Oracle cooks up free and premium JDKs
Don't sweat the price. You'll pay in other ways
QCon Updated Oracle will deliver two Java Development Kit (JDK) based on the OpenJDK project - one free and the other paid.
That's according to Tweets pouring thick and fast from an Oracle session at QCon San Francisco, where the database giant mostly repeated its earlier plans for Java.
Adam Messinger, Oracle vice president of development, told QCon that Oracle plans to offer a "premium" edition of the JDK in addition to the open-source JDK.
Oracle, meanwhile, is converging its JRockit Virtual Machine and the Hotspot JVM from Sun Microsystems. The converged JVM will be released under the OpenJDK project.
JRockit has world-beating performance, thanks to its garbage collection features. It also provides hot swapability. You can make changes without taking a server offline. HotSpot has been considered a generally good all-round, reliable JVM and it has supported more operating systems and hardware.
Oracle's plan has always been to merge JRockit and Hotspot, and Messinger was simply repeating the message delivered by Oracle during a strategy announcement in January.
Messinger did not explain how the premium JDK would differ from the free version, but the premium edition will likely see performance tuning and tie-ins to Oracle's middleware. But he promised: "there will always be a high-performance gratis JDK."
He did not say how Oracle would price the JDK, or explain how it would be offered, according to QCon Tweets.
Should people be worried about the pricing news, especially in view of Oracle's history of jacking up prices? Oracle recently doubled support costs for MySQL, which is also open source.
Not according to Messinger, who said (according to Tweeter commenters): "I don't tank [sic] folks need to be too hung up on this, since we make so much money on Java elsewhere." That would be the Oracle's Java customers elsewhere, yeah?
Meanwhile, Oracle has officially responded to its double set-back during the Java Community Process (JCP) executive committee elections.
Henrik Ståhl, responsible for product strategy in the Java Platform Group and an official spokesman for Oracle on Java SE, has that said Oracle still "respects" the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) - despite screwing it by refusing to grant ASF a Java license for its Java SE implementation Project Harmony.
Ståhl congratulated ASF's romp home to re-election on the JCP. Somebody from Oracle had to, otherwise it would have looked bad.
"Our disagreement around TCK licensing does in no way lower our respect for and desire to continue to work with Apache," according to Ståhl.
We're sure ASF also harbors no bad feelings and wants to put this behind them too. Oh, wait...
Oracle's JCP man proceeded to chastise those who voted against Hologic during the election, blocking it from getting a seat on the EC group driving Java SE and EE.
Developers saw Hologic as an Oracle supporter being brought on board to pack out the JCP. The Reg understands developers either voted against Hologic or abstained after members actively encouraged their colleagues to block Hologic's nomination.
Ståhl maintained Oracle was trying to bring more of a customer focus to the JCP by nominating Oracle - it just so happened the customer in question was one of Oracle's, referenced in glowing terms on the giant's website.
"We believe that the lobbying against him was misguided and rather unfortunate for the community." Ståhl said. You can read the rest of his statement here. ®
This article has been updated to clarify Oracle's strategy is to offer premium and free JDKs.
JRockit has been effectively premium for a while
I've used JRockit in the past, good VM, first with compressed pointers for 64 bit use, great heap management, good for app servers. It used to be free for development, but that went away 2+ years ago. Which means that not only did I stop using it @works, the OSS projects I work on don't get tested on it by myself or anyone else. Go look at all the Hadoop bugs related to JRockit -I was the only person filing them, and when JRockit stopped being free, I stopped doing that.
So: if Oracle do want a premium JVM, they need to recognise that most of the open source and mass apps won't be built and tested on it, may not work, unless they somehow retest every single app, field all bug reports related to their JVMs, and try and get patches back into the main trunk projects. That may happen - in Ant the Eclipse and Netbeans teams helped a lot, but in Hadoop, Oracle are going to have to bring up a 500 node cluster of their own and stress it out, or recommend that everyone use the same JVMs that Yahoo! and Facebook use -which is currently the classic JVM.
One other issue here is support contracts: you can currently get support contracts for the Sun JVM from oracle. Will this go away and you only get support on the premium JVM? I hope not. But looking at the mysql changes, it may happen.
WTF! Greedy, short sighted, retards!
This could easily end up damaging the reputation of Java because there are bound to be incompatibilities and bugs caused by the lack or precence of premium features. This will inevitably increase testing costs and ironically make Java less popular with business!
Oracle need to stop digging, their hole is already disturbingly deep; it could easily sabotage future business!
e.g. The main Postgre-SQL backer is already recruiting ex MySQL staff, to sell Postgre-SQL's Oracle compatibility and MySQL porting capability!
Here we go
Capitalising on Java already. How long before they start removing features from the free version or start demanding support contracts after 90 days?