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Java Open Source Oracle

Java's Backup Plan If Oracle Fumbles 276

Posted by timothy
from the enough-java-should-keep-you-awake dept.
GMGruman writes "In an InfoWorld blog, Paul Krill suggests that those concerned that Java might get lost in Oracle's tangle of acquired technologies should relax a little: Java's future isn't wholly in Oracle's hands, so if Oracle screws up or lets Java languish, the popular language has other forces to move it forward nonetheless."
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Java's Backup Plan If Oracle Fumbles

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  • What about Google? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2010 @08:34AM (#32791422)

    The article fails to mention Google, certainly one of the big players and evidently a big supporter of Java. There's GWT, there's Android, they really push hot stuff onto the dusted platform.

    IBM was also not mentioned, another huge company that really pushes Java forward - although in a direction I personally don't like.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2010 @08:46AM (#32791452)

    The tools you're referring certainly didn't have production costs of millions of dollars. They're not very complex and a bit crappy. I do assume they have complex in-house JEE systems which might well be worth that amount though.

    But Oracle cannot _kill_ Java, Java is open source. I'm pretty sure Google or IBM would gladly take over as the Java figurehead.

  • by drewhk (1744562) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @08:47AM (#32791454)

    I think checked exceptions are largely misunderstood. When people complain about them, they unknowingly, but almost always complain about the try..catch construct -- it is very wordy, annoying, inflexible and is almost impossible to factor out common idioms.

  • by Eskarel (565631) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @08:56AM (#32791478)

    Oracle will not let Java languish, they need Java to exist because it's part of their ecosystem now whether they wanted it or not. It's a lot easier to connect to an Oracle database using Java than it is with .NET, and Oracle really doesn't want .NET to win since MS SQL is now a viable alternative(and substantially cheaper) than Oracle for all but the largest of data sets.

    The issues for Java are either Oracle getting into a fight with IBM and resulting in a fork of Java or distrust of Oracle pushing a critical mass of developers away from Java and onto .NET. As to the first, Oracle has to suppress their natural desire to charge like wounded bulls for everything they own, and try not to interfere with the JCP much at all, which is a big ask really. For the second, it's already starting to happen in certain areas. There are shops out there who have spent an awful lot of time and money getting Oracle out of their DC and they don't want it back again.

  • by Eskarel (565631) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @09:09AM (#32791518)

    C# is really more sort of the averaging of Java and C++ than anything else, and VB is now C# with a slightly different syntax(sort of wish Microsoft had the balls to just end it rather than farting around with putting god awful VB syntax onto a language which is nothing like it.

    I do agree that Microsoft needs to do something about the exceptions though, not necessarily checked exceptions cause those are a pain, but some easy way in Visual Studio to get a list of exceptions that can be thrown by a call so you know what you could check for. You're also right about javadoc.

    That said, LINQ is just incredible, and IIS with .NET is a hell of a lot easier to configure and tune than Tomcat, it's really 6 of one and a half dozen of the other with Java and .NET at the moment, which is why what Oracle does is so important.

  • by haydensdaddy (1719524) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @09:15AM (#32791548)

    In a rare fit, I actually read the TFA (I know, I don't know what I was thinking), and it leaves with the feeling that Paul is concentrating on the wrong argument...

    He appears to be arguing that third-party vendors control Java through the development of their frameworks and tools. While most modern-day development is relegated to gluing together frameworks instead of actual programming, I think this misses the point in the same vein as when people talk about JEE being Java.

    Java is a language upon which these frameworks and tools are built. For all of the good things Sun did for Java, they had a tendency to take the path of least resistance when it came to fixing existing features and adding new features to the language. If Oracle continues the trend, or does a worse job of it as many are predicting, third-party vendors will lost interest in developing these wonderful toys and will move on to other languages that are better supported.

    I for one, abhor the ownership of Java by Oracle. Sun had a tenuous grasp on it through its design-by-committee approach, and I have no reason to believe that Oracle will improve on that approach given its history. Java had some wonderful ideas behind it, but I for one have been transitioning my investments over to alternate languages that have caught up and, for the most part, surpassed Java in functionality.

    Well, that's my two cents and my cat agrees with me. So there.

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @09:16AM (#32791554) Homepage Journal

    You are wrong.

    Microsoft wanted to provide their own extensions and JVM that was not compliant with Sun Java while still calling the environment Java and using Sun Java trademarks and logos. The entire lawsuit was about the Java trademark. Eventually MS released their own language that is partially compatible with Java, you should know about it, it became what's known as J++ and later J#.

