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Sun commits to JavaFX despite uncertainty

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Adobe MAX Sun Microsystems has promised to deliver on JavaFX despite uncertainty in the wake of massive layoffs and a corporate re-organization.

Param Singh, senior director of Java marketing, told The Reg Sun's committed to delivering on the JavaFX roadmap announced for PCs, mobile devices and TVs.

Sun had promised at JavaOne to deliver JavaFX Desktop 1.0 by the end of this year, and JavaFX Mobile 1.0 next February or March along with JavaFX for TV 1.0. Singh added Sun would update the roadmap as each version ships, and JavaFX Desktop 1.0 is now in "deep testing."

Singh was speaking at Adobe's MAX just a week after Sun announced layoffs affecting almost a fifth of the company's 33,400 workforce along with a re-organization. Sun used MAX to demonstrate its latest JavaFX Desktop preview, featuring a set of visual-effects filters added to the Software Development Kit (SDK) in the last few days.

The implications of both the layoffs and re-organization on Sun's JavaFX team are unclear but aren't promising. While Sun has announced it's intention to slash up to 6,000 employees, notices have not yet to gone out meaning it's unclear where the cuts will be made and how deep they will be.

Given the fact software is a feel-good activity for Sun that generates tiny revenue, and JavaFX is lagging rich internet application (RIA) strategies from Microsoft and Adobe, this is surely one area any manager looking to cut costs would chose to rationalize.

Additionally, Sun's overall software unit is to be broken up with responsibility for different products and projects spread across three groups.

The JavaFX team will become part of the new application platform software group, along with MySQL, under executive vice president Anil Gadre. Sun's NetBeans business and various open-source work is being apportioned to a different unit - the cloud business under senior vice president of cloud and developer platforms Dave Douglas.

Sun's goal is for JavaFX plug ins to NetBeans, along with the rival Eclipse, but it's hard to see how co-ordination can be maintained across divisions.

And, again, given JavaFX's start-up status in a company cutting costs in a field where Microsoft and Adobe are leading, it's difficult to see how JavaFX can be a priority in its new group.

Singh said Sun has actually been hiring people to work on JavaFX in the past year. These include a number of engineers from Apple to work on desktop drivers, with Singh himself joining this year with a background at Adobe. ®

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