back to article Everyone but Oracle demands Java independence

Last week, at its mega OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, Oracle laid out its roadmap for the future of Java. But there's a catch: Oracle's plan stands little chance of succeeding. Earlier this month, the Java Community Process (JCP) – the only body with the power to ratify and approve changes to Java – passed a resolution …


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  1. rahul


    ... "abstained from voting". ..."Declined to comment".

    Sometimes you don't need to run the whole mile to know what's at the end of it.

  2. John Sanders

    Dr: Java is not dead yet

    Dr: But it's condition is deteriorating rapidly...

    Re: What can be done dr?

    Dr: I'm afraid we'll have to fork...

    Re: Oh no! what are you saying Dr.?

    Dr: Do not worry FOSS forks after some rehabilitation can have a plentiful corporate life... or not.

    (Note I know it is not that 'simple', or is it?)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think the article is a bit misleading as to the power of the JCP

    I believe Oracle owns the Java brand and are free to do with it as they wish. If the JCP is going to impede progress as they have of late then Oracle could just go ahead and release their Java APIs without the JCPs blessing and still call it Java.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Dalvik is not a VM

    "Google's Android uses a subset of the ASF's Project Harmony, a Java SE implementation, in its own incarnation of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) known as Dalvik."

    Come on guys, this is really not good enough.

    Dalvik is a byte-code interpreter but it is not a Java Virtual Machine.

    Apps are written using JAVA then translated into a form that Dalvik can run. The process is similar but there is a distinct practical difference.

    Google have been very careful to distance themselves from any suspicion that Dalvik is indeed a JVM otherwise they might have got into hot water over that aspect in addition to the level of hot water they currently find themselves in. Indeed they thought that this distinction would protect them from predatory action from Oracle, a presumption with they seem to be correct in since Oracle is pursuing Google over patents that users of "proper" Java Vms are protected against because of the Java licensing rather than anything directly related to JAVA.

    Please stop calling Dalvik a JAVA VM, it confuses things.

  5. Terry H

    Another fork in the road[map]

    Ever since Oracle bought Sun I have been wondering how this would play out. Without too many references to fascists and their happy go lucky attitude when compared to Larry's evil empire, I couldn't see how any of Sun's software could survive in this environment.

    My, admittedly modest, interpretation is that:

    Open Solaris is basically dead but may be forked if enough people care about setting up yet another *nix OS. But the care and feeding of an operating system is a bit harder than your average OSS project.

    Surprisingly, to me, Open Office seems to be in fine shape and after the necessary pissing contest [ah make that paperwork] it will continue at least as well as before.

    Java was always the biggest issue. Unquestionably Oracle bought Sun to get their hands on it. The only possible future for Java has always been to fork the language itself.

    When I read in The Reg that oracle had bought Sun I knew instantly that Java would be forked or it would die. It's death would be a huge loss to the entire industry as there really isn't another enterprise grade language of this caliber around. There are many toys, such as Ruby and PHP, but you cannot build enterprise grade software with them. If you disagree, please, PLEASE, stay in school and don't try to build enterprise grade software until you know what that means.

    So, there really are only three options.

    1) Oracle releases Java as the JCP wants. This is vanishingly improbable to the point of completely discountable. Oracle didn't become the most hated corporation since Computer Associates because they work and play so incredibly well with others.

    2) The JCP forks the source code and tells Oracle to Sod Off. This is my most likely and preferred solution. It will need a name. maybe Cafe.

    3) Everyone abandons Java. Sadly the closest thing to a replacement is probably C++. But it is a very poor replacement indeed - welcome to 1990.

    Anyhow, it says I'm the first post, let's see how many were actually in queue ahead of me.


    1. druck Silver badge

      Re: Another fork in the road[map]

      Terry H wrote: "3) Everyone abandons Java. Sadly the closest thing to a replacement is probably C++. But it is a very poor replacement indeed - welcome to 1990."

      There's always C# on mono.

      I'll get my coat...

    2. Ben Hanson 1

      Welcome to 1990

      Wow, when I started University in 1990 we were using DOS on green screen monitors and programming in Pascal! We also did 6809 assembly on dedicated consoles. When I learned Borland C++ (for Windows no less) in 1993 I don't remember any template support and there was certainly no STL. If you wanted string support it was char * all the way! C++ really was C beefed up with classes in those days...

