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October 6th, 2015

Is Oracle Abandoning Java?

It appears as if Java can be added to the list of things that Oracle spent big bucks acquiring from Sun for no apparent reason. Last Wednesday, InfoWorld’s Paul Krill wrote an article around an email the site received from “a former high-ranking Java official” who said, “Java has no interest to them anymore.”

Java logoThe article prompted JAXenter to speculate, “It’s possible that Oracle sees few other ways to make money with Java than by suing Google, who many might argue have boosted the Java community with [what] is arguably one of the biggest Java-based innovations in years — Android.”

Both articles point out that this is probably because Oracle’s big focus these days is the cloud, which Ellison once called “complete gibberish.”

According to InfoWorld:

“Oracle is not interested in empowering its competitors and doesn’t want to share innovation, the email further alleges. The company is slimming down Java EE (Enterprise Edition), but it also doesn’t want anyone else to work on Java or Java EE and is sidelining the JCP (Java Community Process). ‘They have a winner-take-all mentality and they are not interested in collaborating,’ said the email. ‘Proprietary product work will be done on WebLogic, and there’ll be a proprietary microservices platform.'”

This seems to fit with news from early September, when reports began to surface on Twitter, Reddit and Facebook that Oracle was giving the ax to Java evangelists. The fact that these layoffs were coming less than two months before Oracle’s JavaOne conference in San Francisco was considered quite disturbing by the Java community.

Oracle has never been a good steward when it comes to Java. Back in early 2013, the Department of Homeland Security found Java to be so full of security holes that it warned all computer users in the U.S. to disable Java in their browsers. This warning eventually led to many security vulnerabilities — many considered to be critical — being fixed by Oracle in numerous patches.

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Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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10 comments to Is Oracle Abandoning Java?

  • Sanders

    For a start good riddance.

    JAVA the JVM is a piece of foul garbage.

    And this should serve as a warning that one should not invest in closed Languages backed by corporations.

  • sola

    Hopefully, this is not true, since Java needs to keep up its pace of innovation.

    I find Java a very good technology platform for mid-to-big sized applications (esp with Spring but JEE is also quite efficient nowadays) and hope that it remains vibrant.

    The Java community is huge and you get a lot of help with your problems (just take a look at stackoverflow stats)

  • Mike S.

    Java the language and the Java Virtual Machine will last forever because we have the OpenJDK released under a GPLv2 license.

    Oracle just cut back work on new features to the language because they were not making enough profits from it. This isn’t a surprise – no matter what your opinion of Oracle, they’ve always been razor focused on profits.

  • CFWhitman

    Some users are quick to spread hate for Java because they associate it with the Web browser Java sandbox. This doesn’t really reflect on the essential elements of Java.

    Trying to sandbox a powerful computing environment to provide access for it to Web sites is always going to be problematic from a security point of view. It’s much easier to keep browser scripting languages (like Javascript) and server side environments (like PHP and server side Java) out of your system’s internals than something that operates on the level that a JVM does. This doesn’t mean the JVM itself is a bad thing.

    A Java program installed and running locally is no more of a security threat than any other program you might install. The difference is that programs you install are supposed to be trusted, and programs running in a sandbox are untrusted.

    I, for one, would not be happy to see Java go any more than its competition: Mono, Python, Perl, Ruby, etc. (notice how these environments don’t have browser sandboxes). They all have interesting features and programs that take advantage of their strengths. I use or have used Java based software like Squirrel SQL and Jedit. I know a number of people who play Minecraft, which is Java based. I see Java carrying on despite any support Oracle might withdraw, since there are open source versions of it.

  • CFWhitman

    One thing I would like to add. I’ve always found Java virtual machine installations a little bit of a pain to manage on Windows, but in Linux the software seems very easy to manage. So don’t take the annoying nature of updating the JVM on Windows as a reason to hate Java itself.

  • Mike S.

    I think we may be going off the original topic, but I think a lot of the hatred of Java stems from the fact that Java Virtual Machine startup times and memory usage made it irritating to use ten or fifteen years ago. Most people of all stripes have a long memory for technology annoyances. Minecraft starts quickly on my desktop today, even with a processor from 2011. But in 2003 a Java program might take 40 seconds to launch and then periodically hang for 15 seconds at a time as system memory was paged in and out of the system swap file.

    Plus, for a long time Sun and then Oracle bundled adware with the Java Runtime Environment installer.

    On Windows, I switched to the Azul Systems package of the OpenJDK. So far that has run fine for me, but then the only Java program I use on Windows is Minecraft for my kids.

  • CFWhitman

    Well, I have to admit that almost all the Java stuff I remember from fifteen years ago was browser based software, e.g. the interface for JetDirect administration, that I didn’t find very efficient and only used because I had to. Though I don’t remember actually running out of resources because of it (generally 32MB of RAM seems about right for the memory I had at the time on Windows NT machines).

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