Lightweight chips get heavyweight language

Java for ARM developer preview posted online

Elliot Bentley
java-arm1

You can now get some Java (and, if you feel like it, JavaFX) in your Raspberry Pi with the JDK 8 Developer Preview for ARM.

Oracle
have released a developer
preview of Java for ARM
to gather feedback ahead of the release
of Java SE 8 next year.

Announced
at JavaOne earlier this year
, Java for ARM is being touted as a
good platform for running rich JavaFX applications, though it is of
course capable of running plain old Java too.

ARM CPUs have been in use for decades, powering lightweight devices
like the Apple Newton and Nintendo Gameboy Advance thanks to their
relatively low power consumption. However, recent growth in the
smartphone and tablet markets, as well as recent increases in power
has led to a surge of interest in ARM chips.

Even Microsoft has adopted ARM – the first version of the Surface
tablet is ARM-powered, running a subset of Windows 8 called Windows
RT. Supporting for its chips is likely to become even more
important to developers as ARM expands into
servers
.

However, for many hackers the most exciting consequence of Java for
ARM is that it can be run on the lightweight Raspberry Pi computer,
which retails for just $35. JavaFX evangelist Stephen Chin showed
off an early build of ARM-compatible Java on his
European nighthacking tour
, running the same JavaFX app on both
his MacBook and Raspberry Pi.

The developer preview is available to
download now
, and Chin has published an
installation guide
.

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