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IBM Collaborating With Open Source Java Project

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the big-corp-and-little-guy-working-together dept.

IBM 149

lord_rob the only on writes "According to news.com, IBM has begun participating in the open-source Java project Harmony and intends to contribute code to the initiative, according to a Big Blue executive. At this point, IBM's participation is limited to thoughts on design, but the company has plans to contribute code to the project in the future." From the article: "We really like to see the community get started, and they're still working out the rough edges of what they want to deliver. And we didn't want to disrupt that,"

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Open Source Java (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13134983)

What's it all about, is it good or is it whack?

Re:Open Source Java (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13135070)

OPINON NOT FOUND

Must query for slashdot mentaility.

Unable to form own opinion.

I'm too slow to first rsot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13134985)

I'm too slow. *sigh*

-----
Do you like ketchup? I just found the most hilarious stand-up monologue [webgentry.com] all about ketchup. Go read it!

first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13134988)

first

F! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13134990)

Wow!

Eclipse? (3, Informative)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135007)

This should line up with their efforts with Eclipse, too. I might get into a little Java programming if the environment were open-source.

Re:Eclipse? (2, Insightful)

Rhoon (785258) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135058)

I always thought Eclipse was open source... I could be wrong on that. I do however hope they plan on making the Java Doc inside the code better than Eclipse's piss poor attempt(was there even an attempt?). There wouldn't be a need to write tutorials on how to use the SWT/JFace APIs if the Java Doc was complete... or even there in some cases.

Re:Eclipse? (4, Informative)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135126)

Eclipse is indeed open source.
In fact, fedora core 4 comes with a natively compiled version of eclipse and a 100% open source jvm implementation.
Still needs quite a bit of work, but has definetly come a long way

Re:Eclipse? (2, Informative)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135346)

Need I mention the Eclipse that natively comes with Fedora redhat core4 crashes the OS immediately on execute. So many forums out there cover the hardcore details. To sum it up, Fedora core grows faster than people can test it. It's becoming M$-ish buggy.

Re:Eclipse? (2, Insightful)

delire (809063) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135485)


I'll say it again. Fedora will always be buggy, unstable and untested. That is what it was designed to do, serve as a community testing ground for products and services that may or may not make it into the commercially supported enterprise editions.

Redhat themselves are very clear about this on the Fedora project page [redhat.com]

Stop complaining about Fedora and get a tested, 'stable', desktop focussed distribution. Most importantly, stop encouraging those new to Linux to try it.

Re:Eclipse? (1)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135870)

Crashes the OS?

I have found it to be too buggy to use for java at work, so I'm still doing most development using regular eclipse on top of the Sun jvm.
Never had it crash the entire OS.

Only played a little with the c++ dev environment, so I can't vouch for stablility there.
I am looking forward to trying out native eclipse to do some php development once phpeclipse.sourceforge.net upgrades to the 3.1 eclipse version from 3.0.x

Re:Eclipse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13135499)

One problem with this is that if you've installed the open source JVM implementations, which are turned on in a default install, then you go try to install Sun Java it's a real pain in the ass. I really couldn't see any real Java developers using one of the current open source implementations simply because they're so far behind, lack so many important features and are known for memory leaks. Until we have an open source JVM that can do everything Sun's can do and just as well then people will use it and not until then. Harmony hopefully will be able to accomplish this.

Or Sun could just stop being idiots and release the last bit of code that isn't open source.

Re:Eclipse? (1)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 9 years ago | (#13136066)

I agree. Fedora splits up java stuff in different places and puts the java executable in /usr/bin. To override this you need to put JAVA_HOME/bin before it in your PATH.
If the whole thing was somewhere like in /usr/local/gpl_jdk then you could just have a symlink for it as /usr/local/java and also have things like /usr/local/jdk1.4 and /usr/local/jdk1.5 in there.
PATH could then just include /usr/local/java/bin and you could easily switch JVMs just by changing the symlink.

Re:Eclipse? (1)

cached (801963) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135062)

What's this with people's bias towards open source? Sure, it is very nice to know how things work, but atleast I find it wrong to blindly bias yourself towards a certain language/platform for that reason alone. One clear example I note is Visual C#. The lone fact that it was made by MSFT (which you all know is basically the arch nemesis of the open source community) causes it to not be as popular as some other languages, even though some people that avoid it call it a "great language".

Re:Eclipse? (3, Insightful)

bluGill (862) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135165)

I'm a programmer. I've been burned by bugs in my tools before. Sure MOST bugs are my fault, but once in a while I'm pretty sure it is the tool's fault. With open source I can fix those bugs and move one. With closed source I'm at the mercy of vendors who rarely care about my project.

Then too, a lot of documentation is bad. Either it doesn't exist, or the program doesn't work like the docs say. The source code is definitive about what is really going to happen, and I can read it. IF you are not a programmer it doesn't matter because you can't read the source, but I can, so it matters.

Re:Eclipse? (2, Insightful)

andersonbd1 (666948) | more than 9 years ago | (#13136604)

Have you ever programmed in java before? We're talking about the jvm/compiler/and core api. All 3 of these aspects are very well documented, and all 3 perform as they should. I challenge you to find a bug and if you do, I'm sure Sun will fix it. A certian open-source mentality doesn't apply here. Sun pays professional developers to develop java - you're not just going to run into bugs here and there that you could have easily fixed if it were open source. I love open source, use it everyday, and wish sun would release their code under a different license, but at least make a valid argument.

