Java: A Questionable Future

Java: A Questionable Future

Posted on September 27, 2010 0 Comments

On my flight back from Oracle OpenWorld, I’m left with several conflicting impressions of what I heard during Thomas Kurian’s keynote and throughout JavaOne. What’s unsettling about it is that I’m both excited and worried about the future of Java. Let’s start with the positive.

The investment in Java FX and product roadmap is promising – enhancements to Java to take advantage of multicore processing power (JSR-166), faster networks (think infiniband), and very large storage are all things we've needed in the language for some time. Having a large company push it should be good for the community. Also, we have a firm promise of two new open source releases of the JDK in the pipe. The Java community has waited with baited breath for many of these updates, and they’re finally happening!

On the flip side, I’m really nervous about Oracle’s control over Java. Will they play nice with other platforms that aren’t owned by Oracle, or push people toward integrating within the Oracle stack (I could venture a guess)? A good example of what I’m talking about is Oracle’s stance on Linux. After launching their new unbreakable Linux kernel this week, will they be pushing people away from Red Hat Enterprise Linux? While they claim that they’ll remain open, who knows what will happen when the rubber meets the road? Oracle already said that they will decrease compatibility tests for Red Hat, making it a pain for current users to do anything but convert to an Oracle solution.

If something similar to the Linux debacle happens to the Java community, we’re going to end up with a much more fragmented Java universe. What I don’t want to see happen is a reversion to the Stone Age of C++, where every platform had its own quirks developers had to deal with; if Java forks between vendors like IBM and Oracle we could see something like this happen. I’m all for making hardware and software work seamlessly together (I’m a huge Apple fan!)  but degrading the well-established Java community seems like an irresponsible prospect (not to mention a huge missed opportunity for Oracle to build new customer loyalty by doing the right thing).

So Java community, keep the pressure on Oracle to do the right thing and keep Java open!

Jesse Davis

Jesse Davis

As Senior Director of Research & Development, Jesse is responsible for the daily operations, product development initiatives and forward looking research for Progress DataDirect. Jesse has spent nearly 20 years creating enterprise data products and has served as an expert on several industry standards including JDBC, J2EE, DRDA and OData. Jesse holds a bachelor of science degree in Computer Engineering from North Carolina State university.


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