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Oracle Java Upgrades

Oracle Discontinues Free Java Time Zone Updates 405

Posted by timothy
from the now-you-won't-know-when-you-are dept.
New submitter Noel Trout writes "For a long time in the Java world, there has been a free tool called the 'tzupdater' or Time Zone Updater released as a free download first by Sun and then Oracle. This tool can be used to apply a patch to the Java runtime so that time zone information is correct. This is necessary since some time zones in the world are not static and change more frequently than one might think; in general time zone updates can be released maybe 4-6 times a year. The source information backing the Java timezone API comes from the open source Olson timezone database that is also used by many operating systems. For certain types of applications, you can understand that these updates are mission critical. For example, my company operates in the private aviation sector so we need to be able to display the correct local time at airports around the world. So, the interesting part is that Oracle has now decided to only release these updates if you have a Java SE support contract. Being Oracle, such licenses are far from cheap. In my opinion, this is a pretty serious change in stance for Oracle and amounts to killing free Java for certain types of applications, at least if you care about accuracy. We are talking about the core API class java.util.TimeZone. This begs the question, can you call an API free if you have to pay for it to return accurate information? What is the point of such an API? Should the community not expect that core Java classes are fully functional and accurate? I believe it is also a pretty bad move for Java adoption for these types of applications. If my company as a startup 10 years ago would have been presented with such a license fee, we almost certainly could not have chosen Java as our platform as we could not afford it."
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Oracle Discontinues Free Java Time Zone Updates

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  • by Alain Williams (2972) <> on Saturday June 08, 2013 @08:34AM (#43945367) Homepage

    The information needed to provide the updates is freely available, so cannot someone else provide the updates ? Just get tzupdater to download from a different place. I am not a Java programmer, so forgive me if I have got the wrong end of the stick.

    Even better change the Java functions to get the information operating system, on Linux the tzdata, then Java is kept up to date as the OS is kept up to date.

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @08:43AM (#43945403)

    The time to move away from Java was as soon as Oracle bought Sun.

    I don't know if Python is the answer for everyone, and I know changing to a different language is about as big of a pain as there is, but the jig was up after Sun was bought.

  • Cash grab (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Macfox (50100) * on Saturday June 08, 2013 @08:50AM (#43945425) Homepage

    Not surprising. Given the refusal to remove those bloody Java sponsors from the JRE. Piss off the end users and now the developers.

  • What to do... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ansak (80421) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @09:01AM (#43945485) Homepage Journal
    So, who is surprised by Oracle's move here? Nobody with a eyes and a brain. Oracle just doesn't know what to do with a community.
    Does this make Microsoft or C# look so great? No way! They started out less free than Oracle is now and haven't really changed.
    Why do I develop in Java (I also know C, C++ [and the assembler code they generate], Python, SQL [MS and non-MS dialects] -- so why choose Java?)? Because I want to write programs for my slightly less shackled Android phone.
    And the next plan of action is...?

    There are a bunch of options... for starters, google the problem. Next, just wait: some bright spark will put out a tool that uses local time zone info (configurable) to update some Java installation's (configurable) idea of time zones automatically (or not, configurable).

    It happened with MySQL, it'll happen with Java. "The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."

    Douglas Adams' fictional book cover still has the right initial instruction: "Don't Panic!"

  • by bsane (148894) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @09:21AM (#43945603)

    If the whitespace still bothers you - it means you haven't even spent 15m using it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 08, 2013 @09:37AM (#43945701)

    Or, you know, you had a merge happen that moved around whitespace without anybody noticing, which resulted in still syntactically sound Python that just happened to have entirely different semantics that destroyed a bunch of customer data. Just as a random example of why whitespace syntax is horrible.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 08, 2013 @09:43AM (#43945719)

    Braces allow for automatic formatting.
    Whitespace shouldn't encode anything other than separation between meaningful elements. Definitely not blocks.
    Besides, untyped languages are unmaintainable crap. They're nice for throwing crap together quick, but having to figure out what the code does (with typical level of comments...) is a painful experience.

  • by Lehk228 (705449) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @10:06AM (#43945849) Journal
    if you are doing intensive calculations and they slow down execution you can write those parts in c
  • by hedwards (940851) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @10:12AM (#43945883)

    I think we have a different definition of hidden.

    Of course you can always find poorly formatted code that's confusing, but the bottom line here is that this is not an appropriate way of using white space. White space is for the purpose of separating elements and making it more readable.

    The fact that most other languages use {} to denote blocks is a good reason to use that in other languages as well. It's something that works, is clear in intention and after all these years, nobody has come up with anything better.

    It should be up to the developers as to how precisely they format their code for legibility, not the people writing the language.

  • by davidbrit2 (775091) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @10:57AM (#43946117) Homepage
    I have a hard time believing that Java has no problem abstracting an operating system's graphics, sound, console I/O, network I/O, etc. into a portable API, but somehow can't manage the same for timezone info.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 08, 2013 @12:02PM (#43946473)

    [Python and Go] have basically the same semantics . . .
    Seriously? If you believe that statement you are lacking experience in one or both of those languages.

  • by bigtallmofo (695287) * on Saturday June 08, 2013 @12:40PM (#43946673)
    As someone who was been a .NET developer in C# since it came out, this is welcome news to see Java developers abandoning their platform in droves.

    Sorry to sound harsh, but I heard from so many middle managers and CIOs over the years, "Why don't you use Java?" "I noticed you don't use Java, what's wrong with you?" "What about Java?" "Have you looked into Java?" I had one snarky middle manager buy me a Java book for Christmas one year.

    Sorry, I don't use Java and every day more and more people are saying the same thing.
  • by arth1 (260657) on Sunday June 09, 2013 @12:21AM (#43950245) Homepage Journal

    It's not like Oracle is the provider of the time zones. Java uses the standard and open Arthur Olson zone info ones, and only modify the zone files to fit within the java framework.
    What it boils down to is that Oracle wants money for what they themselves are freeloading.

    What's needed is for java to be able to use unmodified zoneinfo files, or an open source zone info compiler that can convert them for use by any java installation.

Nothing is rich but the inexhaustible wealth of nature. She shows us only surfaces, but she is a million fathoms deep. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson