I’m going to attempt to answer some of the comments that last week’s post received. Problem is – there were a lot of them – spread across Reddit, Slashdot, Digg, DZone (and again), InfoQ and the blogosphere. I clearly can’t reply to them all so I’ve grouped them and will answer generally.
But first – I’d like to make a point about Sun’s reaction. Opening Java was a big bold move – likely one of the biggest, boldest moves in our industry’s history. Sun has given Java the chance to truly flourish but in doing so has given up a little bit of control and a little bit of the ownership. From time to time others will play a role in advancing Java as the Fedora team and Red Hat did over the last year; and they’ll rightfully take the credit for doing so. That’s a consequence of opening Java. On the whole I was pleased with Sun’s reaction – many Sun people involved in Java actively promoted the IcedTea milestone, recognizing it as progress for the Java platform as well. It could have been different – after all Sun and Red Hat are also competitors. I think if Sun continues to encourage others to promote and advance Java – all will be good.
OK, let me address some of the questions and misconceptions :
Wow – a second Java implementation – this one is free and open source – way to go.
Actually there have always been many Java implementations – eg. Sun, BEA, IBM, Azul, HP even Microsoft had one at one point (but that’s another story). And they were always free ($0) and as of a year ago Sun’s was also Open Source. Java is a pretty open specification – you have always been able to become a licensee and implement your own Java. But that is a huge amount of work.
Who cares – Java is slow.
Too funny. But much funnier back in 1999 when it was also partially true.
OK, but this one’s going to be slow
The OpenJDK in Fedora 9 is largely (ie. 96%-99%) based on Sun’s JDK 1.6 – so it’s likely to perform about the same.
I’m worried about fragmentation – now anyone can have their own Java-like distro.
Firstly, Given the momentum behind Java – producing something that is partially Java isn’t going to be particularly interesting. Sun still protects the Java brand – if it’s called Java, it must behave like Java (ie. minimally pass the Java TCK). I still can’t imagine why anyone (ie. other Linux distros) wouldn’t just take openJDK and IceTea as their imlementation of Java.
Sun Open Sourced Java a year ago – there’s no news here
The initial OpenJDK had encumberences which meant it could not be distrubted fully in some of the more important Linux distributions like Fedora. Now it can. That is significant – we have not seen the true potetnial of Java on Linux. Now we have an implementation everyone can feel good about - we will.
OpenJDK has been distributed with <your favourite linux> since April.
Sure – but it likely had the ‘encumberances’ – while that may be an OK situation for many – it wasn’t an OK situation for everyone.
But my XYZ app doesn’t run on this jdk
Sun’s TCK can’t guarantee that every possible current and future app. will work – as I mentioned – passing the TCK is a milestone; not the end goal. If your app doesn’t run or behave as it should then help by filling a bug.