'Larry and Steve are really good friends'

Brian Goetz Speaks on Future of Java

Jessica Thornsby

Gert-Jan Schouten recently spend a day quizzing the Senior Java Language Architect at Oracle on some of Java’s hottest topics.

Gert-Jan Schouten has published a roundup of a conversation he had with Brian
Goetz, Senior Java Language Architect at Oracle, at a recent
one-day event where Goetz also gave several presentations. Gert-Jan
Schouten asked Brian Goetz about Java on mobile – a subject Oracle
are being very cagey about. At JavaOne, Oracle stressed that they
would work on providing further innovations for users of Java-powered mobile
phones, but refused to divulge anymore information about future
developments in this area. During the interview, Brian Goetz
confirmed that Oracle does not have concrete plans for Java on the
mobile, but confirmed “they are working on it.” In his article,
Gert-Jan Schouten acknowledges that, although Oracle are not quick
to make promises to the community, what they do announce usually
becomes a reality. The company tends to refrain from talking about
any developments that are not 100% confirmed. “That also means that
they can’t say anything about stuff that hasn’t been officially put
on the roadmap,” Gert-Jan Schouten writes. So, it seems possible we
won’t hear anything more about the future of Java on mobile, until
Oracle are ready to publish their completed roadmap.

Brian Goetz did acknowledge that Oracle’s style of communication
can lead to problems. When the news broke that Apple were deprecating Java on the Mac, it caused panic
throughout the community. The OSX Java implementation provides
several Cocoa-specific bindings and hooks, leading some to question
the future of the Java-based IDEs, including
NetBeans and Eclipse, while others predicted a sharp dip in Mac sales, as Macs are
traditionally pretty popular amongst the Java community. Oracle did
not reveal they were already in talks with Apple, and the
announcement that Apple were contributing – and open sourcing –
most of the components for an OpenJDK project for Mac OS X, came suddenly and
unexpectedly. The problem is that, more often than not, Oracle’s
side of the story is a long time coming, and Gert-Jan Schouten has
seen that “people start assuming the worst and when you combine
that with the commercial reputation of Oracle, it is very easy to
get bad press.”

According to the published interview, Brian Goetz was
complimentary about Oracle’s management skills: “he thought that
they are very smart people, who really know how to run a company,”
reports Gert-Jan Schouten. Gert-Jan Schouten also attended Brian
Goetz’s presentations about Project Lambda, Concurrency and The
Fork-Join Framework. During the Project Lambda presentation, he
explained that Lambda expressions will be “translated” to a “Single
Abstract Method”-type, meaning that it will be possible to use
Lambda expressions anywhere SAM-types are currently used. According
to Schouten, from what he has seen Lambda expressions will make it
easier to write code that is optimised to run on multi-core

When asked about Java on Apple mobile devices, Brian Goetz gave
the rather cryptic answer that “Larry and Steve are really good
friends.” Clearly, Oracle are not ready to give anything else away.
But, perhaps the most encouraging thing, is how positive Schouten
is after speaking with Goetz. He admits to being concerned about
the acquisition – as most of the community was – but, after
examining the roadmaps and finally “talking to someone who really
knows what’s going on” he has “full confidence that Oracle is going
to keep Java the greatest platform in the software-world!”

In related news, Oracle recently published a high-level schedule of JDK 7, which takes into
account the effect Plan B will have on the release timeline. JDK 7
GA is currently scheduled for release in July 2011.

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