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Open Source Java Causing Tremors in San Francisco

  • May 9, 2007
  • By Jason Gilmore
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To paraphrase Mark Twain, judging by the surging crowd on opening day of the 2007 JavaOne Conference held at the San Francisco Moscone Center, the reports of Java's demise are greatly exaggerated. Even this seasoned conference attendee marveled over the almost mosh pit-like atmosphere as attendees filed into and out of Tuesday's 96 scheduled sessions. Few would deny however that just a few years ago Java was suffering its last throes, suffering a slow death at the hands of rapidly evolving competing technologies such as .NET, PHP, and Python.

Open Source is the Buzz

But then the Java community looked to open source, and things changed. Projects such as Ant, Eclipse, Jakarta, JBoss, Spring, and more recently Groovy and Grails have made Java a darling of the open source community, and in the process saved the language from itself. Of course, it didn't hurt that along the way Java's corporate shepherd Sun got the open source religion, and proceeded along a path of open-sourcing high-profile projects such as Solaris and NetBeans, with promises of more to come. As of yesterday both the Java language and its platform are open source.

The shared open source goals of Sun and the Java community were readily apparent at CommunityOne and NetBeans Day, a pre-conference day devoted to the open source work or Java and some of its partners, and JavaOne day one, with a flurry of announcements coming alongside enormous attendee interest in open source-related topics.

Sun Steals the Spotlight with JavaFX and OpenJDK

Conference organizer and technology giant Sun Microsystems dominated the day's news with a slew of high-profile announcements, including the preview of JavaFX Script, a scripting language intended to facilitate the creation of interactive, animated web applications targeting both the desktop and mobile devices. Sun also fulfilled a long-awaited promise of releasing an open source version of the JDK for J2SE, making all of the Java SE source code available under GPLv2 via the OpenJDK website. In a later conference session, General Counsel for the Free Software Foundation Eben Moglen and Vice President for the Apache Software Foundation's Legal Affairs Cliff Schmidt both voiced their strong support for the move, despite both organizations having long-term investments in creating open source Java implementations.

JasperSoft Takes Home the Duke's Choice Award

Every year Sun recognizes who it considers to be the most innovative Java developers with a Duke's Choice Award, named after the Java mascot. This year's winner was JasperSoft, the company behind the open source business intelligence reporting product JasperReports. According to project companion website JasperForge, JasperReports has been downloaded more than 2 million times and boasts 5,000 clients including Level-3 Communications, The University of Nebraska, and The Wisconsin Department of Justice.

Sun's Ecosystem On Display

Sun's moves to educate developers regarding its recent high-profile moves in the open source world are on display at JavaOne, with numerous sessions dedicated to introducing attendees to JRuby, Ubuntu, and Solaris. Among the high-profile sessions included Sun's Harpreet Singh and Canonical's Jeff Bailey guided attendees through the creation and deployment of an application on Ubuntu, and discussed considerations for building Java applications targeting Ubuntu.

JRuby in the Spotlight

In the first of three sessions dedicated to JRuby, Sun employees and JRuby project co-leaders Charles Nutter and Thomas Enebo discussed how JRuby and Rails can come together to bring unparalleled agility and power to enterprise applications. If you would like to learn more about JRuby read JRuby: Java and Ruby Together at Last and Running Your First Rails Application on JRuby by Dominic Da Silva here on our site.

NetBeans 6.0 SOA Pack Highlighted

In the later hours of the day, Sun's Doris Chen and Hong Lin kicked off the first of nine sessions dedicated to the impressive NetBeans IDE, pushing the top ten reasons to use the NetBeans 6.0 SOA Pack, which consists of a number of features for creating and managing Java-based web services.

And this was all to be found on day one of the event! Stay tuned as we report further on event details throughout the week.

About the Author

W. Jason Gilmore is Apress' Open Source Editorial Director, and co-founder of IT Enlightenment. He's the author of several books, including the best-selling "Beginning PHP and MySQL 5: Novice to Professional, Second Edition" (Apress, 2006. 913pp.). Jason loves receiving e-mail; so don't hesitate to write him at wjATwjgilmore.com.






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