Pinky promise?

Java FX open-sourcing “may take until February”

Elliot Bentley

Despite lofty JavaOne promises, JavaFX code unlikely to be pushed by end-of-year deadline, says platform architect.

An unexpected surprise of this year’s JavaOne was the news that the codebase was to be fully open-sourced by the year’s end, spurring fresh interest in the four-year-old platform.

However, the lofty promises of the JavaOne stage were brought back down to earth last week as client Java platform architect Richard Bair admitted that it “may take until February”, having been bogged down by red tape and security reviews.

In a message sent to the ‘openjfx-dev’ mailing list, Bair gave a frank assessment of the progress made so far, and outlined the internal steps needed to be taken to allow code to be released to the public. This includes updating the build system, reviewing code for security, sanity checking of headers and identification of licensed sections.

The long pole in this process is the “review for security”. In some parts of the code, as we audit we may find a potential security hole. Much of the code we will be able to simply fix and then release (or may have no issues anyway in which case it can just be released after audit), but there will likely be some parts that need to wait until the next security release in February 2013 before we can even apply the patches to the workspace, let alone open source the code.

Also revealed in the message is that the project’s open-sourcing, which started around nine months ago, “stalled [while] awaiting internal approvals”. Bair also said that the project structure has become “difficult and cumbersome”, which he said will be the project’s next big task.

Still, these are relatively minor issues compared to the criticism that plagued JavaFX during its early years. Perhaps, four years on, the project may finally be finding its feet.

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