Mutant World

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Java's uncertain future

Java's future looks to me very uncertain in this period.

I started studying Java during 1999 summer, and working with it since then.

Many things happened since the release of JDK 5.

Many key people left Sun for other companies (and wow, the list of those names is truly impressive; among them Josh Bloch, Neal Gafter, Gilad Bracha, most of the Swing core team - Hans Muller, Scott Violet, Chet Haase, etc.)

Sun itself is not performing very well these days (profit plunged 73% in the last quarter).

Sun has open sourced Java.

Yet, there is no JDK 7 plan.
You heard that right, no official JSR has been opened yet, when we were used to have release of version N of the JDK and official JSR for version N+1 almost immediately opened.
But not this time, and noone seems able to predict neither when JDK 7 will be released, nor what it will contain.

There is OpenJDK.
Can anyone tell me the difference between JDK 7 and OpenJDK ?
And I am not meaning the obvious ones, but why two efforts, and how are they synchronizing ?
I never thought that open sourcing the JDK was such a great idea, from the point of view of developers, though it was probably such a good move for other fields that developers could be forgotten.

There is JDK 6 and JDK 6 update 10. Mmm. More confusion.

The closures will (most likely) not be part of JDK 7, but everyone talks about the "upcoming language changes in JDK 7" yet there is no official JSR, nor for JDK 7 nor for closures. Oops.

Java blogs are beginning to label Java as the next legacy language, but it surely will still live for many many years. I hear the same of COBOL.

It appears as if Sun released the command of the Java ship and let its best commanders flew away.
It would not be bad to see a real move from Sun about Java (because strong statements are just that, words), because hey, the ship seems DIW, dead in water.

It's 2008 summer, and I am studying Ruby.

But the worst indicator is that Hani and its Bileblog are quiet: he cannot desecrate the last moments of a dying era, can he ?