    MS was forbidden from using the Java Compatibility trademark - the steaming coffee cup logo.

  • by arjan_t (1655161) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @09:19AM (#32791566)
    >Does Java still have checked exceptions in common use?

    No, I'm sorry for you. The standard platform is moving away from them and is resorting to run time exceptions being mentioned in Java doc. E.g. an excerpt from the platform standard class EntityManager:

    public interface EntityManager {
        /**
         * Make an entity instance managed and persistent.
         *
         * @param entity
         * @throws EntityExistsException        if the entity already exists.
         *                                      (The EntityExistsException may be thrown when the persist
         *                                      operation is invoked, or the EntityExistsException or
         *                                      another PersistenceException may be thrown at commit
         *                                      time.)
         * @throws IllegalStateException if this EntityManager has been closed.
         * @throws IllegalArgumentException     if not an entity
         * @throws TransactionRequiredException if invoked on a
         *                                      container-managed entity manager of type
         *                                      PersistenceContextType.TRANSACTION and there is
         *                                      no transaction.
         */
        public void persist(Object entity);

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @09:19AM (#32791568) Homepage Journal

    You are insane.

    Not only there is constantly new Java code written for the back end, not only there are millions if not billions lines of code that are running existing services on the back end, but people are writing front end code in Java, at least for corporate environments.

    How do I know? I am writing some of it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2010 @09:32AM (#32791590)

    Java's cross-platform compatibility has always been a myth

    Don't talk nonsense, man. Back that up with something.

    If you write the code properly, and stick to Java (no JNI stuff), it's cross-platform. How is that a myth?

  • by Eudial (590661) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @09:35AM (#32791600)

    You have an aptly chosen user name. Not only is multi-threaded programming in Java quite easy to use, Java hasn't been interpreted in quite a long time.

  • by arjan_t (1655161) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @09:37AM (#32791606)

    Is Java doomed to get stuck behind in the single processor world

    Far from it actually... of course Java has had the absolute low level concurrency primitives from the very beginning (Threads, synchronized blocks, wait/notify). More than half a decade ago, the java.concurrent library was added to the platform, which added tons of goodies for concurrent/parallel programming like concurrent maps, blocking queues, thread pools and executor services, cyclic barriers, programmatic locks with timeouts (which actually performed better than the build-in locks based on the synchronized keyword) etc.

    Now Java 7 will be extended with the join/fork framework, which is essentially a thread pool and support code for (recursively) computational intensive operations and supports advanced features like work stealing. The join/fork framework has been specifically designed to scale into the many, many multi-core range. Not just quad, hex or oct cores but well beyond that.

    Parallel array is another topic on the agenda, which allows you to express in an almost declarative style operations on arrays, which the library will then execute for you in parallel. To really make this work elegantly, closures are needed, which were on and off the radar for the Java SE 7 release. Because of that, parallel array has somehow stalled. Now that closures are back, so might parallel array be, but I haven't heard anything about it for a while to be honest.

    This blog post has a nice summary about some of the added concurrency items in Java 7: http://www.baptiste-wicht.com/2010/04/java-7-more-concurrency/ [baptiste-wicht.com]

  • by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @09:41AM (#32791618)

    Java, while widely used is on the down slide. There really hasn't been any new revolutionary additions to the language in about 7 years. In another 10 years, it will become like COBOL is to IBM.

    Don't knock COBOL.

    I know a couple of folks who are making a nice living as a COBOL programmer. And they're not that old. AND, when the majority of the IT market craps out, they always seem to have or can get a job. That's something not many programmers can claim.

  • by red_dragon (1761) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:47AM (#32791836) Homepage

    It isn't just the Universal Installer that's written in Java; for some things there are shell scripts that bypass it. A much bigger and profitable product for them is the E-Business Suite, which is mostly Java with a few native code components. Letting Java languish would mean losing billions of dollars in support and maintenance fees as customers abandon EBS (and the Oracle database by extension) for more up-to-date enterprise software.

  • by Tim C (15259) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:52AM (#32791846)

    Many Java apps made assumptions about file names and directory locations, and this prevented them from running on other OSes.

    That's the fault of the programmer(s), not Java.

    Besides, while you have valid points, they are irrelevant to the topic at hand; MS signed a licence saying that they could not introduce Windows-specific classes into the java.* package hierarchy, and yet they did so. No one would have cared if they'd put them in com.microsoft.*, but they chose not to do so.

