Java Going Open Source?

By Blane Warrene

This has been the buzz over the last few weeks as Sun mulls around on just how to take Java to the next step. Rather than rehashing what most of us have read elsewhere — I went to a seasoned Java developer in the field who has worked on web-based Java applications for the likes of General Electric as well as in financial services and the gaming industry.

Tyson Lowery, senior developer and owner of Teelo Technologies, suggests that many developers don’t fret over Java status as the software development kits (SDK) often meet their needs. When more is needed. numerous libraries are available that fill in gaps.

“There are Java libraries out there for a lot of add-on functionality. It would be interesting to see which of these could be included into the core of Java,” Lowery said. “For example, XML parsers are a seperate 3rd party library. I think if Sun includes these and other similar libraries into the core, it would be a help because developers won’t have to install and download additional JARS to use these classes.”

According to Lowery, the positive impact could be to make Java’s new features come more quickly in the future. He cites type-safe enumeration, available in Java 5.

Lowery explains that this is the ability to put an object into a List such as an ArrayList or Stack and know you are getting that same type of object back when you retrieve the object from the List.

“For years, programmers have been developing their own libraries and methods to cover this. I think it would have found itself in the core of Java a long time ago had Java been open source,” he added.

For his part, Lowery suggests there may be a few inefficiencies that developers could help find with Java classes – but at this stage of the language he thinks these would be few and far between.

“But overall, I can’t see this being a game changer for most programmers,” Lowery said.

  • Luke

    I just installed Fedora Core 2 on 2 systems and I had to download the IBM java runtime because Fedora doesn’t come with one. Why is it that Linux distros generally don’t come with a decent Java virtual machine. It seems that Fedora has a customized version of open office that runs without a jre installed. Isn’t it because of licensing clashes that Java isn’t available by default on Linux. Surely Sun can come up with something to correct this shortcoming? Imagine having to download extra components to get your C programs to work…

  • Bob

    Luke, Linux distros like Fedora Core don’t have Java enabled because it is a proprietary application. Fedora Core (and others) only inclue packages that are open source.

  • veekay

    Nothing exemplifies the situation so well as OpenOffice and Java that both come ultimately from the organization – Sun. If there was an open source JDK, Java would find a lot more acceptance in the world!


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