Re:Eclipse? (2, Insightful)

evilpenguin (18720) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135211)

There is an open source C#. Take a look at Mono [mono-project.com] , which is a completely open source CLR and C# compiler. They have implemented most of .NET (although not the Windows GUI, they have a GTK GUI which also runs on Windows, so you can write C# on *nix and run them on Windows directly).

I have read that Mono is complete enough to run VB ASP.NET applications natively on a *nix box. (But not VB GUI apps since they don't have the Windows GUI classes implemented).

As for "Open Source" bias, it ranges from a political belief that all software should be Free (Stallman), to a more practical belief that no one shoul be subject to proprietary lock-in, which is awlays a risk with a single-vendor closed product.

For some it is just the desire that software be free (as in pay no money for it).

I personally subscribe to the "Free Software" philosophy. I believe that we should always be able to see, use, and extend the code we use.

This is why whenever possible I release my code under the GPL. (Mind you, I haven't put anything out there that anyone has really wanted to use! But it is there, in no small part as payment for all the great Free Software I have been able to use.)

Re:Eclipse? (1)

cached (801963) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135426)

Don't get me wrong, I support open source as well, but in cases where you are going to view the source rarely, if ever, why bother? In other words, if someone has an annoying bug, it should be easier to google it than to look at the source, understand what is going on, then either modifying the compiler to fit your needs or just modifying your code. Thanks for pointing out Mono though.

Re:Eclipse? (3, Insightful)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135813)

Simple - what happens if the platform goes away? What happens if microsoft moves away from .NET, and you want to move to a new platform (PowerPC for example). Hell, what happens if 20 years from now you find you need an old tool you made in C#? Will it still work? Will there be a compatible .NET run-time for 256-bit computers?

Part of the commercial reason to use opensource is to future-proof yourself against long-term eventualities like this. If Java decides to stop letting you bundle the JVM with your OS, then you can't provide OpenOffice anymore without paying them. If MS stops supporting a platform, then you're screwed if there's an unworkable bug and you're stuck on the platform.

Fundamentally, when you invest labour on designing products and infrastructure based on a closed-license platform, you gain fealty to them. They now control you - they can make you lose the use of the product of your labour. They can stop providing their product, they can refuse to fix un-workaround-able bugs, or they can just go out of business and leave you high and dry.

With opensource, you can lose your support provider, but you can never lose the platform - at worst, you may have to maintain it yourself.

Yes, you may even have a solid, bullet-proof contract with your provider - but what happens when they go out of business?

Do you know how to read? (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 9 years ago | (#13136439)

Simple - what happens if the platform goes away? What happens if microsoft moves away from .NET, and you want to move to a new platform (PowerPC for example).

Who gives a crap - I have never touched the Microsoft .Net runtime. You don't need Microsoft anything to run or use Mono.

Hell, what happens if 20 years from now you find you need an old tool you made in C#? Will it still work? Will there be a compatible .NET run-time for 256-bit computers?

You re-compile Mono for the 256 bit computer?

it is called open Source for a reason - it is open. Nothing ties mono to anything else, unless you argue patents, which could be applied to any other VM implementation as well so it is basically a moot point.

Re:Do you know how to read? (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 9 years ago | (#13136529)

Don't get me wrong, I support open source as well, but in cases where you are going to view the source rarely, if ever, why bother?

This sounds like an argument saying that whether or not a product is open-sourced is irrelevant.

My point wasn't arguing against .net - I use it happily, and am comfortable knowing that Mono is available. I'm just pointing out the folley of people who say "why does it matter if product X is open-source?" -- One should avoid basing a product on a platform where only commercial impelemntations are available.

Re:Eclipse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13136607)

Yes, you may even have a solid, bullet-proof contract with your provider - but what happens when they go out of business?

It's called Escrow.

Re:Eclipse? (2, Insightful)

A.K.A_Magnet (860822) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135964)

Grandparent said it, he (as well as many) support the Free Software philisophy, it's not the same thing as OpenSource (which is more a label aimed at entreprises).

Each and every free software activist want the opening of ALL source code, no matter if they're actually wanting to have a look at it. As one of many, I don't see any area where I woudln't free my code, but unlike some, I can understand that resources may be non-free (e.g, in a videogame, while the engine should be free, say dual licenced GPL / and commercial licence for the company to make some money, like MySQL, I understand that graphics and creation, music, could be non-free). It doesn't mean music, art in general shouldn't be free but it always depends on your business model.

So to say, Free software isn't about the ability of the user to fix a bug. It's not about users at all, in fact. It's about the software itself, and its freedom. This is why we talk about philosophy when it comes to free software, since it is a movement of idea, whereas opensource is a business model that uses free software (and which was at first aimed at advertising free software).

Programming languages are not about being free. They're about being standards (good) or not (bad). People in the free software community want these languages *implementations* (ie compilers, libraries) to be free because some Linux distro (eg Debian) refuse to have non-free packages (at least in the main branch). See the Debian Social Contract [debian.org] .

Re:Eclipse? (2, Insightful)

halivar (535827) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135248)

I might get into a little Java programming if the environment were open-source.

