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Will Sun Open Source Java? 700

capt turnpike writes "According to, there's an internal debate going on at Sun whether to open-source Java. (Insert typical response: "It's about time!") Company spokespersons have no official comment, as might be expected, but perhaps we could hear confirmation or denial as early as May 16, at the JavaOne conference. One commentator said, "Sun should endorse PHP and go one step forward and make sure the 'P' languages run great on the JVM [Java virtual machine] by open-sourcing Java." Would this move Java up the desirability scale in your eyes? Could this be a way to help improve what's lacking in Java?"
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Will Sun Open Source Java?

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  • "Open Source" covers a LOT of licenses.

    What changes and how would depend upon which license was chosen.
    • by SoloFlyer2 ( 872483 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:26PM (#15242716)
      I currently avoid Java like the plauge, my reasons are the same reasons that java isnt included in debian... ch5.html#s-license-concerns [] if they address those license concers i would be much happier...
      • Mustang changes this (Score:5, Informative)

        by ashpool7 ( 18172 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @12:43AM (#15243099) Homepage Journal
        The SCSL is going away in Java 1.6 in favor of some much more liberal licenses. I'll be able to compile and use it on my production FreeBSD server at work and not worry about being "tainted" as a programmer. 437481 []
      • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @03:37AM (#15243628)
        That is the reason that with SUSE you can decide yourself wether or not you use it or not. e.g. for the upcoming 10.1 version the CD1-5 are pure OSS. There is an additional CD6 that will hold the non-OSS stuff, like Opera and Java.

        That way SUSE lies the choice with the user, not with the distribution. If the user still decides to use it (and many will) they still have all the advantages as they have with the different other packages that are included with SUSE, including security updates.
    • by BrainInAJar ( 584756 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:48PM (#15242824)
      "Open Source" + "Sun Microsystems" almost certainly = "CDDL []"
    • > "Open Source" covers a LOT of licenses.

      Yes, you're right, it does cover a lot of licenses. In order to be allowed to use the trademarked term "Open Source" however, whatever license they choose must (a) comply with the Open Source Definition [], and (b) be approved [] by the Open Source Initiative.

      Sure, not all Open Source licenses are the ducks guts to all people, but there's pretty much an assurance of no evil in there. Even microsoft knows that!

      • by Haeleth ( 414428 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @08:30AM (#15244337) Journal
        In order to be allowed to use the trademarked term "Open Source" however, whatever license they choose must (a) comply with the Open Source Definition, and (b) be approved by the Open Source Initiative.

        Did you even read the pages you were linking to? The Open Source Initiative's own certification page, that you linked to, has this to say, right in the first paragraph: "the term 'open source' itself [...] can't be protected as a trademark".

        I can call anything I like Open Source, and nobody can do a thing to stop me. The new Evil Proprietary License (a viral license that infects any software in the same room with a deadly curse that can only be lifted by the sacrifice of your firstborn) could be called Open Source. What it couldn't legally be called is OSI Certified(tm).
  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aliquis ( 678370 ) <> on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:18PM (#15242690) Homepage
    "Will Sun Open Source Java?"
    No, haven't they already said that? Like hundreds of times? And does it really matter?

    "Sun should endorse PHP and go one step forward and make sure the 'P' languages run great on the JVM [Java virtual machine] by open-sourcing Java."
    "No", who would run PHP on Java anyway? Why? Why would open-sourcing it help?

    "Would this move Java up the desirability scale in your eyes?"
    No, Java is already desirable in my eyes.

    "Could this be a way to help improve what's lacking in Java?"
    No, what is lacking?

    People who complain that Java is slow, should be open-sourced, and so on have never seemed to had a clue.
    • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Enonu ( 129798 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:32PM (#15242740)
      Hear Hear!

