Si vis pacem, para bellum
Power does not like a vacuum. Greg Luck wrote the blog “Is it time to fork Java?” and Sacha Labourey wrote the response “Si vis pacem, para bellum.” This latin phrase transalates to “If you wish for peace, prepare for war.” Greg believes a new community should form to build its own Java (called Lava.) Lava would be completely free and indepdent from Oracle. Sacha believes Lava would be beneficial. Sashca believes Oracle requires a battle to finalize a product roadmap and delivery timetable for future versions of Java. Sacha also shows the initial steps needed to create a fork for Java.
These are the discussions I am finding after the recent Oracle World/JavaOne conference. This was the first time Oracle hosted a Java developer conference. The discussions show dissatisfaction with Oracle’s governance of the Java platform. This will lead to change and opportunities for organizations using Java. PushToTest helps organizations effectively manage change. One big change is underway and one remains painfully constant: Java will be forked and HP will increase its test tools prices.
PushToTest participated in the Oracle JavaOne conference last month. The company had an exhibit hall kiosk and I led the Test Tools Birds Of A Feather (BOF) session. While I got to go to 0 sessions, I got to talk with hundreds of developers, managers, and IT people. This was Oracle’s first experience to show its governance of the Java platform. It didn’t go so well.
The primary issue in the software development community is a redefinition of the Java platform’s goals. Under Sun Microsystems the Java community leaders would provide vision and the Java Community Process (JCP) standards body would work out the details. JCP held together competing interests from IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, BEA, and many other vendors. Under Oracle the JCP is occupied with licensing provisions that allow organizations to run Java on mobile devices with a royalty back to Oracle, or not. From my perspective the JCP was absent from the JavaOne conference. It left the appearance of no governance of the Java platform.
I agree with Sacha’s assessment. Lava would provoke Oracle into beneficial action on Java and provide a cool alternative to Java. I also anticipate an ex-Sun leader to emerge to do the shuttle diplomacy needed to establish the community. There were so many smart people I met at Sun who would run with this. Many have achieved great executive positions at open source companies – for example, Brian Gentile, formerly with SunSoft and now Jaspersoft’s CEO.
My company, PushToTest, builds Java-based open source testing tools. We don’t need Java to move forward from 1.6 to deliver excellent tools. Closures would be nice but is not critical.
Critical to the entire IT industry is a business integration standard. Remember JSR 208 and the proposed JBI standard? It never happened and we have been suffering because of it. For example, in the testing space you have a number of mature record/playback tools (Selenium, Sahi, Windmill) to record an automated test of a Web application. Conversion to a Java JUnit test is easy with an export command. Since there is no JBI standard to notate what the application is doing, there is no way to go from a JUnit test back to a record/playback environment. And, the record/playback tools make big gaffs when they do not easily understand the flow of an application.
I hope to play a roll in the upcoming forked community effort around Java testing and design. We will deliver more reliable applications with a standard around business integration.