Why wait when Mono is open-source and C# kicks ass? I say this having done both server and GUI Java development for 5 years, and a having been a very vocal detractor of C# at its inception, until I finally tried it out.

Try Mono; I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Eclipse is Open Source (1)

Nailer (69468) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135593)

And can be built and run on a completely OSS Java stack using GCJ, thanks to the work of a whole bunch of guys at Red Hat.

It ships with Fedora Core 4 as the main IDE and Red Hat sells commercial support for it as Red Hat Developer Suite.

harmony / kaffe (1)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135014)

What is the relationship between Harmony and Kaffe [kaffe.org] ? Anybody know?

Re:harmony / kaffe (1)

olafura (539592) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135299)

Kaffe started before anything and had a company behind it at one time. Then GNU Classpath started and Kaffe joined that effort. Now Harmony has arrived and they are going to use GNU Classpath, and Kaffe fokes are helping with the design. If that answare your question.

Re:harmony / kaffe (1)

thisisauniqueid (825395) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135994)

You mean both Classpath and Kaffe will be relicensed under the APL?

Re:harmony / kaffe (1)

psykocrime (61037) | more than 9 years ago | (#13136197)

You mean both Classpath and Kaffe will be relicensed under the APL?

I don't think that's a "given" at this point, but some of the people who are involved with both Classpath and Kaffe, have expressed support for, and interest in, Harmony. Whether that will extend to those projects actually offering their code to Harmony or not, is still up in the air, AFAIK.

Re:harmony / kaffe (1)

arose (644256) | more than 9 years ago | (#13137027)

According to this mail [apache.org] the ASF is ok with the current GNU Classpath licensing, whatever that means is a different question.

Re:harmony / kaffe / sablevm (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13135318)

Not to mention the sablevm project, who already collaborate with Classpath...

answering my own question (2, Interesting)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 9 years ago | (#13136394)

Once I found the Harmony site from someone else's post (hint: it's in the Apache incubator, not a full-fledged project yet), I saw this in the FAQ:

13) Does this compete with Kaffe and Classpath?

People from Kaffe and Classpath are helping start this project! Their experience in the open source VM and class library is invaluable, and they bring problems that the larger architecture community discussion can help solve.

We will have an implementation under the Apache License, but we think of this as complementary rather than competitive. And when we solve a few small license interoperability issues, we expect we'll be able to complement each other even more.

So, it sounds like a cooperative deal between various players. I've been hoping for an OSS JVM because there is no Java for some of the platforms I use. Having a few big-name drivers behind it will definitely help.

Talk about fragmenting the standard... (4, Insightful)

jarich (733129) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135075)

Sun's reasoning for not open sourcing Java is that they didn't want to fragment the Java language with competing verions of Java.

Looks like ~not~ open sourcing Java is fragmenting the Java language after all!

Re:Talk about fragmenting the standard... (1)

Knome_fan (898727) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135111)

As Sun is still controlling what can be called Java and what not I don't see a reason why this would lead to fragmentation, as I don't see why Sun open sourcing it would have let to fragmentation.

Re:Talk about fragmenting the standard... (3, Insightful)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135243)

No matter how compliant Harmony purports to be it is still going to be different than Sun's JVM. Any sysadmin that has ever had to juggle multiple JVMs can tell you that Sun's Write Once Run Anywhere motto can quickly become Write Once Debug Everywhere.

It's also entirely possible that Harmony won't even try for complete compliance. Don't forget that IBM is still pushing their non-Java SWT instead of Swing. Red Hat already has its own Java stack that's good enough to run most Java Free Software (including Eclipse), but no one is pretending that it's Java.

Sun has stated that it doesn't want to "free" its J2SE stack because it is afraid that source availability would lead to forks. However, no fork of Sun's code is likely to diverge from Sun's fold as much as a completely new Free Software Java-like implementation.

Re:Talk about fragmenting the standard... (3, Insightful)

Knome_fan (898727) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135458)

"No matter how compliant Harmony purports to be it is still going to be different than Sun's JVM. Any sysadmin that has ever had to juggle multiple JVMs can tell you that Sun's Write Once Run Anywhere motto can quickly become Write Once Debug Everywhere."

But this is a general problem of having different JVMs. So now also having one that is open source doesn't change the situation in any way.

"It's also entirely possible that Harmony won't even try for complete compliance. Don't forget that IBM is still pushing their non-Java SWT instead of Swing. Red Hat already has its own Java stack that's good enough to run most Java Free Software (including Eclipse), but no one is pretending that it's Java."

It's possible, but not very likely considering that the statet goal of Harmony is to "create a compatible implementation of J2SE 5".
As to Red Hat, it isn't Java, because it isn't mature enough and only implements parts of the Java specs. But doesn't this example show that your worries are unfounded, as Red Hat is neither trying to create something different from Java, nor to call something Java that doesn't meat the criteria?

"Sun has stated that it doesn't want to "free" its J2SE stack because it is afraid that source availability would lead to forks. However, no fork of Sun's code is likely to diverge from Sun's fold as much as a completely new Free Software Java-like implementation."

Again, you are supposing it is a free software java-like implementation, whereas the goal is to create a free java implementation.
While you are of course right that having such an implementation would make it easier to fork Java, I don't see why anybody should try to do this, as the chances for the success of such a fork are minimal at best.