      Will people stop trying to move Java towards a culture that won't keep Java up to the same standards Sun has? There's a reason why the top two server side platform these days are .NET and Java, and it's because a there's a quality standard and completeness not found elsewhere. The next time I look at another configured by altering it's code, hard tied to MySQL, non-tiered POS LAMP application, I'm going to cry.

      The only place I ever see Java going is perhaps to be bought by another bigger company who has a similar path. My only hope is that it's IBM because their Java apps are of a higher quality than Sun's, and they've done such good work with the Eclipse platform.
      • Re:No (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @01:38AM (#15243288)
        The next time I look at another configured by altering it's code, hard tied to MySQL, non-tiered POS LAMP application, I'm going to cry.

        Of course, any equivalent app in Java would have more lines of opaque XML configuration than the "POS LAMP application" has code. It will also be slower, eat several times as much memory, and depend on specific versions of two dozen frameworks.

        The Rails version, OTOH, would be about 4 lines long and deployed before the Java guys managed to fire up their Eclipse bloatware. It would, however, be about the same speed as the Java app.

        The Lisp version would never fail, would have source code in the form of a haiku, could tell the future and control the weather. It will never be written because all those parentheses look funny.
    • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:34PM (#15242751) Homepage
      People who complain that Java is slow, should be open-sourced, and so on have never seemed to had a clue.

      Irrespective of any ideological issues, there are a few reasons the current situation hurts Java a bit.

      Foremost for quite a few readers of slashdot is that free Linux distributions can't include Java in their default install. That means Java-based apps are not going to be included either. And since users need to jump through quite a few hoops to get Java installed (don't say "it's easy" - for most people anything beyond using their package manager is too high a hurdle), you can't assume it will be available on desktops in general.

      The second issue is that Java does not really play well with the desktop. I have set up my desktop to run fine using three languages - English, Swedish and Japanese - and made sure everything from localization to character input works smoothly. But Java does not cooperate; it has its own way of dealing with CJK characters and needs its own fonts and separate setup to work. I have fiddled a little with it, but have never gotten it to work properly (especially being able to run an app in Swedish while still being able to input Japanese). And since it uses its own input method, it does not share the local dictionary so typing becomes frustratingly different from any other application I use. And since the code is not open, distributions can't fix these interoperability issues.

      Both of these issues serve as disincentives from using Java apps and from writing them in the first place.
      • Re:No (Score:3, Funny)

        by joshv ( 13017 )
        "especially being able to run an app in Swedish while still being able to input Japanese"

        Well, in that case, I have to agree, for most people then, Java will be entirely unusable. Why just yesterday I was attempting to use a Russian keyboard, on a middle eastern version of Windows, running a Hebrew language Java application, and it just wouldn't allow me to input Chinese. Useless.
    • Re:No (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Surt ( 22457 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:57PM (#15242883) Homepage Journal
      "Will Sun Open Source Java?"
      No, haven't they already said that? Like hundreds of times? And does it really matter?

      Sure it matters. A lot of people have issues with it because of the license. It would clearly expand the number of potential adopters to go open source. More adopters will mean better tools.

      "Sun should endorse PHP and go one step forward and make sure the 'P' languages run great on the JVM [Java virtual machine] by open-sourcing Java."
      "No", who would run PHP on Java anyway? Why? Why would open-sourcing it help?

      Well, I agree with the first part. But presumably integration will get better/faster in open source.

      "Would this move Java up the desirability scale in your eyes?"
      No, Java is already desirable in my eyes.

      But a lot of people would find it more desireable. You can trust that java won't go away in open source, whereas you can't really say the same as long as SUN is at the helm.

      "Could this be a way to help improve what's lacking in Java?"
      No, what is lacking?

      Mostly modernizing. The pace of java development is glacial, compared to say what is going on in C# or Ruby. People with specific integration issues that can't get sun to address compatibility problems are stuck.

