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Quotes of the Week: Back To The Future

Back at my first JavaOne as an OpenJDK contributor in 2007, I recall getting questions of the kind whether Red Hat would participate in OpenJDK, or IBM, or BEA, or Oracle. Fast forward about 3.5 years, and here we are with the answer being a loud and clear 'Yes, of course - all of the above would'.

So, without further ado, here's a selection of quotes from the past week:

From the joint press release itself:

The Java community is vital to the evolution of the Java platform,” said Hasan Rizvi, senior vice president, Oracle. “The collaboration between Oracle and IBM builds on the success of OpenJDK as the primary development platform for Java SE.

“IBM, Oracle and other members of the Java community working collaboratively in OpenJDK will accelerate the innovation in the Java platform,” said Rod Smith, vice president, emerging technologies, IBM. “Oracle and IBM’s collaboration also signals to enterprise customers that they can continue to rely on the Java community to deliver more open, flexible and innovative new technologies to help grow their business.”

Henrik Ståhl, responsible for product strategy in the Java Platform Group, wrote in a blog post:

As I have previously stated, Oracle is strongly committed to a free, open Java SE implementation and to working with the community on current and future versions of the JDK. IBM joining the OpenJDK community is a great win for Java, as it will enable IBM, Oracle and all other contributors to pool resources and accelerate innovation while ensuring strict compatibility across different implementations. At the same time, we will of course continue to compete in areas such as our commercial Java EE products and - I assume - with our respective JVM implementations.

He added:

About a month ago, we proposed a plan to accelerate the release of JDK 7 by postponing certain features that need more time to mature to a fast follow-on JDK 8 release. This proposal was well received by the community, with 70-80% votes in favor in every poll we have seen. We have also discussed it with customers, partners, licensees and others and the overwhelming majority is in favor. IBM is now publicly in support of this plan, and we will be working with them and others on moving this forward.

Mark Reinhold, Chief Architect of the Java Platform Group at Oracle, focused on the technical details:

IBM engineers will soon be working directly alongside Oracle engineers, as well as many other contributors, on the Java SE Platform reference implementation—starting with JDK 7.

I expect IBM’s engineers to contribute primarily to the class libraries, working with the rest of us toward a common source base for use atop multiple Java virtual machines. We each have significant ongoing investments in our respective JVMs; that’s where most of the enterprise-level feature differentiation between our respective products is found, and it makes sense for that to continue. Focusing our efforts on a single source base for the class libraries will accelerate the overall rate of innovation in the JDK, improve quality and performance, and enhance compatibility across all implementations.

Bob Sutor, Vice President, Open Systems and Linux, IBM Software Group, blogged that
Java is about compatibility and always has been. It’s not been easy to maintain runtime environments that are consistent across platforms while exploiting the underlying features and performance advantages of those platforms. With this newly unified OpenJDK open source project, we can give customers the confidence they need to continue to invest in Java-based solutions knowing that they will get the best technology, the most important innovations, and the tightest collaboration among industry leaders.

We believe that this move to work together on OpenJDK is in the best interests of IBM’s customers and will help protect their investments in Java and IT technology based on it.

He closed his post with

So to summarize my opinions on this: OpenJDK represents the best chance to provide a top notch unified open source runtime for Java; customers will benefit by having first class Java open standards developed collaboratively and constructively; and our energy will be focused on working together and optimizing our joint work, rather than wasting time on duplicative projects.

Tim Ellison, VP of Apache Harmony at the Apache Software Foundation and Senior Technical Staff Member at IBM wrote:

So what's best for the Java ecosystem? I believe that compatibility is vital, and rather than risk divergence the right thing is to bring the key platform development groups together on a common codebase. Lessons learned on Project Harmony will be of value to OpenJDK, and I know there is immense mutual respect between the IBM and Oracle engineers.

On Twitter, Tim added:

there is a genuine mutual interest in IBM & ORCL working together with the community to keep Java vibrant

Jason Gartner, IBM's Director of Java Technologies on the #developerWorks podcast:

[...] I think this is good news for our customers, and for any customer out there who has products that are based on Java or developing in Java today.

Mark Little, Sr. Director of Engineering, Middleware, Red Hat and JCP Executive Committee member in an e-mail to internetnews.com:

"We are pleased to see IBM joining Oracle on the OpenJDK," Mark Little, Sr. Director of Engineering, Middleware, Red Hat and JCP Executive Committee member said in an email statement that Red Hat sent me. "When industry leaders are collaborating and working together in a community versus fracturing it and going their own way, customers will benefit."

Andrew Haley, Tech Lead, Open Source Java at Red Hat in a comment on Mark Reinhold's blog:

Welcome, IBM. I expect this addition of talent will speed the development of OpenJDK 7 and 8.

It's a good idea to co-operate on the class libraries while continuing to develop JVMs independently; there never has been much point in duplicating that effort.

Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director, Eclipse Foundation in a blog post:
Today’s announcement that IBM is going to join forces and work with Oracle on OpenJDK is good news for Java, and by extension for Eclipse. All of us who live within the Java ecosystem need to recognize that this fundamentally strengthens the platform, enhances the business value of Java and offers the hope of an increased pace of innovation.

Al Hilwa, program director for applications development software at IDC, was quoted by eWEEK:

To me this is about developer mind-share around Java. It shows that Oracle is not alone in trying to evolve Java more aggressively, perhaps making changes to the JCP process. It shows that the two biggest players in Java are on board with respect to the future. It is about the road map going forward which finally begins to show some realistic planning in trying to get the capabilities out in two waves.

Mik Kersten, leader of the Eclipse Mylin project & CEO at Tasktop Technologies in the same article:

IBM has brought about some of the key developments that helped Java succeed, such as the initial contribution of the Eclipse IDE. With the resources of Oracle and the innovation of IBM focused on Open JDK, Java developers and adopters alike are getting a new level of assurance that the multivendor ecosystem that has Java will continue to thrive.

And as one could expect for such a big announcement for the Java community, there were many more reactions and opinions on the news.

So, what happens next? Here's is what Henrik has to say on that topic:

What happens next?

* Oracle will create JSRs for Java SE 7 and Java SE 8 and submit them to the JCP.
* Development on JDK 7 will continue to make progress, and we expect to publish an updated build schedule shortly. Please expect this to be revised as we move through the standardization process.
* We will continue to work with IBM and others to enhance and improve the JCP. This organization has been hugely successful in pulling together a wide range of organizations and individuals, but it is 15 years old and there is always room for improvement. There were some really good discussions on this within the JCP last week, but you'll have to wait a little bit longer for a more detailed update on that topic :-)