JVM versus platform (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13135530)

One of the things muddling any discussion of this type is people who forget the Java VM, or rather the Java language, and the Java platform, or rather the language plus the Java class libraries, are very different.

The language is not simple, but it is well documented and understood. Creating a JVM which is absolutely correct and compliant with Sun's is not hard.

What is hard is implementing the class libraries. These are huge, beastly, and not all that clearly documented. And unless you count gnu-classpath (you shouldn't), there's only one implementation of it. These, the class libraries, are where the Write Once Debug Everywhere problems come from.

However, here's the trick: The class libraries are portable. They're written in Java! That is, if you have a compliant JVM, you can probably run the same class libraries any other JVM can. In the bad old days of AWT, the class libraries were very closely tied into the JVM and were in large part written in nonportable C. This isn't the case anymore.

So: Let's say Harmony gets big. Let's furthermore say Harmony goes with some kind of crazy gnu-classpath workalike which isn't quite the Sun Java class libraries. This might be okay! We can almost certainly just install the Sun Java class libraries on Harmony, or the Harmony class libraries on sun's jvm. All it would take is for Sun to loosen up a little about their class library licensing. Once Sun realizes that they're at real risk of fragmenting the community and having the entire linux/open source world switch to their own homebrewed class library if they don't do so, they might consider it.

Re:Talk about fragmenting the standard... (1)

ForumTroll (900233) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135650)

Harmony has a goal of being compliant with Sun Java and that's one of the main points of the project, a completely 100% compliant open source JVM. If anyone's going to use it in business or enterprise level applications it's going to have to be compliant and as polished as the Sun JVM. IBM isn't going to attempt to put SWT into this JVM as the vast majority of people in the Java community have realized that SWT is a huge mess and it's currently running into tons of problems because of the architecture IBM decided to take with it. They're running into problems Swing solved 5 years ago and now they have to either abandon it or make SWT's architecture more like Swing. Furthermore, flaws in SWT go unfixed for months at a time and many times when debugging those bugs you need to look at code written in C which is just a huge pain in the ass for Java developers.

Not to mention that if they included SWT instead of Swing they wouldn't be compliant and most applications out there wouldn't be able to run on this JVM without added Swing libraries. Then if they included both they just made the JVM way more bloated then necessary. IBM is perfectly happy with having people download SWT if they want it and then have developers include the libraries when distributing applications that use it. They're not going to try something as stupid as trying to put it into this JVM.

Re:Talk about fragmenting the standard... (1)

Knetzar (698216) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135946)

I don't think IBM would try and include SWT instead of Swing, but they might try and include SWT in addition to Swing.

Re:Talk about fragmenting the standard... (1)

ForumTroll (900233) | more than 9 years ago | (#13136131)

Agreed, I also believe this is more likely. However, I think it would be a big drawback if the new open source JVM was more bloated than Sun's current JVM. A lot of people are becoming more and more angry and vocal about the bloat that is being included directly into the JVM and the base class libraries. I mean they're including a JavaScript engine in the next release you couldn't get much more overkill than that.... Was dropping a Jar from one of the many available JavaScript engines into the project too much to handle for these people? I guess we'll have to wait and see though.

Re:Talk about fragmenting the standard... (4, Insightful)

ballstothat (893605) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135169)

I completely agree with Sun's stance on not fragmenting their code. While their licensing isn't agreeable, there are millions of java powered items out there. If Java turned into a bunch of different flavors (insert mocha, vanilla, hazelnut joke here), then it would be a headache.

The JRE for Windows XP is already 15.4 MB. If there was 5 different REs that I had to download to use all the Java flavors, that wouldn't be cool.

I feel that Sun's thinking is sound from a business and usefulness perspective, even if it is starting to backfire.

Re:Talk about fragmenting the standard... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13135270)

Just look what happened to C!

Re:Talk about fragmenting the standard... (2, Interesting)

Linus Torvaalds (876626) | more than 9 years ago | (#13136329)

Talk about missing the point!

The person you are replying to was pointing out that Sun's stance causes fragmentation of the Java platform.

Pointing out that Sun not wanting to fragment the Java platform is entirely beside the point. The best thing they could do to avoid fragmentation would be to make their implementation open-source. Anything else, and it will force many people to create new implementations rather than use Sun's.

Re:Talk about fragmenting the standard... (5, Informative)

luiss (217284) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135380)

This project is implementing a Java Virtual Machine. How in the world does this fragment the Java Language any more than let's say Apple or IBM's many JVM implementations?

Now, if Harmony intends to "extend" the Java Language by lets say, adding new keywords, just as Microsoft did with J++ at one point, then you can start worrying about Java Language fragmentation (in which case Sun would not allow Harmony to call itself a Java(TM) Virtual Machine).

Re:Talk about fragmenting the standard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13135841)

No... JVMs are ten a penny (I could knock one up in a day *)... this is mostly about the class libraries, which are by far the biggest part of the project.

* Yes, one day. A fast, clever JVM is a big job... a working quick and dirty one is a doddle.

No, you're not quite right. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13135908)

If you'll look at harmony's website [apache.org] , you'll see that they aren't just implementing the Java Virtual Machine as you put it. They are implementing J2SE. J2SE is not just a language. It is a platform.

