What's the future of OpenJDK?

Ismael Juma mlists at juma.me.uk
Tue Mar 2 14:15:50 UTC 2010

Hi Volker,

Volker Simonis <volker.simonis at ...> writes:
> This only means they will not open source anything more and makes no
> commitment at all about the future amount of contributions!

OK, so you want them to outline the amount of contributions? Is that what you
expect of all vendors or is it just Oracle?

I do not work for Oracle, so I will not pretend to know what they intend to do.
However, everything I've read so far seems to show that Oracle does not believe
that the base platform is the place to make things proprietary. They even said
that they don't need to make money on the base platform because they make money
on things that depend on the base platform.

Based on your reply, it seems to me that you're taking a lawyer-like approach to
interpreting their statements, and it's not hard to create doomsday scenarios
with that approach. More below.

> But these are exatly my fears! They say: " Open sourcing the current
> JRockit code base simply does not make sense" and "The open source
> codebase should not be polluted by such proprietary extensions". Mark
> told in his webcast that he specially likes features like the garbage
> collector and "Mission Control" of JRockit on the one side and the C2
> JIT of the HotSpot on the other side.
> Now imagine how these features can be "merged"? I suppose this will
> (and can only) happen in a closed version

That is one way to look at it (the pessimistic/paranoid one). Another way is
that new code would have to be written so that these things work with HotSpot
and it's much easier to do it in the open from the start (or with the knowledge
that it's meant to FOSS). Although the word "merge" has been used, I think that
this is more of a conceptual thing than what will happen in practice. Sure, code
will be reused, but I'd be amazed if they didn't have to write substantial
amounts of new code.

> (remember how long it took
> to inspect and clean the HotSpot code for open sourcing?).

Actually the HotSpot code was the first to be open-sourced. The libraries took a
lot longer.

Having said all that, if Oracle is wiling to make official and specific
commitments to OpenJDK, that would not be a bad thing. I am not particularly
concerned that they haven't though. Time will tell if I am right or wrong. ;)


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