      People who complain that Java is slow, should be open-sourced, and so on have never seemed to had a clue.
      There's no doubt java is still slow in a number of contexts. There are also obvious opportunities for performance enhancement that could be addressed in an open source process. I recently benchmarked ten of my applications in c++ and java, java is about 2x slower for most of the cases I tried, and never faster. To me, that's perfectly acceptable, but java could make more inroads into other areas of computing if it was more competitive in performance. More inroads means more developers, and that means better tools, which is what I yearn for.

      • Re:No (Score:5, Interesting)

        by iabervon ( 1971 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @01:09AM (#15243190) Homepage Journal
        I'm not sure if you're complaining about development of the language and standard library API, or development of Sun's implementation. The language evolves about as fast as is prudent, because they're committed to having the language not have badly-designed features that need to either be incompatibly dropped or painfully maintained. So Java gets features essentially as soon as C++ has made all the mistakes related to those features.

        On the other hand, Sun's Java compiler has always had broken dependancy tracking (at least since I started using it heavily in 1999). (If a build has an error, the set of output class files may be such that the next run of the compiler skips a source file which needs to be compiled; this is mainly that it can generate the public class without generating other classes in the same file.) I think it's likely that, if Sun does open source the JDK, they'll get fixes for a number of annoying flaws of that sort pretty quickly, and things that are clearly wrong but aren't considered worth working on will be improved substantially.

        Of course, there's essentially no chance that they'll relax their grip on the language standard, and they probably shouldn't, unless they turn it over to a standards body due to no longer being able to employ good language designers.
    • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheWama ( 793038 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @12:02AM (#15242917)
      How about the people who claim it's tedious and sprawling*?

      Simple example...

      Java: BufferedReader in = new BufferedReader(new FileReader(""));
      Python: in = open('')
      Ruby: in ='')
      C++: ifstream in;"");

      To be fair, I'm no Java expert, but in my experience with it, I'd have to be masochistic to look at it all day...
      • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Cederic ( 9623 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:07AM (#15243831) Journal

        Sorry, but when I'm dealing with code written offshore by developers of mixed ability in a system integrating my mainframe to my fulfilment systems with customer web access, online payments, content management and back office consolidation thrown in then I want a language that's immediately readable.

        Perl is exceedingly brief to write. It's also very difficult to read.
        PHP/Python are better, but most code I see is frankly horrible.

        With Java the APIs and libraries - even third party, even open source - have descriptive names. They make sense. You can figure out what's going on from the method and classnames, without having to go and read them.

        This makes unfamiliar code easier to read. I've done Delphi/C/C++/perl/PHP programming, and none of them have as easy to read code as Java. I value that a lot.

        That you have to type an extra 32 characters to open a file? Good! Hell, you're not typing enough already - 'in' is a bad name for a variable. How about making it descriptive, tell the reader what you're reading.

        Modern IDEs do most of the typing for you. The clarity of the code that's written is more important than the extra two seconds you need to write it.

      • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

        by shish ( 588640 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @05:13AM (#15243849) Homepage
        Why do none of your other language examples have an explicit buffer layer? You should add that, then see what the result is :P People in other languages have become used to reading chunks of a file into a buffer then parsing a bit, then reading a new chunk -- java people can just read what they want, when they want; IMHO adding a bufferedreader is a small price to pay to get rid of all the manual buffering~

        While you're at it, make it read objects from a gzip compressed network stream:

        new ObjectReader(new GZipReader(new SocketReader(new Socket("", 42))));

        (I'd really like someone to demonstrate this in other languages; having started with java and moved to C, things like gzip stream reading and network access seem like such unnecessary pains in the ass that I've never bothered to learn them properly...)

  • by Xtifr ( 1323 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:18PM (#15242691) Homepage
    > Would this move Java up the desirability scale in your eyes?

    It would certainly bring it across the threshold to something I might be willing to install on my machine. I'm not sure I'd actually be interested in using it for anything, but at least it would no longer be in the "completely unacceptable" column.