Platform fragmentation is as, or more important than, language fragmentation*. A language cannot stand alone. You need libraries. Platform fragmentation is what Sun is worried about right now, not language fragmentation. The JVM is not even part of the "open source java" debate, since open source JVMs already exist and Sun is more or less encouraging them!

Please see my other comment here. [slashdot.org]

* Language fragmentation can still happen if Harmony chooses to implement different JSRs [jcp.org] than Sun does for some reason. However it is incredibly unlikely that this would be a bad thing. As long as Harmony stays within the accepted protocols for extending the Java language, and keeps any experimental/unapproved-JSR features cleanly quarantined within the -XX "pragma" flags (both of which things, Microsoft did NOT), this will be fine.

Re:Talk about fragmenting the standard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13135407)

Sun won't "open source" their Java implementation for the same reason they still keep iron control over the spec and ensure they have permanent control over the joke "Java Community Process". Sun sees Java as *its* language and only tosses occasional crumbs to other companies who entangle themselves in their IP trap...

I mean, look at Sun/Java/Linux... Java on Linux is a mess. A total disgrace. Swing is fucking nightmarishly awful under Linux... with no prospect of ever getting better. In fact, Java system is only going to get the shaft under Linux, since Sun has every reason to sabotage it (either through idiotic implementation, or just doing everything late) and convince companies needing Java to run their Open(cough)Solaris... because, y'know, Linux just doesn't work right.

I can't believe Snape kills Dumbledore (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13135076)

The children will all be sad!

Neat (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13135077)

There's been this interesting and very quiet power struggle within the JCP between Sun and IBM. IBM keeps wanting to assert influence over Java and grow the language/platform in ways that they think would be good. Sun keeps trying to simultaneously
  1. keep IBM from taking the language in directions other than Sun wanted to take it in, and
  2. make the JCP a democratic and open process whereby any involved company can take the language in any direction they want.
This isn't because Sun is evil or malicious or anything; they're just confused about what they want. They honestly want Java to be an open, democratic standard, and they honestly want to control it.

The "control it" side of things keeps winning, because in the end Sun makes the JVM so they can technically decide what goes in and how it gets distributed.

This is why I think Harmony is interesting. Sun will no longer control the only good JVM, and if Sun can't stay at least as good as Harmony, then Sun will no longer control the primary JVM. This makes the JCP's democratic ideals a lot more attainable because Sun's just lost their biggest degree of control. IBM trying to weigh in on the side of Harmony, given this context, makes a LOT of sense. They can begin to grow the language how THEY wanted again.

This is going to be good for IBM, good for open source, and in the long run good for Sun once they realize that trying to control Java too much isn't really in their best interest.

Re:Neat (1, Interesting)

mpcooke3 (306161) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135439)

because in the end Sun makes the JVM

This is something I confess to not really understanding. The IBM java SDK is as good as the Sun one (probably the only other full fast implementation) why don't they release this as open source. I'd always presumed they couldn't open source is due to Java trademark rules but then if harmony is allowed to do it that can't be the reason.

Or does the IBM Java SDK contain code they don't own and they can't be bothered to rewrite it?

Re:Neat (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135802)

A Java implementation comes in two parts. Part 1 is the JVM. Sun have one, IBM have one, and there are a few others. This is the (comparatively) easy part. Part 2 is the huge class library. Java is a platform - people writing Java code expect everything in the class library to be available. Currently (at least, last time I checked) everyone who distributes Java distributes Sun's implementation of the standard class library (possibly modified slightly at the edges for platform integration).

If IBM had a complete Java implementation, then they could release it as open source, but if it were modified by the community then it would have to be re-certified as Java before every release.

Re:Neat (1)

mpcooke3 (306161) | more than 9 years ago | (#13136223)

Thanks, I didn't realise that IBM were redistributing SUNs libs. That would certainly explain the mysterious licensing restrictions!

Re:Neat (2, Insightful)

danme (144941) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135445)

>>Sun will no longer control the only good JVM, and if Sun can't stay at least as good as Harmony, then Sun will no longer control the primary JVM.

How does this differ from the incompatible Java framework released years ago by Microsoft? If Harmony takes "the lead" - will it be possible that it can be taken to court by Sun? Or is it simly because of the monopoly market situation that Microsoft is and were in?

Re:Neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13136192)

Microsoft was taken to court by Sun because
  1. They were violating an existing contract with Sun,
  2. They were using Sun's trademarks outside the scope of applicable license.
As long as Apache doesn't enter into any contracts with Sun they don't intend to keep, and as long as they don't claim to be Java compliant if they are not, Harmony is fine.

Also be aware that it's possible to extend the java language while still being java compliant. You just have to do it within the normal JCP process. Sun specifically and purposefully set up a system whereby the java language and platform could extend and grow without sacficing the platform's write-once-run-anywhere principles! Microsoft, however, was purposefully spurning this system because breaking Java was their goal. This is why Microsoft was a problem and Harmony was not.

Making assumptions (1)

Geek Dash Boy (69299) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135622)

I was beginning to doubt that Harmony would ever get out of the starting gate, but with IBM cracking the whip, maybe they have a chance.

There has been some backlash over the way the Harmony project is being managed, some of it kinder [pastiche.org] than others [jroller.com] .

