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JavaOne Press Panel - Community and Java SE


Day three of JavaOne saw Oracle executives answering questions about Oracle's roadmap, with representation from across Oracle's focus areas, and the Java Community Process (JCP). The panel included Patrick Curran (JCP chair) and Georges Saab (Head of Java SE Development).

Curran emphasized Oracle's strong focus on community and pointed to the involvement of community members such as Red Hat, Goldman Sachs, and Mohamed Taman (Egyptian JUG) in the keynote. He went on to praise the efforts of Java user communities, with at least 40 JUGs now being members of the JCP, representing tens of thousands of developers (the largest JUG worldwide is the Brazilian SouJava with 40000 members, whilst the London Java Community has over 5000).

The continuing reform of the process and IP regime of the JCP was a major topic of Curran's summary, detailing the progress made in merging the executive committees so that a single body is responsible for the entire platform. He acknowledged that the reform of patent protection and IP flow is progressing slower than expected, but remained upbeat about the eventual delivery of this major milestone.

He concluded by discussing a simplified membership structure for the JCP, to allow individuals to join as "affiliate members" and a recruitment drive to encourage more corporations to join as members, citing corporations' greater resources enabling them to contribute more significantly.

From the Java SE side, Saab was very positive on Java 8 and its adoption, also noting the community's efforts in certifying and testing libraries and open-source code on SE 8. He cited a figure of 80 Java 8-specific books having been published since the release of SE 8, and related this enthusiasm and adoption to the open approach followed by OpenJDK projects. He also noted the OpenJDK Quality Outreach group started by Oracle to engage developers in early testing of Java 8 (and now 9) releases with popular open-source Java projects.

Saab went on to draw attention to key Java 8 features that have been led by people outside Oracle - Stephen Colebourne's Date and Time (JSR 310), Doug Lee's continuing work in concurrency, Michael Ernst's work in type annotations (JSR 308) and the SAP and IBM efforts around AIX and PowerPC, although Red Hat's work on ARM was conspicuously absent from his list.

Performance, and internal improvements were also mentioned, with a figure of 20-25% speed improvement in Java 8 being claimed, along with the changes to Fork/Join and invokedynamic playing a role in increasing possibilities for runtime managed concurrency.

Finally, Saab addressed the sometimes prickly subject of Java security, with the announcement of an advanced deployment management console and better enterprise desktop support in 8u20. These represent fairly incremental and modest improvements to Java security, but Saab insisted that Oracle's larger enterprise customers had been demanding them. Java security has clearly been a focus topic for Oracle during the development of Java 8, and Henrik Stahl (SE Development) took the view that major progress has been achieved, quipping: Even the bad guys have moved on to juicier targets than the Java platform, although he acknowledged that the Java platform has a long road ahead before it can fully repair its security reputation with users.

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