Peter Pilgrim is professional software developer, designer and architect. Since 1998 he has worked in the financial services industry, investment banking mainly, developing IT for clients. He is a well known specialist in Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) technology, focused on the server-side and the implementation of electronic commerce. Peter has built professional Java EE apps for top-tier investment banks such as Lloyds Banking Group, UBS, Credit Suisse, Royal Bank of Scotland and Deutsche Bank. Peter is the 91st Oracle Java Champion. Peter is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 34 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Stephen Chin's Petition to Open Source JavaFX

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Fellow Java Champion, Stephen Chin has created a petition to open source JavaFX technology and the platform. Yours truly has already signed it and commented thereabouts. I have copied my original commentary here.


In the beginning the entire JavaFX platform was entirely available as open source in the community and the whole world could see its nascent power, the brilliant innovation and breadth and width of its ambition; its fresh ideas. The JVM really did need a scene graph, DSL and graphics primitive engine; combined into a whole new package. JavaFX was innovation. Christopher Oliver had this foresight and started F3. One day, Sun Microsystems decided take the development of the JavaFX runtime behind closed doors.


I can understand their reason to do so was entirely down to time-to-market and interrupt-free engineering. I am very much sympathetic to the agile methodology and iterative approaches, which permitted JavaFX to continue internally to Sun with great SDK developers, engineers and architects like Amy Fowler, Jasper Potts, Richard BairM, Brian Goetz, Per Bothner, Jonathan Giles and countless others. Other fellows like Stephen Chin, Jim Weaver outside of Sun Microsystems (now Oracle) still carried the flag and banged the drums to fan the fires as JavaFX was taken behind closed doors.


JavaFX has been fairly successful and the releases up to now have shown steady improvements. And yet I truly want FX to be even more successful than it is today. From my perspective, JavaFX innovation has been reduced as no else other than Oracle engineer can effectively push the boundaries of the platform, because the runtime is not open.


As a fellow Java Champion, I have been grateful to be involved in early press releases and announcements to the community ahead of product launches. However, the dislocation of the industrial economic globally, diversification of the JVM and disruptive technologies has led me to believe that JavaFX must compete better in the Rich Client Technology arena. No one wants to see FX become an also-run or yet another fledging me-too technology. It clearly is not from a technical standpoint. However, FX needs even more developer mindshare and more socio-political-technological-investors than it currently has now.


In the area of industry, which I worked in daily, several top-tier financial services, investment banks, have decided to choose Microsoft Silverlight and as a second choice Adobe Flex solutions. The latter rich client solution stand ahead of JavaFX in terms of business viable and long term investment. Perhaps there is valid reason. Outside of the IT clique, the JavaFX trademark can easily be confused with the abbreviation "FX" as in Foreign Exchange markets. Perhaps, Oracle should rebrand JavaFX to a better trademark name, for example "Oracle FX", "JFX" or even "JVMFX"


Overall, I am very disappointed that JavaFX is just not quite ready for primetime, in 2010, for investment banks and other enterprise institutions. Because Oracle has had such influence on the server-side, especially in Java application servers and, of course, databases, one would have thought that JavaFX stood a fantastic chance to be adopted as well. It is sad that since 2007, when JavaFX was coined and launched, that it still has minimal adoption in the enterprise in comparison to the history of Java Swing (just over a decade ago).


JavaFX is still a fantastic solution to be portable, cross-platform, a technology which runs across mutliple deployment targets: desktop, mobile and other embedded devices and across multiple operating systems. An Open JavaFX will allow innovation to take place outside of Oracle completely and yet I also believe that the repository, the service / provider owner, intellectual property must be paid or monetised as well. I believe that people, individuals, groups and companies will recognise the work of those who innovate. It is possible to monetise JavaFX.


  Peter Pilgrim,
  Wednesday 7th July 2010

I know you, Dear Reader, care deeply about Java technology. I believe you care about the future of the JVM running successfully as a leisure and business activity, on the desktop, mobile and other embedded devices. Please take the time to sign Stephen's Petition and comment. Let us truly Reinvigorate Java on the Desktop (again). Thank you. I appreciate it.

Peter Pilgrim. Out.



Published at DZone with permission of Peter Pilgrim, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Mikael Grev replied on Fri, 2010/07/16 - 4:29am

Didn't open sourcing Java just mean a 1-2 year delay and lots of burnt resources? I can see no benefits given that Linux now have <0.9% of the desktops.

Fabrizio Giudici replied on Fri, 2010/07/16 - 6:23am

+1, Peter. Petition signed.

Osvaldo Doederlein replied on Fri, 2010/07/16 - 6:39am in response to: Mikael Grev

The delay and effort involved in OpenJDK is in great part caused by its enormous codebase, the existence of significant encumbered code, and transitioning from Sun's internal infrastructure (SCM, building and testing). JavaFX is much smaller, it was started in the post-OpenJDK era using Kenai infra and very likely the encumbered pieces are very few and well-known and isolated (AFAIK, it's just the T2K rasterizer and On2's native codecs). To open source JavaFX, I think the major effort would be community management: engineer time to review external patches, management effort to back some governance board, etc.

Linux is nothing in the desktop, but it's big in the server side and this is important because that's where Java is most popular at this time. While I don't know companies that have already moved from Oracle's JDK to OpenJDK for running enterprise Java EE apps, this may be due mostly to the fact that OpenJDK has not yet reached a "FCS" status with a fully Java SE-certified build. Once that happens, enterprise users will probably build commercial Linux distros from the likes of RedHat, Oracle, etc. and use the packaged OpenJDK/IcedTea builds. And OpenJDK has already bore some interesting fruits, for example Project Zero and Project Shark (some of that already merged back into Oracle's code).

Peter Nimmervoll replied on Sun, 2010/07/18 - 11:27am






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