Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Ian Khan, 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
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/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.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Ca...
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, introduced the technologies required for implementing these idea...
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.
Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, represent...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IoT Now has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
SYS-CON Events announced today that WineSOFT will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Based in Seoul and Irvine, WineSOFT is an innovative software house focusing on internet infrastructure solutions. The venture started as a bootstrap start-up in 2010 by focusing on making the internet faster and more powerful. WineSOFT’s knowledge is based on the expertise of TCP/IP, VPN, SSL, peer-to-peer, mob...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, discussed the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports.
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dataloop.IO, an innovator in cloud IT-monitoring whose products help organizations save time and money, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Dataloop.IO is an emerging software company on the cutting edge of major IT-infrastructure trends including cloud computing and microservices. The company, founded in the UK but now based in San Fran...