    Of course, I'd probably wait till it was "apt-get"able. But I suspect that an actually-Free Java(tm) wouldn't have to wait long to find a Debian packager.
    • same here (Score:3, Insightful)

      by r00t ( 33219 )
      Today, as far as I'm concerned, Java is:

      1. gcj (the gcc that does Java-to-JVM and JVM-to-native)
      2. GNU classpath
      3. Kaffe?

      I've never seen it do anything, either in a browser or in OpenOffice. Oh well.

      (not that language which overloads "+" for string+number is sane; that ought to be a compile error)
  • Alternate VMs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Flounder ( 42112 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:20PM (#15242701)
    Could an open source be faster, more stable, and have better resource management than the Sun VM?

    Certainly couldn't do worse.

    • Re:Alternate VMs (Score:3, Informative)

      by ghakko ( 261165 )
      gcj (the GNU Java compiler) allows Java programs and bytecode to be compiled into native code. It can even generate statically-linked executables which do not require a runtime. These executables tend to start up much more quickly.

      Sun, on the other hand, does not allow anything of the sort with their own Java stack and has held off on open-sourcing because it sees its Java runtime environment as a beachhead through which it can colonize your system (especially on Windows, where it comes bundled with all s
  • by SickLittleMonkey ( 135315 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:28PM (#15242724)
    ... and just do it.

    WINE did it for Win32 and Mono did it for .NET, so Java *will* be open source some day anyway. Sun needs to get at least J2SE out there before .NET runs on every electronic device available.

    Now that Sharp's Zaurus has dropped Java, .NET is looking like the only alternative for managed coding on handheld platforms. (Cellphones are not yet good PDAs, ok?)

  • Bad idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cpuh0g ( 839926 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:30PM (#15242731)
    Why do people just assume that saying the magic words "open source" will automatically improve a particular piece of software? Rarely do the most vocal proponents of "open sourcing" something actually get involved and start contributing to the codebase. It's all about religion for the most part, unfortunately.

    I still fail to see the benefits of "open sourcing" Java. How will it be improved? It's not as if the engineers at Sun are stupid and don't know how to engineer enterprise software. Don't you think Sun has heard that same complaint from some major league/big $$$$$ customers and done everything they could to improve said performance?

    Even if they *do* open it up, Im sure the slashdot community will still hate them because they don't use a GPL variant license. Its a lose-lose situation for Sun, I don't get why they would even consider it. Is there a business case that will generate a 9-figure revenue jump from giving away the source for Java? I don't see it, but Im sure someone around here will happily clue me in.

    • Re:Bad idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by goldsounds ( 787265 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @12:20AM (#15242992) Homepage
      Rarely do the most vocal proponents of "open sourcing" something actually get involved and start contributing to the codebase. It's all about religion for the most part, unfortunately.

      Rarely do the most vocal critics of "open sourcing" something actually understand the rationale behind free software, which is NOT to have the best code, NOT to have the most secure code, NOT to ship a product the fastest, NOT to contribute to the code, NOT to get something for free, or even to become the "commodity" implementation of a specification.

      The best reason to "open source" something is purely and simply the freedom to access the code behind the software you are running; the freedom to change, or port to another platform, the software that you purchased or downloaded. This is the original philosophy of the Free Software Foundation, and the GNU project, who were collectively the inspiration for the "open source" movement.

      So if you're wondering why anything less than a GPL license is unsatisfactory to the hairy, unwashed free-software factinista, why don't YOU look up the facts and get a clue about the software freedoms that may, one day, mean that your descendants can read e-books, watch movies and examine the collected creative output of humanity unencumbered by the imposed obscurity of closed-source software, DRM and other impositions on our freedom.

      Yes, this is about religion. It's about an idealogical divide between people who would rather have free-as-in-beer convenient software, rather than free-as-in-freedom software that preserves your rights. Frankly, your arrogant pragmatism nauseates me.

    • Re:Bad idea (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dubl-u ( 51156 ) * <> on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @01:29AM (#15243265)
      I still fail to see the benefits of "open sourcing" Java. How will it be improved? It's not as if the engineers at Sun are stupid and don't know how to engineer enterprise software.

