Peter G (sinetimore) wrote,
Peter G

A Fresh Cup Of Java

One of the things some of the coders find odd about me is that I continually bash Google and react with apathy to Apple.  Google loves Linux and open source.  Why am I so harsh on them, even though I endorse them (still want an Android, for example) while keeping relatively quiet about Apple?  The answer is simple -- expectations.  Google purports to love the FOSS community, but does a lot of things that seem downright arrogant or contradictory.  They refuse to create a standard Android build because they feel it will interfere with people's rights under the GPL, but won't say anything about the eFuse bootloader and shut down people making their own Android distros.  The Android dev kit can make stuff that works under Linux, but it can't be released in any way unless it specifically runs on Android and nothing else.  The Go computer language has a lot of potential (I LOVE trash collecting and would love to see C++ do it.  Then again, I'd also love to see C++ include basic text manipulation as a standard, and that sure as hell ain't on the horizon), but it only works under Linux.  You want crossplatform, you have to do it yourself, and we all know how easy THAT is.  Google refuses to even take a stand on software patents (IBM has numerous patents, but has stated they oppose them and has donated them to the OIN).  Google, for all its talk, does a lot to harm FOSS.  Plenty of others give them a break, I'm not among them.

Apple, by way of contrast, with its "walled garden" philosophy, will do things to help FOSS and all I can do is applaud.  Whether or not they mean to help, they do.  With the build up to the iPad, I looked over the specs and the situation and declared it to be FOSS' best friend.  I was told to put the crack pipe down.  "The iPad is proprietary.  How can you possibly think it's good for FOSS?"  Because standard stuff won't work on it.  Lots of people have complained of Flash's dominance on the web.  Here is a whole new guaranteed user base.  If you want your web content to reach them, you have to do it without Flash.

Less than a year later, the iPad did what M$' Silverlight tried and failed to do -- kill Flash.  Most users use the Windows version of Flash, but devs use other platforms, and Flash is always a version or two behind for Linux and Mac.  The open standards of HTML5 suddenly heated up, something platform agnostic.  Google finally caved and open sourced a video codec (not ogg Theora, but close enough).  Flash is no longer necessary to enjoy the web.  All because of the iPad.

People like me who have been complaining about web sites and java scripting just got another Christmas gift from Apple.  Apple has announced that, after their next update, they will no longer directly support Java for the Mac.  In other words, there is no guarantee that Java code will work flawlessly on the Mac anymore.  Combine this with their refusal to create a JVM and include Flash with installation on ALL Macs, not just the iPad, and you have a problem (I don't recall if the iPhone is also mentioned, so I'm reserving some judgment.  Not all, but some).

I don't like Java.  It is unbelievably clunky and slow.  It is a system hog.  It only works well in embedded applications.  You want speed in an interpreted language that is crossplatform?  Ruby and Python left Java in the dirt long ago.  Larry Ellison at Oracle is buddies with Steve Jobs, and with Jobs basically holding an entire user base away from Oracle's Java (just when they need all the support they can get, thanks to the Android debacle), he can't be happy.

So, the web is moving closer to open standards.  All thanks to a proprietary company.  Hey, when someone does right, it's only fair to give them credit.
Tags: computers, digital rights, foss, hypocrisy, important life lessons, linux, open source, patent law, technology is a beautiful thing

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