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Split on support for 'old' Java in next Eclipse

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A summit on the next version of Eclipse platform - E4 - has exposed fundamental disagreements between those who want to update the platform and those wanting to continue support for "old" Java.

The dispute is over whether to focus on Java 5 or to continue supporting its aging predecessor Java 1.4. Eclipse projects currently embrace several versions of Java ranging from 1.4, released six years ago, to the latest Java 6.

At the heart of the matter is the issue of "bloat" - whether later versions of Java have become choc-full of APIs for every single scenario, and whether Java should be stripped down to the bare essentials.

A "large portion of the community" making up the recent E4 summit was reckoned to be "resistant to using old technology", according to the architectural foundations wiki record of the E4 summit.

It's those pesky "embedded folks (and their ilk)" that apparently do not want Java 5 because they are worried about "bloat" the wiki said.

There no elaboration on the differences between the camps, but embedded developers in general would likely have preferred a version of Java suited to deployment in devices that have limited memory and processing power or rely on extremely fast performance. More APIs can make this fit difficult and also slow system execution.

Java 5 includes features that were intended to make it easier to develop applications. While these features have led to some improvements they have also been criticized for being more complex.

Software leaders including C++ inventor Bjarne Stroustrup and the founder of the open source Spring Framework Rod Johnson have also weighed in, in the past, on whether Java is becoming unfit for action.

The debate one whether Java is becoming bloated parallels a growing discussion over whether Eclipse itself has also become overloaded with features.®

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