Personally, I agree with Charles Miller - start the project with some working code. down the road, you may have to refactor, but that's a part of software development.

so? (5, Funny)

ThatGeek (874983) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135096)

"IBM's participation is limited to thoughts on design, but the company likely will contribute code to the project".

I put this through BabelFish's translator. Apparently, this could be taken to mean:

"A big company is going to do little to help out, but is willing to share credit for an open source project."

Me? cynical? Never!

Re:so? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13136057)

Yeah because as we all know, IBM's never [eclipse.org] done [sourceforge.net] anything [apache.org] for Java [ibm.com] .

What about GCJ? (2, Interesting)

AnuradhaRatnaweera (757812) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135104)

After the FSF call for volunteers [fsf.org] , GNU Java compiler / VM has come of age [newsforge.com] . It was reported here [slashdot.org] , too. RedHat Fedora Core 4 even includes a native version (doesn't depend on JVM, but runs as a "normal" binary) of Eclipse, compiled with GCJ.

Swing? (4, Informative)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135189)

GCJ still only provides limited support for Swing. I don't think it can be said that it has "come of age" until that support is there in a form that at least remotely resembles javac.

Re:Swing? (2, Insightful)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135279)

If you are willing to forgo Swing and use SWT then GCJ is a pretty compelling choice.

Re:Swing? (1)

Tobias Luetke (707936) | more than 9 years ago | (#13137170)

If you are willing to forgo Swing and use SWT then GCJ is a pretty compelling choice.

And god forbit, your users might not be so drastically punished for your terrible error of judgement to use java to write a desktop application!

Its a win win!

(for completeness: swing is supposed to become better with the next java release)

Re:Swing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13136238)

I consider the lack of Swing to be a blessing... much like my lack of rabies or diptheria.

Jave Everywhere (1)

kidtux1 (896975) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135124)

Even if java isn't open source there are so many different flavors of it. It's been changed so much to allow it to fit anywhere, phones, idcards, computers. I think they already have a split java language! http://www.kunae.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

Having an open source Java... (0, Offtopic)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135125)

...will help prevent code like this [infoether.com] , too. Removing useless code can't help but improve performance, not to mention readability...

[plug]
Support your local open source static code analysis [pmdapplied.com] utility!
[/plug]

Re:Having an open source Java... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13136182)

Err...there are some perfectly valid reasons for some of the items that would flag warnings. You know...reality-based programming.

An empty catch block? Useful for ignoring non-critical errors.

Empty If statements? Sometimes, when precedence is important and multiple programmers are working on a project, this more clearly communicates the precedence to other programmers.

Re:Having an open source Java... (1)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 9 years ago | (#13136630)

> there are some perfectly valid reasons

Yup, true.

> An empty catch block? Useful for
> ignoring non-critical errors.

Yup, true.

> Empty If statements? Sometimes [...]

Occasionally but rarely true. But I'd venture to say that the vast majority of empty if blocks are either bugs or just sloppy coding and should be cleaned up.

So yes, you're right, sometimes the warnings can be ignored. But in many cases, they are legitimate.

Re:Having an open source Java... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13137146)

About half of the files in that list are from Apache so what does being open source have to do with anything?

And Harmony is? (1, Funny)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135178)

Some sort of Open Source dating service?

in summary: (2, Insightful)

nickos (91443) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135183)

IBM says "this is what we want, now get on with making it for us".

Here we go (5, Interesting)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135184)

The Richard Stallmans of the world have long wanted Java to be an open source language, while Sun Microsystems has said that they want to be the single point of control for the language. The biug lawsuit between Sun and Microsoft was about Microsoft making unauthorised changes to the language spec. Through the Java Community Process, Sun has allowed developers at large to make suggestions and improvements to the language if Sun approved of them. Sun controls the specification of the language and the reference JVM implimentation. The battle isn't about the JVM being open source, it's about the language specification. Sun's fear is that by opening the specification, someone's going to say "You know, I've always felt the language should have pointers", and the language will fall into Creeping Featurism the way C++ did. The recent (1.5) introduction of template-like behavior, at the demands of the "more features" crowd is already a step in that direction. No matter how you slice it, it seems we're doomed to a Java with more and more new features (remove run-time array bounds checking for performance, anyone?) and more and more fragmentation.

A question about Java (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135194)

Can someone inform you why SUN will not allow Linux distros distribute java? I know it about licensing but what is the logic behind this? If I were SUN, the distribution of java could only be good news as this would enable java spread...and this can only be good news...because it definitely helps popularize java and increases the potential for sales of other services based on java.

That is how MS-word became popular since M$ allowed Word to be pirated. The same applied to Windows.

Re:A question about Java (1)

silviuc (676999) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135493)

The question is why doesn't Sun let Java "go" ?

Vendors don't put java in the "community" releases because of licensing issues (hint: not free). It's more of a philosophical thing. For the same reason you don't find mp3 players in some of them.

I don't understand why you try to make a connection to spreading java by including it in a distro and spreading windows by pirating it. It's not the same thing. I have java on my linux system and I got legally from Sun's webpage.

Re:A question about Java (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135623)

> I don't understand why you try to make a connection to spreading java by including it in a distro and spreading windows by pirating it. It's not the same thing. I have java on my linux system and I got legally from Sun's webpage.