  • by EsbenMoseHansen (731150) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:57AM (#32791864) Homepage

    By that argument, you might just as well write the entire thing in python/C++/ZoopedUpZuperLanguage++ and provide a download link. The *point* of webbased apps is that there is no download involved and that the application integrates well with the browser. Neither is very true for Java webapps. Besides, even the Java people tell me that applets are a deadend.

  • by careysub (976506) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:12AM (#32791904)

    ... To really make this work elegantly, closures are needed, which were on and off the radar for the Java SE 7 release. Because of that, parallel array has somehow stalled. Now that closures are back, so might parallel array be, but I haven't heard anything about it for a while to be honest...

    Elegance? Closures? Now you have me scared. Really scared.

    The most serious problem with Java today is the whole complexity of the generics feature added in Java 5. Typing container classes was fine (and the only thing any working programmer I have talked to actually uses), but as soon as you venture beyond that it descends into a nearly incomprehensible API, all in pursuit of the elusive and trivial pursuit of absolute type safety (at which it fails anyway). Angelika Langer's FAQ about Java generics is 512 pages long. One of the world's leading Java experts, Ken Arnold, cannot explain the meaning of the Enum generic class's definition, I could go on and on.

    As a whole the generics is a useless and dangerous disaster. If you mastered Langer's FAQ and could actually write code using generic wildcards no other programmer could understand and maintain your code. And I am doubtful that you could yourself, 6 months later. Java generics seems to require at least a graduate level course in type theory to use (possibly an actual degree in the field).

    And the root cause of this disaster, as opposed to a useful tweak (typing containers and letting it go at that) is the search for "elegance" in a formal Comp Sci PhD dissertation type way.

    What we need right now is for whoever is guiding Java development to find away to back out of the generics disaster to simplify the language and leaving only features people can actually use. This will clear the field for actual useful innovations.

  • by mswhippingboy (754599) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:47AM (#32792066)
    I have to agree with you here. I develop (for corporate environments) in a fairly large range of languages depending customer desires. The trend has been (for several years now) that more and more development is being done in Java, whether rewriting legacy systems or completely new development.
    The benefits that Java offers are more compelling than just about any alternatives. The arguments against its ability to "run anywhere" are old and most (if not all) are largely inconsequential to todays environments.
    A majority of development today is web-centric (intranet or internet) so issues with AWT or pathname incompatibility across systems are rarely encountered, and when they are, there are plenty of best-practices for dealing with them.
    The old line about Java performance being inferior is also largely a dead issue as it's be shown time and time again that the newer JIT enabled VMs allow byte code to perform on par with native C/C++.
    As far as being a dead language, I certainly don't see that happening any time soon. The language is under constant development and significant new features are being added with each major release, both to the platform (performance, concurrency, garbage collection, etc) as well as the language itself (modularization, closures,annotations, etc). The language is constantly evolving, but still, as much as possible, retaining backward compatibility.
    Even if the language itself is not able to keep up with advances in modern language design, there are spin-offs like Scala that can co-exist in the same JVM and are able to take advantage of the large java eco-system while providing a different programming paradigm.

    I gave up being an fan-boy for technologies many years ago when I got burned with OS/2, and have since decided to embrace whatever languages and technologies are in demand, be it MS tools (VB and C#), Apple (Objective-c) or non-proprietary (Perl, PHP, Java, etc.).
    Folks that are quick to declare Java dead are obviously naive and don't have a clue about the way the IT world works. They can line up with the folks that declared mainframes and COBOL dead twenty years ago, while (according to a recent Computerworld article) more than 200 million lines of COBOL are still in use and a COBOL gig is still considered the safest gig in IT today.
  • by esarjeant (100503) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @11:54AM (#32792086) Homepage

    What about the prospect of having to pay for Oracle Java? The client would continue to be free (JRE) but if you want to compile code it will cost you. How would Java fair if there was a $100 developers license?

    Certainly the open source Java compilers would gain a significant foothold, but with Oracle steering the JCP it seems likely they would eventually corner the market...

  • by etymxris (121288) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @12:29PM (#32792204)

    Generics seem pretty straightforward to me, even the "? extends Whatever" syntax. Maybe you could give some concrete examples as to the problems with generics. The only problem right now is that type erasure makes arrays of generics impossible. Hopefully they'll fix that with the next revision.

