Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why Oracle should do something about the Apple fiasco

I very strongly dislike Apple and after this latest stunt even more so. Seriously.

Sometimes, people wonder : why should Oracle do something about the situation when it's pretty obviously Apple's decision that lead to this. So, here I go:

1. Apple has nothing to lose by not supporting Java on OSX. So, they might lose a few thousand (tens of thousands? maybe...) Apple laptop toting java developers. It's a drop in the sea of iPhone, iPad, and iPod sales. So, maybe the same number of devs might not buy the next OSX upgrade - whooptie doo...

2. Oracle owns Java. They have wanted to "own" Java for the longest time, they even bought a whole company (Sun), hardware and all, just to get their grubby hands on it. Now, they own it and when Apple drops the ball, it's now up to Oracle to step up to the plate and show what "owning" the platform really means to them.

I'm sure Adobe would like if Apple produced their own compatible Flash for OSX, but Apple doesn't - Adobe does. Why ? 'Cause they own the platform.

3. Oracle has the most to lose from this development - if Java doesn't run on MacOS, then much of the wonderful cross-platform claims of Java become somewhat gimpy as now Java will not run on a fairly mainstream modern client OS. Not very cool, especially since Java (based on Oracle's own statements) wants to be on the desktop.

From a personal perspective, I could care less about Java on Apple (although I did sign the petition as well). Up until now, I would have recommended it to people acknowledging it being a decent OS. Going forward, despite my dislike for Microsoft, I'd probably just recommend Windows 7. Not that this matters all that much, not too many people ask me.

Finally, why are people are asking Oracle to do something and not Apple ? Really, it makes so much more sense to appeal to the company that caused the problem in the first place. However, as much as Oracle has been sucking in their relationship with the community lately, they are light years away from Apple's blindness and deafness to the needs of their customers when those needs happen to be at odds with the cult leader's ideas (e.g. no flash on iphones yet despite ample evidence that it's a part of a modern web experience, even for the mobile web)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Apple and Java Devs - enough is enough !

There was a line in the iRobot movie with Will Smith where he says "Somehow 'I told you so' just doesn't cut it..." after the chick in the movie finally saw how her robots actually malfunctioned and tried taking over the world (which Will Smith had been telling her all along).

Anyway, Apple has been on this trajectory for the longest time. Even since MANY years ago Jobs had promised that he would make the mac the best platform for Java developers, a whole bunch of java devs have been lugging macs to conferences trying to look cool and consoling themselves with the thought that "it's actually Unix underneath, and it's pretty, so it's perfect". All that despite that Apple has been dissing them for the longest time - I remember how at first it felt weird when Apple deprecated some quicktime java bindings, then came more and more rare java releases, then it took forever for Java 6 to come out, then the same paranioia moved into iphone, ipad, flash... the list goes on and on..

I do have an appreciation for the fervor with which Mac fans defend their platform of choice. I'm the same with Linux . Sometimes I would jump through some hoops that I probably would not have to go through if I was working in Windows. However, if tomorrow Linus Torvalds ( or some other cult figure in the community who could make that decision) came out and said that Linux is not going to run Java anymore (for some real or imaginary philosophical reason), despite my love for so many of the characteristics and ideas behind Linux, and despite my strong dislike for Windows and Microsoft, I would just switch to Windows. Seriously, I earn my livelihood with and because of Java, and if my OS vendor told me that my OS is not going to support me in earning my living - guess what - I will be switching my OS vendor.

Sure, there will probably be ways to continue to somehow run Java on Macs in the foreseeable future . Sooner or later Oracle probably come up with some Java version that somehow runs on a mac. You could probably run some unofficial build (e.g. from OpenJDK) that kinda works, or maybe you could run a Windows or Linux VirtualBox image and run the Java inside of that. But come on - as a Java developer , how many times does one need to be told that he/she is not wanted and shown the door ?

So, here comes my call for action (of course as a Linux fanboy_:-) ) . I hear that these days Macs run on Intel hardware anyway - whip out that copy of Ubuntu that you always said you'd try and take it out for a spin. Or try Fedora - it's quite decent. Worst case scenario - I've seen my better half use Windows 7 and it seems to be OK ( she doesn't curse it as much as XP ) - it does run Java, and if you've ever dealt with technologies you're already used to some level of hassle.