of the JSRs. The vote paves the way for Java 7 and Java 8 to be standardized over the next two years. However, based on many of the comments, much of the underlying sentiment amounted to a vote of "no confidence" in the JCP and, by extension, Oracle itself. The votes for both JSRs were 12 for and 3 against, with Apache, Google and individual member Tim Peierls voting against the specifications. The vote further alienated Apache. Oracle said the vote proved that the industry is ready to move Java forward. Oracle said that, 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 during 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. 7. Apache quits the JCP In December, the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) quit the JCP executive committee (EC) as it said it would if certain restrictions were not lifted. As a result of the JCP executive committee vote approving the roadmaps for Java SE 7 and Java SE 8, Apache announced its resignation from the JCP EC. In a statement, ASF said: "Our representative has informed the JCP's Program Management Office of our resignation, effective immediately. As such, the ASF is removing all official representatives from any and all JSRs. In addition, we will refuse any renewal of our JCP membership and, of course, our EC position." The battle with Sun and later (via acquisition) with Oracle had gone on for years; it was time to put up or shut up. When IBM announced that it was backing OpenJDK, any prospect that Apache might receive a TCK for Harmony was scotched. And not only did Apache quit, but so did Tim Peierls and Doug Lea, two former individual members of the JCP - both claiming that the JCP vote was meaningless and that Oracle was going to do whatever it wanted. In a blog post, Peierls said he was disappointed in "Oracle's expressed intent to proceed with the SE7/8 JSRs whatever the outcome of the vote, and one can only conclude that the SE/EE EC is never going to be more than a rubber stamp for Oracle. (The belligerent tone with which this message was delivered does not come across in the public minutes, but it was loud and clear over my phone connection.)"