Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Open JDK has a lot to answer for

by Richard Vowles

I have never been so disgusted with a podcast as when listening to the excuses coming from Alex and Joe in Episode 279 of the Java Posse Podcast. If there was ever a clear message from Sun that the value of Java code written and maintained in the future is less than the value of Java code today, this was it.

Alex and Joe seem to believe that since the Open JDK now exists, Sun can sit back and pick and choose from implementations that other people do instead of investing in its flagship product (the one its stock ticker is named after, how ironic). Not only this, but they seem to believe that they can do so and be completely fickle about it. Dick's comment about the JCP I think is superfluous, there is no JCP process for JDK 7 so they are putting it in what they will.

Whether Alex/Joe's opinion are a reflection of Sun's official policy I don't know, but I hope that on purchase Oracle dump this attitude (and anyone who holds it) and puts new life into the language. This complacency is simply not acceptable, you innovate or you become irrelevant. I know that the team have to solve modularity in JDK 7 and that it is a big problem to solve, but the messages that Alex and Joe are sending are completely wrong and they deserve a severe caning from PR. The implication is that while Sun spends its resources on JavaFX, its core language, Java languishes. Borland did this with Delphi and JBuilder and look where it got them! (Borland is now owned by a COBOL company, MicroFocus, Delphi is now owned by a database company, Embarcadero - oooooh now *that* is spooky).

IMHO Scala is clearly an academic dumping ground of ideas and the static camp are using it because they have nothing else to express their needs in. And please don't mention JavaFX. Sun clearly needs new and strong leadership in this team to bring Java forward.

After 24 hours I am no longer angry, just extremely disappointed that this situation has been allowed to develop. If ever there was a reason to fork the open jdk, this is it. Larry, its up to you now.

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