The concept was about "spreading" a piece of software...not the concept of pirating vs legally obtaining a software.

But I understand your point and totally agree with it.

Re:A question about Java (1)

thedak (833551) | more than 9 years ago | (#13136122)

I do agree. I think it would help Sun's case alot, especially with the development of this jvm to allow linux distros to get theirs out, if the large portion of consumers already have sun's jvm, why would they download this one? And that would help keep Sun on top.

My sort of off-topic comment is next. Why does an open source jvm/wanting to open source the language appeal to everyone? Well okay, the idea of an open source jvm isn't so bad since with Sun's licensing, we can't get it bundled with our distros so it makes admins do some extra work etc. But, open sourcing the language? Personally, that scares the bejeebies out of me. As much as I am for open source, want to start my own open source project of some sort.. I don't think open sourcing a language is really that great idea, it allows democratic control and alot of forks, possibly harming the language while having it controlled by sun avoids these problems and lets it be ruled with an iron fist. When it comes to a programming language people know and use, it'd be nice not to have the risk of changes to earlier code, even if it does help a little bit, a change ot syntax would break alot of programs running through a new jvm version. Not good for the language.. Anyways, just my 2cents.

Re:A question about Java (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13136293)

Can someone inform you why SUN will not allow Linux distros distribute java? I know it about licensing but what is the logic behind this?

The last thing Sun wants is Linux distros being competitive. The "let's support Linux" war was lost at Sun a couple of years ago... Java and its licensing is a weapon in that war. Why make it possible for Linux distros to legally distribute Java easily when it would take sales/support money away from OpenSolaris? *That's* why an open source Java is needed... or preferably, fuck Java altogether and use something better designed and more open... like Mono (whose spec is at least standardised with an international standards body... something Sun refuses to do with Java).

Sun, IBM, and Compatibility. (3, Interesting)

reporter (666905) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135198)

According to "Sun Lashes Out at Open Source J2SE [vnunet.com] ", Sun hates the Harmony project.

Yet, IBM loves it and is now, apparently, committing to it. Once IBM backs an open-source product (e.g. Linux) and ships it to customers, then IBM ensures that the product performs flawlessly. Who can doubt that IBM is a significant contributor to the high-reliability of today's Linux build? The strength of IBM is its commitment to its customers.

What is interesting is that, from a business perspective, there is no need for Harmony to be fully compliant with Sun's closed Java standards. The route to divergence is to (1) define a new language called "Harmony", (2) place it with a standards body, (3) maintain full compatibility with only the current version of Java (in order to support all of IBM's current customers and developers) but deliberately diverge from compatibility for future versions of Java, (4) arrange for IBM to jettison use of future versions of Java and to fully utilize Harmony, (5) generously borrow the best concepts from Java while ensuring that the word "Java" is never used (in order to avoid a lawsuit), and (6) build support for Harmony in GCC. This strategy could work.

C# is a ripoff of Java and is quite popular.

There is nothing magical about the Java name. Just consistently use the name, "Harmony", on this proposed Java variant. Everyone will know that "Harmony" is Java -- plus additional stuff. Even if "Harmony" is only 98% compatible with future versions of Java, "Harmony" could grab the software development if the open-source community backs it.

Re:Sun, IBM, and Compatibility. (1)

what about (730877) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135397)

I wanted to moderate interesting but I am not sure of what you actually mean. What I understood is:

IBM loves Java and it is committed to it.

But IBM wants to open Java and make it incompatible, creating another free standard.

So, who is going to be happy with this ?

Java developers that have another standard to support (beside SWT)

IBM, after they hurt Sun attempt to have a standard platform ?

Will the free community be happy after every one can create their own language ? (They can already do that, just do not call it Java)

I am completly for a "free" JVM that is compatible the standard Java, I am against another ripoff of Java not from Microsoft this time but from IBM.

Re:Sun, IBM, and Compatibility. (2, Interesting)

braindead (33893) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135735)

What is interesting is that, from a business perspective, there is no need for Harmony to be fully compliant with Sun's closed Java standards. The route to divergence is...

I think that full compliance is important. There's a world of difference between getting people to use a new VM for an existing language, and proposing a new language.

If Harmony is a fork of Java, then I want nothing to do with it.

Harmony (1, Redundant)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135214)

And for those of us who don't read the article and don't know what Harmony is:

Harmony [apache.org] is the Apache Foundations project to create an open source edition of Java SE (Standard Edition).

Re:Harmony (1)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 9 years ago | (#13136149)

I'd be more interested in support of J2EE 1.4 than J2SE 5. But that's just me.

Re:Harmony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13136411)

Jboss?

IBM JVM & Sun source code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13135345)


IBM is going to have to be very careful about this. Their JVM is based on Sun's source code, so anyone who's come within spitting distance of it will have to be kept far, far away from this project.

Son of SCO anyone?

become one with the Microsoft.. (1)

Tominva1045 (587712) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135360)



Harmony.. Java.. whilst you wrestle with what you ought to be and the collection of features you might someday have .Net assimilating generations of developers in the prime of their coding life- developers bringing applications to market.

Resistance is futile..

You too will become one with the Microsoft.. once you have kids, wives, car payments, and mortgages.

