Oracle is 'taking good care of Java post-Sun'

Oracle is 'taking good care of Java post-Sun'

Summary: Like it or loathe it, Oracle has been in charge of Java for two and a half years now, and things are looking good, according to the analyst house IDC

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TOPICS: Oracle, Open Source
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When Oracle announced it was buying Sun and taking stewardship of Java there were a lot of concerned open-source software fans. But, two and a half years on, Oracle is doing a fine job of steering Java in the right direction, according to analysts IDC.

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Oracle has taken good care of Java since it acquired it from Sun, IDC has said.

"Oracle was thought by many, especially in the open-source software community, to be the antithesis of the type of company that should run Java. As a result, the Sun acquisition raised alarms in the Java community," Al Hilwa, programme director of application development software at IDC, said in a report focusing on the acquisition on Thursday.

"The concerns were around whether Oracle would keep Java implementations in open source, whether it would seek to monetise Java more aggressively by increasing its licensing fees, or how Oracle would govern Java and whether it would do so with sufficient community input," he added.

Contrary to some people's expectations, Hilwa believes Java enthusiasts' worst fears have not been realised and that Oracle is taking good care of the project.

"Two and a half years after Oracle closed on the Sun acquisition in January 2010, many of the fears of the broader Java community have not materialised. Oracle has navigated most decisions with a deliberate and decisive approach," Hilwa said in the report.

During that time, Hilwa added, Oracle has taken steps to decisively end a long-running dispute about the approval of Apache Harmony's implementation of Java and brought key companies such as Apple, IBM, and SAP to the OpenJDK open-source implementation of Java.

Hilwa added that by splitting and shipping the planned improvements to Java SE 7 in two releases, Oracle effectively "made more significant advancements after the Sun acquisition than in the two-and-a-half years prior".

Not without problems

However, Oracle's steering of Java has not been without problems. At the time of the SE 7 launch, the Apache Lucene search engine project management committee warned that the release contained bugs that could crash Java virtual machines or affect applications.

Similarly, in December 2010 the Apache Foundation made the decision to quit the Java Community Process steering committee as a result of the decision to approve Java SE 7, saying that it had become a proprietary platform under Oracle's direction.

Despite the overall positive tone of Hilwa's analysis, he warned that Java is under increasing pressure from competing developer ecosystems, including Microsoft's, and from the wider web ecosystem's flexibility, diverse technologies and lightweight scripting languages.

"To remain relevant and attractive to new developers, Java must evolve on a faster schedule and effectively support the ongoing industry transformation into mobile, cloud, and social applications," he said.

Topics: Oracle, Open Source

Ben Woods

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32 comments
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  • "steering Java in the right direction"

    down the plughole hopefully.
    jorwell
    • I believe Ben

      If Ben says Oracle is making Java great, then I believe him because he is an expert. I also believe the IDC expert. Java has been very innovative lately, I think?
      gomigomijunk
  • We've already taken care of Java in our org. Uninstall! And at home

    on entire families personal machines. Nobody at work or home has missed it one bit. Anybody thinking of purchasing an app of any kind at this point should ensure it doesn't require java for any of it's components.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Count me in

      +1
      Joe_Raby
    • I only run java on my GNU/Linux systems

      It's much, MUCH safer than running Java on Windows.

      P.S. Microsoft, with .NET, needs to watch out for the wider web ecosystem's flexibility, diverse technologies and lightweight scripting languages too.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • Not really, no.

        There are a lot of Java exploits and Java is cross-platform. A lot of the Java-coded malware (which excludes dropper payloads that are just Win32 malware) target all OS's.

        Also, .Net spans both "heavy" native applications as well as server-side HTML web apps that run on IIS but can contain C# and VB.net code (but the client doesn't need anything special to access it).

        There's also .Net Micro Framework which runs directly on very low-memory ARM processors (it's about 40KB).
        Joe_Raby
    • Mac Java

      I get free unlimeted computer backup from my insurrance company. The software is based on Java and is availible for Windows, Mac and Linux. So I need the java for it to work.
      Oden79
    • Java is mainly for servers and Android

      You obviously don't get what Java is about and only associate it with some crappy Java desktop app you once downloaded, or an even crappier Java applet that you encountered in 1997 and which was too much for your sorry Pentium 1 with 16MB of memory.

      Java is thriving on the server side and is powering a lot of the most heavily used websites out there, like Twitter and Facebook. It also powers every Android phone out there. You're probably using Java each and every day without even knowing it.
      John Hubbart
    • Java is mainly for servers and Android

      You obviously don't get what Java is about and only associate it with some crappy Java desktop app you once downloaded, or an even crappier Java applet that you encountered in 1997 and which was too much for your sorry Pentium 1 with 16MB of memory.

