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From Dalibor Topic <robi...@kaffe.org>
Subject Re: Harmony and the future of Java
Date Mon, 27 Feb 2006 11:46:57 GMT
Geir Magnusson Jr <geir <at> pobox.com> writes:

> Damian Hamill wrote:
> > 
> > I started to wonder if I should switch to c# .NET.  I would rather
> > stick with Java but the 16MB JRE download is a killer. 
> One of our goals is Java everywhere.  Literally.

We've actually had that goal reached for years. Every distribution out there has
shipped Kaffe & other GNU Classpath based free runtimes for several years. But
most Java developers didn't and don't have a need to use them or can't help to
improve them.

We've got to become *a lot* better that the proprietary runtime solutions, for
the distribution issue to matter in our favour even on platforms where free
runtimes are ubiquitous.

Distribution on Windows is not an issue open source Java implementations can
possibly solve, since they can't make it attractive for Microsoft to bundle an
open source J2SE implementation. Other than as a migration path to .NET, there
is no money to be made for Microsoft in that.

> This is a concern of a lot of people, especially when you see J2SE 6 
> throwing everything and the kitchen sink into the JRE.  So having core 
> modules and optional modules that can be downloaded on demand would be 
> very cool.

Yes. But since that's going to be possible only post java 7, unless someone
comes up with a great way of doing it within the next year or two, so I don't
think that will actually matter by the time it arrives. JSR 277 looks dead (or
silently dormant) from the outside.

We'd still have to ship the huge brick of all the core classes releases as part
of the core since 1.6, or we wouldn't be compatible. That sort of kills the
utility of class library modularization for J2SE, but leaves opportunities in
the embedded arena.

> However, the reason why you don't need this w/ MSFT is because it's all 
> there already.  We need to achieve the same thing with java - ubiquity. 
>   I'm pretty sure that MSFT won't be shipping it, but suppose we could 
> get it bundled w/ Firefox? :)

Here are a few numbers. 

The global PC market last year was ~220 million units. Spreadfirefix.com
bloggers currently estimate their market share at ~10%, so that means around 20
million of those new PCs end up having firefox on them in one way or another and
actually being used. 90% don't.

On the other hand, 90% of PCs ship with Windows, and the assorted plumbing and
kitchen sink. Starting from late this year when Vista starts shipping, that
means 90% of the next year's ~250 million PCs will ship with a bundled .NET 2.0
runtime. Let's assume for the sake of making the numbers in the argument look
nicer, that Microsoft loses market share, etc, and it's just 200 million PCs
with Whidbey.

That still leaves us with 10 times the number of PCs that could run .NET apps
vs. the number of PCs that could run Java applications even if a free runtime
was bundled with firefox, be it Kaffe, Harmony, or whatever, in a few years down
the road, when its done. Since there isn't and most likely won't be one bundled
for a while [1], the actual numbers will be a lot worse.

dalibor topic

[1] Not until gcjwebplugin is finished, at least. And GNU Classpath's AWT &
Swing works like a charm on win32. And until we know that GNU Classpath plus the
VM to bundle has no security issues, and can assure the Mozilla project of that.
Lots of work for hungry volunteers, etc.

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