About trust in the community, Swing and JavaFX

This post by Kirill Grouchnikov from Pushing Pixels made me sad:

Trust is hard to build and easy to destroy

Are we really doing that badly? Ever since the full GPL release by Sun of the reference implementation of Java as OpenJDK and the positive wave that IcedTea brought to unite the existing libre java communities pushing Java into the core of the various GNU/Linux distros, I feel like the sky is the limit. We as a community now have the full freedom to cooperate with each other in whatever way we like. But for some the feeling is still not there. Are we afraid to really define “Java the next generation”? It seems the code and the spirit is there. But there is a leadership trust issue. How do we fix that?


  1. I think there are two very different sub-communities at work here that don’t talk much with each other : one is JCP-focused, and wants all the work to occur within that familiar framework, another (in the Linux world, in particular) sees the JCP as a restrictive institution to be burned down, and wants no work to occur in that framework.

    Helping those communities to figure out ways to work together will continue to be an interesting challenge, that goes well beyond Sun alone.

  2. Jeremiah Jahn says:

    I agree with the above comment, but also I think quite bit of the excitement is gone. There is no real easy way to keep track of what’s going on in the community. I don’t have time to filter through a bunch of generally irrelevant blog entries. and it seems that all of the just facts news sites have disappeared example java.net/news. It was nice to have one place to go to see what was going and worth paying attention to.

  3. Jon says:

    Certify open Jdk for use with software such as tomcat, mule etc.

  4. foo says:

    Here’s an example of why not to trust Sun. They sent a marketing guy to DebConf instead of technical people.

  5. Hervé says:

    Why always bullying Sun for what they are doing or not doing ? We have now a completely open and certified Java6 to use Of course, it’s not the work of Sun alone, but this is a good thing !!! They said they will do it with the help of the community, and they did it as they said. In regard of this, I really don’t understand this “Here’s an example of why not to trust Sun” POV.

  6. Mark says:

    Two things here from my perspective after using Swing in our products for about 7 years now.
    First, technically, there’s been shared frustration for awhile that defects aren’t being corrected or can’t be corrected due to backwards compatibility concerns. Lot’s of seemingly simple bugs that are open for years undermines confidence. Then there is the keeping up with the Jones’es effect. We need to feel Swing is staying relevant. So while I think Swing may be the best toolkit for cross platform development (and I do), I have wondered for awhile what exactly is Sun up to.
    Secondly, there is the business side. Nobody wants to be caught trapped in a dead language or dead API, either as an employee or as a business selling a product based on dead technology, especially in a troubled economy.

    My current advice will be to wait awhile and see what happens, mainly because there are no good alternatives. But instead of viewing Swing as a ‘mature’ product, I’d really wish the product and marketing people at Sun would start looking at ways to integrate Swing with Web 2.0

  7. I think you are missing something Dalibor.

    We are seeing less involvement in swing which was done through the JCP as part of the core platform, and now the Sun swing implementation is also done through the community in openjdk as free software.

    But JavaFX is mainly build secretly (and probably won’t be liberated at the start), and it is don’t completely outside the JCP.

    Neither the free software libre java people, not the traditional java/jcp people see this as good citizenship of sun for the ecosystem. This is the leadership crisis we are seeing now.

    What I think needs to be done is for people to step in. If you value swing so much, pick up the pieces and run with them. Just like we are doing with IcedTea for the GNU/Linux distros, so they have OpenJDK sooner and faster.

  8. I am sure the SwingX project would value new contributors, so go for it, indeed.

  9. ArtemGr says:

    I think what Kirill means is that, though there is an OpenJDK, the majority of Swing development happens back in Sun, and majority of clients (browsers) have the Sun JDK installed, and it is not a sound plan to have users install two version of the JDK.
    OpenJDK is currently a “branch” and can’t directly evolve the Java standards. Even if OpenJDK and swingX teams will implement “video streams” and “translucent and shaped windows” in the OpenJDK, it will have next to zero effect for me as an Applet/WebStart RIA developer.
    And Sun currently seems to be interested more in JavaFX instead of improving Swing and allowing the cool new features to be useful from Swing. (I, for example, will probably never use JavaFX: I have Scala, why do I need another functional language? But I see that new missed features are advertized for JavaFX and not advertized for Swing).

  10. ArtemGr says:

    In Adobe flesh all the effects and transformations are part of the core GUI library, but in Java they happen to be in JavaFX, not in Swing. Isn’t it a sign that Swing is an abandoned road?
    Similarly, in Silverlight one can use any language, including dynamic ones, to access all the cool effects and features and abilities of Silverlight API, – this is one of their selling points, – but Java forces us to use JavaFX if we want to build a RIA.

  11. Hervé says:

    Silverlight and Flex are not free. At all…