      So even in 1998 VC++ 5 had crap STL support and we had to wait for VC++6 (2000?) for anything like decent template support. Nowadays, VC++ 6 is seen like the albatross around a C++ programmers neck, much like IE6 is viewed by web developers. VC++ 2010 doesn't support anything like all of C++0x yet... and hey presto, that brings us up to date.

      Welcome to 1990? Do me a favour...

    3. Rob Dobs

      Can a brother get a witness?

      Do any Java developers want to chime in on actual Java contract wording here?

      Is forking Java even an option? If so option #2 is a no-brainer, but I don't think its an option.

      My understanding is that it was free for everyone to use, and only Sun (oracle) was allowed to have final say on changes.

      If oracle denies every change that helps others, and only allows changes that help the Oracle/Solaris stack, I think they can legally get away with it until anti-trust kicks in.

      They could effectively freeze the code if they wanted to.

      I forgot about open Solaris (along with everyone else)

      It's already disbanded and pretty much dead. Without Sun support the project is pretty much dead.

      I predict that it will not be back in that form, but could come back another way.

      For the hacker, programmer community, Linux and BSD (open, free, etc) offer I think a more developed platform now. People from Open Solaris may disagree and have their points, but from a going forward viewpoint, anyone who wanted to make a program like a word processor, or game or monitoring tool, etc would find a more stable platform and community on one of the other open source OS platforms.

      The difference would be any larger company (Cisco, Google, IBM, Intel) that wanted to take the time to develop their own OS, it would be much easier to create a GUI that runs on top, and bolt it onto an already stable and secure platform (this is what apple did)

      If Open Solaris is really open (more like OpenBSD, and not like Linux) then I could see Open Solaris being attractive to these larger companies....christ there are 3 decades of OS development sitting there for the taking!!! And LInux is not well protected from copying. If you modify the code they can get you with the GPL, but the Linux foundation, unlike MS and Oracle, doesn't patent the look and feel, business processes etc that the software and their many tools use, so in that sense they are easy to copy from.

  6. toughluck

    He does make a lot of sense

    The anti-Oracle tone I see all over the press would be ridiculous if it wasn't so damaging to Oracle. Sun was going down and nobody seemed to care what would happen to the IP if it went down completely. IBM certainly didn't care, but Oracle did. They bought out Sun with cold, hard-earned cash, and it was obvious then and is as obvious now they want to extract as much value out of Sun as possible.

    First such obvious negative publicity was over OpenSolaris's demise. That was fair game, though, especially as it appears OpenSolaris did not live up to its potential and most code donations were from within Sun, not from outside developers, save for small pieces.

    Then, recently, it's about OpenOffice -- true, at least that was called out by Sun, but it still appears to have been done haphazardly and certainly without proper funding, it seems. I doubt that without corporate backing (especially monetary), LOo will get anywhere. They'll probably try to fly back under Oracle's wing before 2011 is over. I may be wrong, it depends on how much they will want to drive the point, but I'm fairly sure there will be a lot of stagnation in development in the meantime.

    And now about Java -- what's wrong with the roadmap that Oracle laid out? Nothing, apparently, apart from the fact that Oracle was the one that laid it out and Oracle is against Google, which automatically makes Oracle evil and all their decisions null and void?

    Is it really bad that Oracle tries to recover the money they spent on Sun?

    1. Rob Dobs

      Wrong about people and companies carring about Sun

      IBM did care, they were willing to pay Billions for them. Oracle was just willing to pay more.

      IBM had serious offers and discussions with Sun previous to the Oracle buy out if you recall...

      Don't kid yourself that Sun was in "trouble" they were still spending almost a Billion (that's with a "B") on RESEARCH and DEVELOPMENT alone when they were bought out. They could have changed that and become profitable many points along the way if they chose to. Sun KNEW they owned good intellectual property and that is why Oracle paid so much for them.

      McPonyTail and crew were TERRIBLE managers, and they got sick of board meetings and wanted to cash out quick, to get back into the whole start-up/create part of the business (or just retire and spend). They screwed all the Sun investors who believed in that large pile of IP they had developed.

      This ownership of Java is exactly what everyone was worried about when Oracle first made the offer. Open Office and MySQL are both very different from JAVA. Open Office (now LibreOffice) and MYSQL were already open sourced by Sun, you can't put that genie back in the bottle.