      Honestly, that's part of the problem.

      Enterprise developers are used to a very particular envelope. That involves putting up with a lot of large-company bullshit and unfriendly tools. People in other environments have different needs that are poorly served by Java. And actually enterprise people have those needs too; they're just used to suffering.

      Take all of the C#-inspired improvements in Java 1.5, for example. Many of them are about programmer convenience and improved expressiveness, neither of which mattered much until C# was a threat. Or consider EJB 3.0. EJB sucked for years until Hibernate, an open-source project, came along and beat the snot out of it. EJB 3.0 is basically a straight import of Hibernate.

      Or take Ruby on Rails: you can't write that in Java. Why? My theory is that in large companies, they'll let you go away for three months and build infrastructure. Plus, neither Sun nor an enterprise architecture group trusts programmers with the kind of heavy wizardry that Rails uses to make things happen. So again, Sun gets its ass kicked by an open-source project.

      If they really open it up, perhaps Sun can harness some of that power. But I'd bet they won't do it properly; Java reeks of "cathedral" thinking, and that papa-knows-best mentality is hard to shake.
    • Re:Bad idea (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Brandybuck ( 704397 )
      As a FreeBSD user, I can see a huge advantage to open sourcing it. Until a couple of weeks ago, it was ILLEGAL to distribute a FreeBSD binary of Java. Before then it was necessary to get an register at Sun, download the source, and build it. Since building Java requires Java, it also meant one had to temporarily use a Linux Java to bootstrap a native Java. I don't know if you've ever built Java, but it takes a DAMN LONG TIME!

      But now there is *ONE* version of Java approved for *ONE* version of FreeBSD. Sigh.
  • by vacorama ( 770618 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:31PM (#15242737) Homepage
    all the things java was supposed to be great for, all the portability, consumer gadgets, smart coffee machines, etc. there's where Sun could really benefit most from open sourcing. There just isn't that much of a reason to use it on the net anymore, unless you work at a financial institution, the technology at large is just moving too slow. But when hobbyists can easily adopt java to connect the things around the house, that will be a big push forward for everyone. and open sourcing java only speeds up that barrier that keeps most java programmers working on desktops and servers...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:32PM (#15242744)
    Open sourcing Java? Are you kidding me? Chaos would reign. Every month new features would crop up and we have to keep learning and learning and learning. Look at Ruby on Rails, new features every couple of days. Nobody can keep up.

    No no no. Let Sun handle Java.
  • by ip_freely_2000 ( 577249 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:39PM (#15242773)
    "One commentator said, "Sun should endorse PHP and go one step forward and make sure the 'P' languages run great on the JVM [Java virtual machine] by open-sourcing Java."

    Explain that to comment to me, please. It makes no sense.
    • I assume it means that Sun is better off persuading language developers to run the "P" of the LAMP stack on the JVM (instead of their own byte-code interpreters), growing with LAMP rather than competing head-on with it and losing market share to it.

      If Sun is to do that, they should do it before Parrot and the language implementations for it are finished - so that gives them plenty of time.

      There are a already lot language implementations that already target the JVM [], Sun would not lose by throwing a bit of mo
  • Oh, geesh..... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by deanj ( 519759 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:48PM (#15242827)
    "Would this move Java up the desirability scale in your eyes?"

    Java isn't the answer for everything. Either is C, C++, Perl, Python, Ruby, or PHP. Each language has it's strengths and weaknesses.

    Nobody should be making decisions about what programming language to use based on whether it's open source or not. There are freely available implementations of those languages.

    If you've got your company, that's another story, do what you want. If you're basing decision on open source ideology instead of what's best for your employer, you're not doing your job.

