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A mixed bag for OSGi as 2012 begins

What does the future hold for OSGi without leader Peter Kriens?

Chris Mayer
OSGi

They may have lost inspirational director and evangelist Peter Kriens, but receive huge boost for JavaSE 8 modularity

The early days of 2012 have left those right at the heart of OSGi development ambivalent over some of the latest developments within their ecosystem.

First the good. Discussions have begun over a new project to explore and implement interoperability between JDK modularity focused, Project Jigsaw and OSGi implementation. After initial Jigsaw mailing list discussions, Tim Ellison made a proposal for Project Penrose - a sub project with a goal to create a forum for the Jigsaw and OSGi communities to collaborate on this requirement, ultimately delivering a prototype to demonstrate the module systems’ interoperability.

Obviously, the ties to Jigsaw will be close, but it seems a logical move to incorporate OSGI into OpenJDK given the amount of people who use it or are aware of its status as the modularity standard. Many a blog has been written about the neccessity of OSGi featuring with JavaSE 8 modules as well, so this can only be seen positively, that the issue has been addressed.

Ellison added:

This project will cooperate with the Jigsaw project and OSGi implementation projects to show how OSGi will run on Jigsaw runtime, howto load Jigsaw modules into OSGi frameworks, demonstrate how to use the APIs of Jigsaw to achieve the goal, and evolve any APIs, tooling etc

The search now begins for a Group Leader to sponsor the project, as well as those who are willing to come forward as supporters, committers or authors. 

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Now on to the bad news. OSGi’s Technical Director and key driver over the last decade, Peter Kriens announced that he would be moving on from his role after over 10 years at the helm.

He announced his decision to step down on OSGi Alliance’s website, citing an opportunity in the market as his reason for leaving. Kriens said

 I think the OSGi service model is as important as structured programming and  object orientation was in the previous decades to increase productivity in the software industry. The reason to leave is that I see a business opportunity in the gap between the mainstream Java developer and where OSGi is today. Working with the myriad of problems around modularity has given me a solid background to ease the transition of existing applications into more modular software. And after a decade of writing specifications creating real systems again looks pretty attractive.

Kriens will stay on as until after OSGi DevCon 2012 in Reston, Virginia at the end of March, finishing up the remaining Core and Enterprise specifications under his stewardship.

It may leave the OSGi Alliance without guidance for a short time. After all Kriens is Mr OSGi and his guidance will be missed. But perhaps this move (as shocking as it might seem initially) isn’t all bad news. By finding a new path to demonstrate the powers of the OSGi platform, we may see a new generation emerging, and it should be intriguing to see what he comes up with next. 

In 1998, he was called by Ericcson to help them get the Java Embedded Server running on their e-box, quickly becoming in charge of their OSGi division for the next decade, underseeing all of the OSGi Alliance’s key work and getting some of the key players involved such as IBM, Oracle, Red Hat. Kriens touches upon his achievements in his announcement.

A hectic decade followed with too much travel, several economic booms and busts, various controversies, working with some really great people, and many rock solid specifications to show for it. When I look at my bookshelf I see a satisfying sight of two shelves with OSGi specifications and books. All said, it was a pretty good decade.

Indeed it was, Peter. Keep an eye on his Twitter account for any signs of the next project!

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