PRE-PROPOSAL: Source and Encoding keyword

Jeremy Manson jeremy.manson at
Wed Mar 18 15:58:20 PDT 2009

On Wed, Mar 18, 2009 at 3:10 AM, Howard Lovatt <howard.lovatt at> wrote:
> Hi,
> 2009/3/16 Jeremy Manson <jeremy.manson at>:

>> I'm not objecting to versioning in principle, but I think there are
>> enough unanswered questions that this proposal is probably beyond the
>> scope of "small changes".
> I think one of the reasons that Java is tending to stagnate a little,
> not badly, just a little, is that it is getting hard to introduces
> changes. I think source will provide a relief valve - get out of jail
> free.

I'm not going to respond point-by-point, but the primary reason it is
hard to introduce changes in Java is not because of existing keywords,
or the fact that we are tied to existing source.  It is because it
*should* be hard to introduce changes in a widely used programming
language.  Too much forward progress gives you a language that looks
more like a katamari than a well-considered, cohesive whole: C++ and
perl come to mind as examples of this.  How many different initializer
syntaxes does C++ have?  15?

I agree that there has been too much stagnation in the platform in the
last few years, but this has nothing to do with it being difficult to
change the language.  It is because of political issues in the Java
community.  This is clearly not the right forum to discuss that,

I think that in this specific case, you are considering adding
something that only solves a small part of a much larger problem that
needs to be addressed.  Instead of having a point solution, which
risks being at odds with solutions to the rest of the problem, what
you really want is a larger, well-thought-out solution to the whole
problem.  Start a JSR and solve versioning for us!  Everyone will be
very grateful!


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