    Is the employer always right? Hell no. But making decisions based on open source ideology instead of the right technical decision, you'll be no better than the managers "upstairs" you like to complain about.
  • by javacowboy ( 222023 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:53PM (#15242859)
    Writing a fully compliant JVM takes a lot of time and a lot of effort, especially the class libraries. Sun spent years writing that code, and none of the JCP partners can be bothered re-writing it themselves.

    IBM, BEA, Oracle, etc pay Sun to license their source code so they can release compliant JVMs.

    So, it should be no suprised the the open *cough*IBM*cough* source community "demands" that Sun open source Java. Guess how much money a certain company would save getting free source code that they're paying to license now? In the same of "the open source community", they'd like nothing better than to get the #1 competitor's hard work for free so they stop having to pay them for it.

    The Java spec is open for anybody the re-implement, the source code is viewable by all, and the JDK is a free download. Sun has stated that they won't stand in the way of Apache Harmony or any other open source project that aims for a full open source implementation of the JVM/JDK spec.

    So what exactly is the problem?
    • by typical ( 886006 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @12:33AM (#15243052) Journal
      So what exactly is the problem?

      I don't have the Sun JDK on my Fedora system by default because of the Sun license.

      Meanwhile, Microsoft has been adopting ocaml as the next big language []. For once, Microsoft is technically ahead of its competitors -- ocaml [] (which Microsoft did not produce) is very fast and safe, and from a technical standpoint is much more impressive than C# and Java.

      Plus, ocaml can be used as a pure functional language -- such languages eliminate almost all the reason to use (error-prone, difficult to guarantee correctness with) threads. Pure functional code is inherently parallelizable any time the compiler can say "hey, no data dependency here".

      Ocaml is picking up quite a bit of steam -- there are a slew of open-source libraries for it out there, it's the only safe language that I'm aware of that provides performance comparable to C and C++, yadda yadda yadda. The INRIA ocaml compiler is open source (though, annoyingly, QPL instead of GPL). The runtimes and the stuff that you stuff into your code is LGPL. I didn't realize that Microsoft was backing it and integrating ocaml support into Visual Studio until quite recently, though. There have been gtk+ bindings for ocaml for a while, but MS may actually be ahead of the OSS world in providing complete ocaml bindings.

      If you've never used ocaml before, wait until the first time you break in the debugger at a problem...and then step *backwards* to watch the problem occurring. It's simply delightful. :-) Plus, it's even more concise than C (which is saying quite a bit), is safe and garbage-collected, has very strict typing (I've heard one ML fan say "If your code compiles, it's correct" in only half-jest)...ah.

      What's particularly satisfying is that C was well-designed -- for a specific set of systems and circumstances that don't apply to most application software development today. Ocaml is the first language in a long time that I've seen where I can say not just that the language has good ideas, but that it is really well-designed. It's also a lot better-suited to application development than C is.

      Gah...sorry. Ocaml gives me the warm fuzzies.
  • by oSand ( 880494 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @12:11AM (#15242945)
    Yeah, because what the world needs is more php.
  • Who cares? (Score:3, Informative)

    by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <> on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @12:19AM (#15242984)
    Really. At this point, who cares? If they did it at this late date it would speed up the process by a year or so at the cost of keeping Sun in the driver's seat. If they don't open their implementation GCJ will catch in a year or so and it will quickly become the reference implementation that everyone will track in server environments.

    Why do I say that? Because it is the one all non-Sun/Microsoft server environments (meaning Linux & *BSD) will be shipping. RedHat is already there. If you want a different Java you have to deal with the implications of having it co-exist with GCJ. Although they do use alternatives to make that managable, they ship the IBM JDK on their extras CD, not Sun's and the Sun packages almost certainly (haven't bothered to check a recent vintage) don't deal with that, their 'rpms' are brain damaged tarballs wrapped in a thin rpm wrapper.