Join us, won't you :-)

Re:become one with the Microsoft.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13136112)


yup, just like VB. All hail VB!

now I need to go for a shower, I feel dirty. :(

Re:become one with the Microsoft.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13136434)

You too will become one with the Microsoft.. once you have kids, wives, car payments, and mortgages.

Phew! I don't have car payments...

Re:become one with the Microsoft.. (1)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 9 years ago | (#13137011)

As a professional Linux/Unix developer in my 3rd major international corporation, I have to wonder why this obviously silly argument keeps coming up. I realize that you are probably being sarcastic, but plenty of people say the same thing, and are actually serious.

Linux/FOSS has not only been accepted at major corporations, it's thriving. While the desktop market share of Linux may be relatively small, to suggest that this implies that no 'serious' work can be done with FOSS is simply unrealistic.

The job market here is incredible for people with *nix development skills, and Linux experience is a huge plus on the resume. In fact, *nix developers are *better* paid than Windows developers -- at least here in NYC, where Linux and OSS are increasingly helping to make the world turn (technologically speaking).

Generally, only front-end work is done on the Windows platform, and even this is increasingly being shifted toward web-based interfaces. Almost always, the heavy lifting is done on a Unix variant.

I don't want to dwell on this too much, but you'd have a hard time convincing me that your statement is true. Me, and my wife and two kids.

fix java (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13135418)

well someone needs to fix java before people find D and realize how totally shitty java is...

Cue SCO (1)

jdavidb (449077) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135591)

Good. This way a few years from now, SCO, or whoever else has bought the rights to the decrepit old proprietary UNIX I mean Java codebase can sue IBM for allegedly contributing code they didn't have the rights to to Harmony.

I mean, nobody could build a Java virtual machine without copying code, right? That would be an impossible superhuman feat!

Bad sign for Sun (2, Informative)

0xABADC0DA (867955) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135697)

I think this is a very bad sign for Sun, because it sound to me like IBM hedging its bets for what might happen if Sun is bought out or sells Java. IBM's java virtual machine is based on Sun code, so if Sun sells the rights to Java then IBM is beholden to somebody else (maybe even Microsoft, who would buy Sun just to finally kill Java). As sad as it is to say, I think IBM sees the writing on the wall that Sun just doesn't seem like the reliable bet these days.

What a surprise! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13135749)

Lets see, IBM is already drinking the Java Kool-aid, IBM is the main force behind the open source project Eclipse, and IBM abandoned their own proprietary webserver in favor of apache awhile ago. So is it really that big of a fucking surprise that IBM would be interested in Harmony? I think not.

This is only the news if you are too stupid to think.

IBM could create Harmony overnight (1)

thisisauniqueid (825395) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135919)

IBM already has a complete JDK which actually used to be much better than Sun's in terms of efficiency etc. (not sure how it compares right now). They could just release the whole thing as F/OSS under the new JCP rules, and create Harmony overnight. Why have they not done this yet?

Re:IBM could create Harmony overnight (4, Informative)

psykocrime (61037) | more than 9 years ago | (#13136101)

IBM already has a complete JDK which actually used to be much better than Sun's in terms of efficiency etc. (not sure how it compares right now). They could just release the whole thing as F/OSS under the new JCP rules, and create Harmony overnight. Why have they not done this yet?

Because IBM's JDK wasn't written from scratch. It's based, to some degree, on Sun's code. I don't know how much Sun code is in IBM's JDK, or the exact details of the license between Sun and IBM, but I know IBM's JDK is subject to Sun licensing.

Re:IBM could create Harmony overnight (2, Informative)

dudeman2 (88399) | more than 9 years ago | (#13136153)

I believe you are correct, IBM's JDK was not a clean-room implementation - it owes a lot to Sun's JDK. IBM is bound by their licensing agreements with Sun, and the IBM developers that worked with Sun JDK source code are likely 'tainted' enough so that they cannot now work on a clean room implementation.

Re:IBM could create Harmony overnight (2, Insightful)

TerrapinOrange (805326) | more than 9 years ago | (#13136184)

IBM's JVM is based on Sun's. They may be able to contribute bits and pieces, but certainly not the whole thing.

Re:IBM could create Harmony overnight (3, Informative)

Dan Berlin (682091) | more than 9 years ago | (#13136343)

This isn't true anymore. The old JVM was based on sun's code. The new one is completely cleanroom.

Apache license? (1)

thisisauniqueid (825395) | more than 9 years ago | (#13135948)

The GNOME desktop has been looking for a managed language to make app development faster/better. Does the Apache license cause problems for this? A lot of people don't care if the FSF cares, but what does the FSF think about the Apache license?

IBM's motive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13136085)

It would seem IBM's motive is simply to stop development of their own JVM. They license Sun's code, of course, and then change it to no end -- resulting in numerous IBM-specific bugs and less compatibility than any other JVM I've used.

My guess is IBM wants to get into Harmony and drive it where they want it to go without doing as much of the work -- at least in the long run.

Also, it seems strange that IBM is worrying about Harmony when there is as of yet no sign of a Java 5 IBM JRE. IBM's site has articles on how to use various backports to get Java 5 features on Java 1.4 rather than just providing a Java 5 like every other JVM vendor. This is similar to GCJ, etc, which do not provide anything like full recent JVM version support as they're busy rewriting everything from scratch. Sorry, but for the real world I can't see using anything that does not provide Java 5 support right now.
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