'We broke a few things and will continue to do so... in a careful way' – Oracle's Reinhold on Java renovation work

Language is still free, it's the support that will cost you plenty


CodeOne The perennial Oracle OpenWorld sideshow previously known as JavaOne flowered again on Monday under a new name, Oracle Code One. The rebranding, as Stephen Chin, director of the Oracle developer community team, said in April, represents an effort to create a "bigger event that’s inclusive to more languages, technologies, and developer communities."

Nonetheless, the Monday evening keynote opened with Georges Saab, veep of development for the Java platform group at Oracle, urging the audience of developers to call out to "a gentleman who did a previous keynote earlier today who's still backstage," presumably a deferential reference to Oracle executive chairman Larry Ellison who addressed an OpenWorld audience a few hours earlier.

So it was that Saab led the audience in a caffeinated code chant of "Java, Java, Java." It fell short of Ballmeresque levels of manic intensity, but it was a sufficient demonstration of groupthink to be unnerving.

Other programming languages received nods of acknowledgement and should get more time in the spotlight at the Tuesday evening keynote. But Monday's speechifying focused squarely on Java, an entirely unsurprising turn of events given last year's declaration of Java primacy by Mark Cavage, then veep of software development at Oracle: "We want the next decade to be Java first, Java always," he said last year

Rafer Hazen, manager of the data pipelines team at GitHub, took a turn on stage to explain that GitHub loves of Ruby but not for its data pipelines.

"What did we choose? Given the venue this probably isn't too surprising but we went with Java," he said. "Java's strengths in parallelism and concurrency, its performance, its type system and its massive ecosystem all make it a really good fit for building data infrastructure."

Jakarta and Larry Ellison

Enterprise Java caretakers float new rules of engagement for future feature updates

READ MORE

Saab then reiterated Oracle's commitment to Java and discussed the challenge of dealing with an increasingly broad Java community.

"Just as Java has grown, the ecosystem has grown with it," said Saab. "And this results in a virtuous circle that we all benefit from. A community this size brings a lot of possibilities but it also brings a lot of challenges, such as conflicting needs from different users."

Saab said Java's development happens in public in the OpenJDK. He recalled commitments made last year at the show then called JavaOne to make Java more open, to deliver more incremental improvements, and to provide better enterprise support.

"JDK 11 has the most involvement from outside of Oracle we've on any release of Java, ever," said Saab.

Move fast and try not to break things

Efforts to deliver Java improvements on a regular six-month cadence, in keeping with the rapid release cycles for other programming languages, have succeeded, at the cost of breaking some things.

"We're evolving the Java platform at a more rapid pace," said Mark Reinhold, chief architect of the Java platform group at Oracle. "We're doing this in order to keep up with competing platforms. We have broken a few things and we will continue to do so, but in a careful measured way, in order to make Java a better fit for modern applications."

Reinhold spent his time on stage examining various efforts to modularize and modernize Java. He reassured attendees that while the changes may be scary, they're not as scary as you might think. He also emphasized that Java is still free, despite changes in the way Oracle handles Java support.

"To establish a level playing field, Oracle has open sourced all of the significant commercial features that were previously available only to paying customers, including application class data sharing, Flight Recorder, Java Mission Control, and the Z Garbage Collector (ZGC)," he said.

"Oracle builds and OpenJDK build are at this point functionally interchangeable. This means that you can switch from one to the other as you please. It also means that all of this code is available under the GPL for anyone to build, test, publish, update, and support."

Reinhold addressed misconceptions about the new Java release model and delved into several projects intended to enhance the language. These include: Project Valhalla, an effort to make JVM memory usage more efficient and thus less costly; Project Panama, an effort to improve C APIs for interacting with the JVM; Project Amber, an attempt to make Java more terse through the addition of features like switch expressions and raw string literals; Project Loom, which introduces a lightweight alternative to threads called fibers that's more efficient for concurrent code.

"Java is about helping developers build and maintain large, reliable programs," said Reinhold. "The other big goal is program performance."

And if you say Java over and over, Larry may favor you. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Google Pixel 6, 6 Pro Android 12 smartphone launch marred by shopping cart crashes

    Chocolate Factory talks up Tensor mobile SoC, Titan M2 security ... for those who can get them

    Google held a virtual event on Tuesday to introduce its latest Android phones, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, which are based on a Google-designed Tensor system-on-a-chip (SoC).

    "We're getting the most out of leading edge hardware and software, and AI," said Rick Osterloh, SVP of devices and services at Google. "The brains of our new Pixel lineup is Google Tensor, a mobile system on a chip that we designed specifically around our ambient computing vision and Google's work in AI."

    This latest Tensor SoC has dual Arm Cortex-X1 CPU cores running at 2.8GHz to handle application threads that need a lot of oomph, two Cortex-A76 cores at 2.25GHz for more modest workloads, and four 1.8GHz workhorse Cortex-A55 cores for lighter, less-energy-intensive tasks.

    Continue reading
  • BlackMatter ransomware gang will target agriculture for its next harvest – Uncle Sam

    What was that about hackable tractors?

    The US CISA cybersecurity agency has warned that the Darkside ransomware gang, aka BlackMatter, has been targeting American food and agriculture businesses – and urges security pros to be on the lookout for indicators of compromise.

    Well known in Western infosec circles for causing the shutdown of the US Colonial Pipeline, Darkside's apparent rebranding as BlackMatter after promising to go away for good in the wake of the pipeline hack hasn't slowed their criminal extortion down at all.

    "Ransomware attacks against critical infrastructure entities could directly affect consumer access to critical infrastructure services; therefore, CISA, the FBI, and NSA urge all organizations, including critical infrastructure organizations, to implement the recommendations listed in the Mitigations section of this joint advisory," said the agencies in an alert published on the CISA website.

    Continue reading
  • It's heeere: Node.js 17 is out – but not for production use, says dev team

    EcmaScript 6 modules will not stop growing use of Node, claims chair of Technical Steering Committee

    Node.js 17 is out, loaded with OpenSSL 3 and other new features, but it is not intended for use in production – and the promotion for Node.js 16 to an LTS release, expected soon, may be more important to most developers.

    The release cycle is based on six-monthly major versions, with only the even numbers becoming LTS (long term support) editions. The rule is that a new even-numbered release becomes LTS six months later. All releases get six months of support. This means that Node.js 17 is primarily for testing and experimentation, but also that Node.js 16 (released in April) is about to become LTS. New features in 16 included version 9.0 of the V8 JavaScript engine and prebuilt Apple silicon binaries.

    "We put together the LTS release process almost five years ago, it works quite well in that we're balancing [the fact] that some people want the latest, others prefer to have things be stable… when we go LTS," Red Hat's Michael Dawson, chair of the Node.js Technical Steering Committee, told The Register.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021