    So it no longer matters what Sun does. Five years ago they could have turned around the fortunes of Java when it was under serious threats. Ten years ago OPening Java would have meant we wouldn't be dealing with .NET today. But that is history that could have been and wasn't, now Sun needs to just continue to quietly fade away.
  • by layer3switch ( 783864 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @12:19AM (#15242987)
    I fear, some smart ass Java programmer will fork off the Java OpenSource and give some crackpot name like "Javalava" or "JavaJ" or "JuJu Bean" or "Grande Capacino"

    I am scared...
  • by benjymouse ( 756774 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @12:43AM (#15243100)
    PHP is probably one of the best (worst) examples of what a language would look like if it was designed and developed incrementally in an open source community. It's hack upon hack upon hack. It's backward compatibility breaking changes is just about every point(!) release. Register_globals enyone? Magic quotes? Ambivalence towards types/objects - "type hinting". Arguably (and freely admitted by the designers) PHP is *not* a well designed language. It's a pragmatic ooops kind of language whose main advantage is a large (albeit somewhat amateurish) user base, and free availability. Java on the other hand - if anything - tends to be over-engineered. Swing is actually more flexible than even .NET Windows Forms (which was designed later). It's easier to combine widgets, e.g. put textboxes inside tree nodes, etc. Swing may be a little slow, but nothing Java has ever had that "hackish" feel to it. It's always well thought out. Same thing could be said about JSF, JDO and certainly EJB. Sun has always taken great care of minimizing BC breaking changes. Sun has always taken pride in being a little on the conservative side, i.e. only introduce well understood technologies. This has been received well by the enterprise developer community. PHP is nowhere near that yet. There's still tons of BC breaking changes in store for PHP developers when PHP finally will get namespaces, unicode support etc. To put it simple, the primary virtues of Java is nowhere to be found in PHP. And frankly, if PHP is the way a language looks like when it's designed by an open source community, open sourcing Java would possibly destroy it. A model like eclipse where it's formally open sourced but in reality still maintained by a single, competent organization might work, though.
  • Amazon is not LAMP (Score:5, Informative)

    by XaXXon ( 202882 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [noxxax]> on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @12:50AM (#15243125) Homepage
    Yared has long called for Sun to open Java, which, he said, is "great on the back end, but LAMP is great on the Web tier, as Google, Amazon, Yahoo, Flickr, MySpace and Friendster have shown.

    Amazon is not LAMP.
  • by IsThisBl**dyNameUniq ( 951317 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @12:54AM (#15243133)
    Two major development platforms are .Net and Java. One is fairly Open Standard but not open source - and gets demands for Open Source. The other is not even open standard yet people accept this. Maybe the real issue is people can imagine a world where Java is totally open but don't ever expect .Net to be so don't bother discussing it (The wonderful Mono efforts aside)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @01:08AM (#15243186)
    I am much happier with Sun's Java than most open source projects out there. It's very high quality. I know that I may offend some people, but I think it's higher quality than Linux (as an OS, not kernel). It's my opinion though. Sun managed to keep it standard is admirable. I think Sun also deserve to make money/own the property it created. Why not develop open source version of it instead of asking Sun to open source it? One answer I think is that Sun does not have enough resource to fix bug or bring out features quicker for something as large as Java. This is a good argument. I think it could be addressed differently than Open sourcing it. For example, manage the development better. Provide better incentive for users to submit bug fixes. Promote Java support service so that critical bugs a company needs to be fixed is fixed quicker (it's there, but maynot be promoted enough). I develop Java enough to know that it's very hard to have a perfect tool to test Java standard. For example, there's no clear spec for Gridbaglayout. What you see isn't enough to implement an exact replacement for what Java has. This is just a simple example to show that stardard is hard to make, hard to be changed quickly.

    This brings another point about Java standard. I remember JSF has many bugs that it tooks months to years to be fixed because the standard was broken. I think Sun needs to be much quicker than now to address these issue. These big problem should be fixed in a couple of weeks, or couple of months (2). Most people don't wait for a technology for a year or two to adopt it. They use alternative tech. This is usually a one way street and Sun will loose those customers.