  • by M. Baranczak (726671) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @12:39PM (#32792260)

    I don't think generics are a 'disaster'. More like 'potential disaster if you don't watch your ass'. And to date, I still haven't seen a better way to do it. (Your suggestion, "typing containers and letting it go at that", makes no sense; there was no way to do that without adding generics to the language, or something that works like generics.)

    Anyway, it doesn't matter. There's no way in hell that they'll be removing a widely-used feature from future versions of the language. As long as we're coding in Java, we're stuck with generics.

  • by dominious (1077089) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @12:49PM (#32792324)

    As a whole the generics is a useless and dangerous disaster

    You keep repeating that. Citation needed.

    Java generics seems to require at least a graduate level course in type theory to use (possibly an actual degree in the field)

    So? Is this a bad thing? It's like saying "expert field" seems to require at least "expert field" graduate level course. If you are no expert, then don't use java generics. And if you can't read other's code, then maybe we should hire someone who can.

    I remember using java generics to build a visual keyboard for any kind of text component. I'm reading my code now, and yes, I understand it.

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @01:13PM (#32792426) Homepage Journal

    So what?

    - for real, you are asking me 'so what' and that's your argument? My response is simple: I am recreating an application in a browser that my users have used in the past and that is now no longer supported that used to be a stand alone applications. Some of my users think that their 'computer is broken' when somebody re-sizes a window on their desktop, those are not the kind of people who will want to switch paradigms from a desktop application to a web based one that is purely running as HTML/Javascript, so those people need to have the same experience they are used to from a desktop app, however the new app will not be installed locally, it is now a web app for reasons varying from cost of maintenance to security to ease of deployment and availability.

    This single argument that you are giving: 'so what' completely dismisses actual reality.

    And I bet a Java applet which attempted to render 20,000 lines all at once would perform just as poorly. It really wouldn't take much JavaScript to replicate what Java is probably doing here -- render only the rows which are actually visible, and cache the rest in RAM.

    - and you would be wrong and it shows your ignorance on the issue. Rendering done by the Java applet is completely different from what a browser does. Browser needs to parse HTML out, it needs to create some form of a document (DOM) it needs to prepare for quirks, it needs to decide how to display this and then render it and THEN it also changes what it renders on the fly re-rendering it with styles etc.

    Java applet has none of those issues, it does not need to parse out any documents, there are no CSSs, no javascripts, it's a layout with a table with data that needs to translation and multiple rendering passes, so as a result it responds immediately. 1 second after I load the 20,000 rows into it I can scroll ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM. At this point a browser rendered maybe 300-400 rows only that can be scrolled through and as you are scrolling you are making it work slower, it will modify the page and re-render what was done already.

    Your mention of "constantly calling the server" suggests that would be a bad thing, too. The browser's HTTP cache works with XHR, so I really don't get where that's an issue unless you need the data to be downloaded all at once. - precisely, I do need it to be downloaded all at once so that user can see all of it in a single table by immediate scrolling.

    And did you try anything other than GWT? Certainly, if you're going to claim this:

    - about 2 months worth of all kinds of things, from plain HTML, to GWT with paginating, incubators, Bulk Renderers, Javascripts, CSS all sorts of things. Absolutely NOTHING beats an applet.

    Java, as a language, is verbose as hell

    - I can see your bias from this.

    public class Test {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
    System.out.println("Hello World");
    }
    }

    - for a compiled language it is not that much more verbose than C or C++, in fact less so depending on what you are doing.

    so I would guess that a Java library that outputs HTML is worse than a Java library

    - you have no idea what you are talking about. GWT is not a library. It is a full environment that allows writing CSS/XML (for layouts and configurations) + Java instead of using javascript, a compiler that does NOT include all of the features in Java or in GWT libraries, it creates the most dense code as far as javascripts go, but to your point, if GWT was written in C or C++ or PHP or whatever it still would have been as bad in terms of amount of code as GWT is with Java right now, not because of Java but because of what GWT is doing. GWT architecture requires much more code to be written that will have to be translated into Javascript/HTML

  • by mswhippingboy (754599) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @01:16PM (#32792444)
    Really? I don't know what planet you're on, but here on planet earth, much of the real work is being done in Java (by a very wide margin). (See http://www.langpop.com/ [langpop.com] ).
    Haskell and Erlang are barely a blip on the radar. I like and use Python regularly and it has it positives, but I have a hard time recommending it to my corporate customers (for various reasons having to do with availability of trained developers, performance and or broad industry support). By and large most work I see getting done is being done in Java or .Net languages.
    I can see why you posted as AC since clearly this was intended as flamebait.
  • by dmorris68 (1532203) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @01:32PM (#32792546)

    But Java's cross-platform compatibility has always been a myth.

