'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 computers.

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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