      Java is thriving on the server side and is powering a lot of the most heavily used websites out there, like Twitter and Facebook. It also powers every Android phone out there. You're probably using Java each and every day without even knowing it.
      John Hubbart
  • That can't be true

    I'm told that Oracle was just evil.
    Michael Alan Goff
  • New in 2013, J2EE licenses now $1999 per developer

    Don't worry Oracle will not let you down.
    dtdono0
    • New since 2006, it's Java EE and it's totally free (as in free beer)

      Under what rock have you been living?

      J2EE has been deprecated since 2006 and since then Java EE took over. There are tons of free and open source implementations of it (JBoss, TomEE, Geronimo, Resin, ...) where Oracle has no say whatsoever over. Oracle had its own free and open source implementation, GlassFish for which you don't have to pay a single dime in licenses.

      Please drag yourself into the modern era.
      John Hubbart
  • Some Days the Talkback Comments Are So Insightful

    And then some days, it's like today.

    Disable java in the browser and vet all uncontrolled inputs within outward facing java-powered services and you're good.

    I'm not surprised if Oracle has been okay for java developers. Java is a key language for building interfaces to the Oracle database backend. Messing with the language will irritate a lot of customers.

    Lack of tail-code recursion and continued type erasure for back porting of generics is a problem with the jvm and its flagship language. That's what caused Fortress to be shuttered. But, java is a widely understood language with legacy applications and so it will always be around.
    DannyO_0x98
    • RE: Some Days the Talkback Comments Are So Insightful

      Java is also very important to IBM and many of IBM's customers. And is one big reason that IBM attempted to acquire Sun before Oracle finally did. In addition, IBM sided with Oracle to shut down the Apache Harmony project in exchange for increased control of the Java language.

      As for disabling java in the browser, that's fine (as well as very good advice) *if* a user does not regularly visit web sites that serve Java applets. Not everyone has the luxury of disabling java in the browser. What I like about Oracle's proprietary java on GNU/Linux is that it does not automatically hook into my system with a new service, a new start-up program and browser plug-ins. I have to manually create a soft link (as root) to enable the java plug-in in my browser. In other words, the java plug-in is disabled by default.

      P.S. I also use a JDBC driver on my GNU/Linux systems to access Microsoft SQL Server 2008 on Windows. I heartily recommend the java-based SQuirreL SQL application for this.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Best to miss out Java entirely

      You don't really need it in an Oracle environment.

      It is best to put the logic in the software that is directly based on predicate logic: the RDBMS. Java is no longer important in a modern RDBMS environment and should be discontinued as obsolete.
      jorwell
      • Java is dead, again!

        Dear Sir,
        I pity you... Keeping a business login in RDBMS... Tons of untested stored procedures.. Migration to NoSql? What NoSql?
        But even more, I pity the people who have to support systems "designed" by you...( presuming you ever design anything)
        Ashalabad
        • No real need for stored procedures

          After all SQL is a declarative language, not a procedural one.

          Java lacks support for fundamental logical constructs like predicates and operators like quantification. It is therefore wholly unsuitable for expressing business (or any other kind) of logic.

          Java is a low level systems programming language, not suitable for applications work.

          As for NoSQL, well firstly an RDBMS doesn't have to use SQL, in fact SQL is a very poor implementation of the relational model. On the other hand abandoning the power, flexibility and simplicity of the relational model for something as crude and old fashioned as key value pairs strikes me as astoundingly retrograde.

          The future is declarative, not object oriented, get used to it.

          I've designed several large systems and middleware really isn't worth all the complexity and overhead.
          jorwell
      • Bad idea

        Separation of concerns my friend. The database is the database, the application is the application. The only logic that belongs in the database should be concerned with accessing data and maintaining integrity. What you just said flies in the face of every current architectural paradigm.
        bmonsterman
        • Maybe architectural paradigms aren't a good idea?

          As I stated above, the relational model is based directly on predicate logic.

          Middleware is generally totally lacking in any support for standard logical constructs and instead relies heavily on procedural operations like sequence and loops.

          In my experience 95% of what Java programmers consider to be impossible in SQL can generally be written in under 15 minutes in SQL, usually with a single statement.

          It's time to get away from architecture and concentrate on logic.

          Can you clearly define what an application is?
          jorwell
  • Good luck sidestepping Java

    Consider yourself lucky if you can pull it off for long. You have about the same luck interfacing the modern Web, in all its crash! bam! boom! splendor, without it as you do Flash.

    Many have tried, even more have failed.
    klumper