    Bollocks.

    I've been a Java developer and manager of Java developers for about 10 years now. Before that, 20+ years as C/C++/asm guy across a wide variety of platforms ranging from embedded system to Honeywell/Bull and IBM mainframe and just about every mainstream business platform in between (AS400, VAX/VMS, various Unix flavors, Linux, Windows, Mac, etc.). So application portability is a subject I have a bit of experience with. While in the earliest days of Java portability was more wishful thinking, I can unequivocally say that since, oh, Java 1.4 if not earlier, cross platform portability has been spot on. It just works. I can't even remember the last time I took a Java application I've written to a platform that it didn't work on. Even today I am always mildly surprised to take a fairly complex GUI application I've developed on, say Windows, and drop it on another platform, like Linux or OSX, and watch it run flawlessly. I recently wrote a manufacturing line simulator to use as a test backend for a Java-based shop floor system. This is a multi-threaded GUI app simulating and displaying in real-time movement of product through the line, while interfacing with OPC servers and host applications via message queues and databases. When it was done, I dropped it on an Ubuntu desktop box and aside from the slight differences in the Linux GUI appearance, you wouldn't know which one you were looking at.

    The only portability problems I've seen are either from dependency on native JNI code (which is rarely but occasionally necessary) -- and almost all databases these days support pure-Java Type4 drivers without dependency on native clients -- or due to lousy programmers who hardcode platform specific constructs. I have *never* had an issue with filesystem path portability over the hundreds of Java applications I've written or managed in the last decade, because I never assume/hardcode anything specific to the platform I'm developing on. This is a common failure of your typical VB developer that is new to Java -- all they think about is Windows, many have had zero exposure to other environments, so that's all they know. Which is fine I guess if you're a 100% Windows shop or targeting a Windows base, but then I'd certainly question the transition to Java in that case. Regardless, don't blame the language for its misuse by developers -- if so then we could condemn every programming language ever made.

    I like Java well enough and am proficient enough with it that even if I were stranded in Windows purgatory forever, I'd still consider using it over .NET even without the portability benefits. I've had the occasion to have to write some C# due to some OPC/DCOM integration code that required it. While there are some things about the .NET platform and languages that I find appealing, there's not enough there to win me over from Java.

  • by kthreadd (1558445) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @04:03PM (#32793452)

    According to the Sun engineers I've talked to it all has to do with a really old license agreement between Apple and Sun that they can't change for now. It originates from the very early days of Java, a time when Apple was almost desperate to get more attention to the Mac and saw Java as a lifesaver as applications developed for it would almost automatically work on the Mac as well. So they basically gave Sun a big load of money in exchange for the exclusive rights to make Java for the Mac platform. That gave them a good opportunity to also make Java fully integrated on the Mac and back then they actually made a good job doing that. It's too bad that their dedication have slowly declined as the Mac gained more popularity over the years.

    Due to this Sun/Oracle is basically forbidden to directly release Java for Mac OS X until the agreement expire or Apple decides to make a new agreement. The only practical solution they proposed was to use the BSD port of OpenJDK. You won't have the Aqua UI and I think you have to deal with X11, but you will have an overall better and newer Java.

  • by dmorris68 (1532203) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @09:41PM (#32795100)

    Only for trivial applications.

    You can be utterly 100% certain that a non-trivial application will require re-work to run in a different environment other than what is was coded for.

    Umm, your reading comprehension skills are apparently the only thing trivial here.

    Did you even attempt to read what I wrote? I specifically described a "non-trivial" application, and could go on to describe dozens more. In fact, I pretty much don't write "trivial applications" these days.

    As I and others who have posted here, plus any number of other Java developers, will attest, Java is absolutely portable if you have half a clue as a developer.

    It's obvious you either:
    (a) have no real experience with Java in the last 6-8 years
    (b) have no "non-trivial" programming experience to speak of at all
    (c) are a troll

  • by jrumney (197329) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:05PM (#32795204) Homepage
    Java doesn't force you to handle exceptions, it forces you to be aware which exceptions can happen. You just have to declare your own functions as throwing them if you don't handle them.

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