      The "open Office" trademark belongs to Sun(Oracle), but not the code, hence the recent name change. With Java its different. Java belongs to Sun (Oracle) in totality. Sure its been free to use for everyone, and I don't think (not sure) that Oracle has the right to say turn off your software, shut down that device "no More JAVA". What is out there is out there.

      However the do have TOTAL control over Java development and future. The JCP or JAVA board, serves at Oracle's will, they cannot take their ball and go play elsewhere like LibreOffice did, the ball (Java) belongs to Oracle.

      Because the purchased Sun, Oracle now legally controls Java. However, if they do behave in ANY kind of anti-competitive way, their competitors have the right to petition their state and federal government to conduct anti-trust investigations, and if needed ultimately divest Java from Oracle if it turns out to be BETTER FOR THE COMMON GOOD.

      Also the 40,000 developers have every right to migrate to alternate software platform to do their programming on, they are the real power behind Java, and if Oracle pisses them off the will own Java like Sony owned Betamax - all theirs and nobody else cares. Ruby on rails, or other really open source software platforms should benefit if Oracle keeps its head up it arse.

      Oracle has every right to make profits off its investments. In the US they will even allow Eminent Domain to take peoples homes from them, in the case of a business being able to profit better from the land you. This was decided in the supreme court (4-5 mind you) recently, and has been used to drive people out their homes in waterfront city areas, so that developers can come in and make big malls etc. The reasoning behind this, is they say the benefit to the public out-weighs the rights of the individual. (going to far in this case I think, but it the same thought process. in 76 the supreme court rules that sony's betamax (and other similar devices) were Legal, because the citizens fair use rights of being able to copy and share media OUTWEIGHED the property rights of the movie holders (MPAA) trying to ban the devices.

      So very much under the same principal the public air waves, and eminent domain are used, surely if necessary the government can decide that another resource, say Java, or the Google index, is MORE VALUABLE AS A PUBLIC ASSET, that it currently is being privately held.


        Oracle doesn't own Java...

        ...Oracle owns the Java trademark, quite a difference.

  7. Rogerborg

    Hos voting not to get smacked upside the head

    Why you bitches gots to make me mad? You know I don't wanna slap you 'round, but now I gots to remind you who be tha pimp daddy.

  8. dave 81

    When will Oracle realise,

    that no-one likes them? First OpenOffice, now Java are trying to get away.

    But then I suppose everyone knows a complete Id10t who is unaware of his status. Even when told to his face. Gordon Brown for example...

  9. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Get the popcorn..

    On one side: a company which doesn't know open standards from a hole in the wall, somehow claiming support when there is none (so why? Feeling in a weak position?). On the other side, people that want to progress, and entertainingly have called Oracle on its words (good move).

    This is going to take a while, but I think the concept will get a different name and go open. Not because the backers are so interested in open, but because it's most sane way forward with everyone winning. Except Oracle. Which may prove entertaining in itself.

    Better stock up on popcorn..

  10. MinionZero

    After reading this article I feel compelled to say...

    Oracle: You don't know how hard I found it, signing the order to terminate your project.

    Programmers: I'm surprised that you had the courage to take the responsibility yourself.

    Oracle: Programmer's, before your execution, you will join me at a ceremony that will make this battle marketing plan fully operational. No star system will dare oppose the CEO now.

    Programmers: The more you tighten your grip, Oracle, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.

    (A scene from, Java - A New Hope)

  11. Metz

    Will we get a new java?

    ...maybe called 'LibreCafe'.... ?

  12. techulture



  13. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Erm.... a little realism, please?

    OK, so I do enjoy bashing the old Sun, but to be honest, they were definately not in the landshark league of Larry's Oracle. If anything, Sun bumbled along in their OSS community relationship and often seemed to get themselves boxed into corners by smarter operators. So, for Sun to have reached the point where they had to threaten dissolution of the JCP speaks volumes of the hard job the whole Java community has become. Just look at that list of JCP members - IBM, RedHat, Intel - not exactly a list of Sun's biggest fans, and certainly not those too interested in making life easy for Larry either! I suspect whereas the old Sun really did threaten dissolution as a last recourse, Larry will go straight to the endgame very quickly and with few qualms - he knows there are few viable alternatives that can be quickly ramped up to match the popularity of Java, so as long as he delivers on the roadmap he'll probably keep the majority of users happy.

