Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Sematext Blog, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, PagerDuty Blog, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

J2SE and Open Source - Living Together in Perfect Harmony

Preserves the integrity of the language

Open source and J2SE,
living together in perfect harmony
Side by side on my computer keyboard,
Oh yeah, why can't we?

Java has been the springboard for some of the most successful open source projects today including JBoss, NetBeans, and Eclipse. Several folks though have felt the missing piece was an actual open source implementation of the runtime. Some view Sun's stewardship of Java and the JCP as being too controlling, while others believe it is an essential benign rule that preserves the integrity of the language. The view taken by Sun execs is that the JCP is essential to preserve portability while preventing forks in the language (as Microsoft once attempted with proprietary extensions). Should these occur, they could compromise a user's expectation that a Java program, once written, can run anywhere. Advocates of open source, however, deny this would occur and cite successful projects in which the benefits of fast innovation and widespread adoption have been fueled by having an open source community of developers who drive the implementation forward.

Earlier this year the Apache Foundation announced the Harmony project. Its aims are to write an open source version of J2SE from scratch. Given that specifications for J2SE are freely available, one question might be why such a move hasn't occurred before? In the FAQ for Harmony, Gier Magnusson from Apache states: "While the Java Community Process has allowed open source implementations of JSRs for a few years now, Java 5 is the first of the J2SE specs that we are able to do due to licensing reasons" (http://mail-archives.apache.org/mod_mbox/incubator-general/ [email protected]%3E).

Rather than reinvent the wheel, after the initial announcement it seems that the plan is to try to pollinate the project with code and ideas from existing Java runtimes. At JavaOne Geir said: "There is a lot of software out there that we are hoping can be donated. We are hoping that we will get seeded with some code from existing production Virtual Machines." This is an invitation to the big guns of software and mom and pop developers, many of whom have either privately or openly tinkered with creating their own implementations of Java.

There are several potential Harmony contributors who might be in Geir's sights to step up to the plate. BEA has a very good JVM implementation in JRockit (www.bea.com/framework.jsp?CNT=index.htm&FP=/content/products/jrockit), while Kaffe (www.kaffe.org/) is a clean room implementation of the JVM.

Making Harmony succeed, however, requires more than just a JVM, as J2SE contains many lines of code in the actual class libraries, all of which need API compatible reimplementation. Due to licensing and IP issues this most likely must be done in an environment without reference to the existing Sun J2SE source code base, so the hill to climb is steep and high one.

I usually don't pay much attention to the cries of doom issued by execs of any company that has a vested interest in whether open source Java should succeed or fail, but I was surprised to hear James Gosling, when asked about Harmony, raise the issue of why Apache wants the Harmony license to be different from the existing J2SE one. He said: "I understand why they would like it to be different. From our point of view that would actually be more destructive than helpful. It boils down to forking: they believe that the ability to fork is an absolutely critical right" (www2.vnunet.com/lite/News/1163182). His voice is one I respect and should be listened to as words of wisdom and caution so the worst case scenario doesn't become a reality. To ensure compatibility with J2SE, however, the harmony FAQ states that it will be verified against the J2SE Test Compatibility Kit. The TCK is published by the JCP and is the yardstick used by all ratified J2SE integrations (JCP or commercial) that to date has ensured no fragmentation exists and no compromise of integrity has occurred.

Whatever the outcome of the Harmony project, while I do understand the concerns of those who are frightened of fragmentation in the language, I am more excited by the prospects of having an open source implementation J2SE. This will enjoy the same benefits that other open source projects have experienced, where a community of like-minded, smart individuals who share the same goal can participate equally in the same code and knowledge base of ideas and innovation. Ideas, bug reports, and schedules are transparent and can be iterated in public toward the best solution. The momentum of the project becomes fueled by the feedback loop created by an alliance of like-minded individuals in a partnership of conviction. To those who don't believe this will work, ask not if the glass is half empty, but listen instead to the lyrical genius of Sir Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder:

We all know that people are the same where ever you go
There is good and bad in everyone
Learn to live, we learn to give each other
What we need to survive, together alive

More Stories By Joe Winchester

Joe Winchester, Editor-in-Chief of Java Developer's Journal, was formerly JDJ's longtime Desktop Technologies Editor and is a software developer working on development tools for IBM in Hursley, UK.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
JoeWinchester 08/16/05 11:46:40 AM EDT

Hi Alex,
But there are already different versions of the JRE created by different vendors for their particular hardware platforms. Sun does not create the Z-OS or iSeries JRE. What keeps these together is the TCK and given that Java works now cross platform, all that is different is that there can be an open-source version of J2SE. James' comments were more about the fact that open-source J2SE would create forking and this is something that I agree with we don't want. What I don't understand fully is why forking is more likely with open-source that occured before with different JRE's being created commercially.

Alex 08/12/05 02:45:35 AM EDT

I agree with James Gosling's concern - there will always be holes in any specifications.

If there is only one single implementation, such undocumented behaviours can still be utilised after some preliminary investigations; but if more than one implementations is used by the majority of end-users, these undocumented portions could have different behaviour.

It may sound as if we shouldn't have used any unspecified "features" in a specification, but they are often the only workaround for certain tasks to date, due to the deficiency in the spec. Only by having a single major implementation can we do away with these problems easier, if at all.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
SYS-CON Events announced today Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Adobe has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Adobe is changing the world though digital experiences. Adobe helps customers develop and deliver high-impact experiences that differentiate brands, build loyalty, and drive revenue across every screen, including smartphones, computers, tablets and TVs. Adobe content solutions are used daily by millions of co...
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Pulzze Systems was happy to participate in such a premier event and thankful to be receiving the winning investment and global network support from G-Startup Worldwide. It is an exciting time for Pulzze to showcase the effectiveness of innovative technologies and enable them to make the world smarter and better. The reputable contest is held to identify promising startups around the globe that are assured to change the world through their innovative products and disruptive technologies. There w...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...