  • by Fuzuli ( 135489 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @02:31AM (#15243454)
    Really, i mean it. At the moment, it's hard to find good developers who can leverage the advantages of java. What advantages i'm talking about? Let me explain. I am managing a team of developers (senior & junior) developing a large piece of software. Basicly it's a j2ee app, but with a simple desing, avoiding entity beans, using hibernate etc..
    what we have done for all the project has been following the specs. we did not do any tricks for windows or any other os. We did not do any tricks for any app server. And now, our solution is able to work on three major os's that we have targeted in the beginning, without even recompiling. we really wrote once, and we're running wherever we need.
    Against the more productive avarage .net developer, the cost of a longer development schedule is a hard thing to defend againgst the management. Please don't start the usual, java is more productive if you know how to do this or that. We usually can't find guys good enough for that. If you can, then it's good for you. Generally our developers are not much experienced or skilled, and this is again related to our budget. We have a certain amount of money, and we are unable to hire the super developers that can use java in a very productive way.
    this is our reality, and under these circumstances, the only way we can win against the ms shops doing the same job, is to use our platform independence. we can come up with zero licence versions of our software for small customers, using linux, jboss and postgresql, and it just works. the eliminated licence cost gives us many advantages, and this is how we are going to win. Other than that, there are many problems in real life, like customers falling in love with .net windows forms, ms office integration requests etc. agains the advantages of .net, we have the huge advantage of depending on specs, and providing better cost alternatives.
    so, go ahead, make java open source, and starting from the one man utility developer to IBM, let everyone change anything since they believe it is a better method of doing x,y,z... So 3 years from now, working on the new major version, my software will no longer be easily portable to other configs. It will be possible, but it will cost me much more than today. That cost my friends, will make us go down in the not so long run.
    Having a technology based on strict rules, has it's own advantages. in case of java, i believe these advantages far outweight the cons, but that's just me. However, i don't think my argument will be nonsense for many enterprise development projects.
  • by Builder ( 103701 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @08:02AM (#15244208)
    Sun don't allow redistribution or bundling of java JREs except under certain specific conditions. This makes java as a language unattractive to many organisations when compared with .NET and can also hurt developers tendering for work.

    Lets take a hypothetical new company. So far, all they've done is bought Windows and installed their workstation and server population. Now they need an application to do Foo.

    Team A propose a solution based on .Net. For the company, this means a single set of negotiations, one licence to review (Team A's app licence) and only 2 support contact points (Microsoft and Team A).

    Team B propose a solution based on Java. Now the company would have to have their lawyers review 2 sets of licences as opposed to one (Team A and Sun), and their support contact points climbs to 3. It also increases overall administrative hassle, as Java has to be patched / updated outside of their OS / application lifecycle.

    Team B automatically look less attractive to the company because their hidden costs are much higher. If Sun just allowed Team B to bundle the JRE with their application, this would go away. Of course, then the different problem of every application trying to install Java comes up, but that can be got around by providing a 'JRE bundled' and 'No JRE' version of the products.

    If you think that companies won't bother to review Sun's licence before installing Java, you'd be wrong... I've consulted at 2 different places now where they had their lawyers review the GPL and Java's licence before allowing deployment of products licenced under those.
  • AMD64 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SIGBUS ( 8236 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @08:34AM (#15244360) Homepage
    Maybe we'll finally see an AMD64 Java plugin [] for Firefox.
  • by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2006 @09:57AM (#15244827) Journal

    One commentator said, "Sun should endorse PHP and go one step forward and make sure the 'P' languages run great on the JVM [Java virtual machine] by open-sourcing Java.

    You are free to write a PHP Interpreter which is Open Source and runs on a JVM ... Jython shows this for Python.

    I frankly don't know if it benefits me, or anyone, if Java is OSS. However it would be horrible if we face what we currently have with C++, litterally hundrets of compilers where everyone implements his favorite subset of the language definition.


Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.