  14. asdf

    so much for a happy middle ground

    Sun: decent engineering with clueless management who never understood the concept of a business model

    Oracle: engineers so far down in corporate structure as to be invisible with bastard management that monetizes bug fixes.

    Sigh this purchase getting better for the public interest by the day. I guess ole Larry believes the Tragedy of the Commons applies to digital world as well and he is hell bent on proving it.

  15. Nat Pryce

    What matters is the JVM. Java the language is stagnant, maybe dead

    "there really isn't another enterprise grade language of this caliber around"

    There are plenty of much better languages but no runtime with the same combination of performance, management support and a wide variety of libraries.

    There may not be a next big JVM language. Scala and Clojure are taking over from Java in some organisations. Java will continue to limp along, becoming more and more unwieldy as it shoehorns language features onto an already awkward base. JRuby. Groovy and other languages will have their niches.

    For enterprise software, the language to pick will be the one with best tool support that lets programmers evolve their systems rapidly. And which language that will be basically comes down to JetBrains, unless the Eclipse community can pull something surprising out of their hat. Considering they still haven't got Svn support into the main distribution, I won't hold my breath.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Scala FTW

    Scala is rapidly gaining traction in my corner of academic HPC (as an applications language, that is, not as a numerical computation language, where C/C++ and Fortran still rule the roost).

    We love the JVM. Java, OTOH, is really starting to show its age.

  17. Bob 18

    C++, REALLY?

    I did Java for 10 years. Now I do C++, which I did before I started with Java too.

    C++ is an amazing language, that gives you incredible control over what happens. But it's also a lot less productive to develop in. It seems like a necessary evil to get the fastest system posible.

    I agree, there is nothing really much like Java (the ecosystem) out there.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    @Terry H

    ") Everyone abandons Java. Sadly the closest thing to a replacement is probably C++. But it is a very poor replacement indeed - welcome to 1990."

    Sounds to me like you've never used C++. You also might want to go away and ponder what the bulk of the operating system you used to write your post from is written in. Whether its Windows, Linux or OS/X it'll mostly written in C/C++.

    C++ old hat? I don't think so. At least not for real programming - ie low level stuff, simulations, games programming and other app programming where performance (please don't anyone bother lecturing me about JIT) and small memory footprints actually matter.

  19. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Time to wake up and smell the coffee

    JCP is to Oracle what 'public consultation' is to local authorities; a sop to keep the populace happy, its views to be accepted when they fit with the roadmap, to be ignored when they don't, it gives an illusion of independent control but that's all it does.

    Oracle owns and controls Java for good or bad. Can it be forked to have a full and free life outside of Oracle's Control ? Seemingly not if Dalvik is anything to judge by. So it's put-up and shut-up and live by Oracle's decree or move to something else.

    I don't particularly like Java - it failed to live up to hopes and the fragmentation and complexity of editions and frameworks is horrendous and confusing - but I'd still prefer it over C++. Sure, C++ is what's at the heart of many applications, but that doesn't mean it's the best there is nor most appropriate across the whole programming spectrum.

  20. Goat Jam

    This Whole Oracle Fiasco

    is going to provide us with endless entertainment me thinks. The sheer amount of belligerence towards the open source community coming from Oracle is staggering, perhaps even dwarfing that of Microsoft during the late nineties!

    It's a battle that Oracle can't win in the long run. The very best they can hope for is the destruction of their own brands related to the open source products that they purchased. The projects of course will all "fork off" and live on and one day the old timers will be kicking back and reminiscing, saying "I wonder what happened to that office suite we had in the old days before LibreOffice, what was it called? Oh that's right, it was something like 'Open Office', yes, that's it. I remember it took ages to load up documents from that other office product we had then too . . . . . . "

  21. william.wong

    .... prepare to learn something other than Java ...

    Every decade a new language will donate the market with with the best ideas appear in that decade. It does not mean who create old languages are not smart enough. It is just because the old language does have too many burden to slow down itself to take new ideas...

    ...History is repeating itself...

    With what Oracle recently acts on JAVA, I sense the trend again... It is not because JAVA is not good, but just the argument among the community will use up all energy for improving it further. Just like

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