Major changes underway at Oracle: SPARC and Solaris teams laid off, Java EE oversight goes to Eclipse Foundation, future Java SE major releases proposed for twice a year

Oracle has been rather busy last few weeks. First, news that the Solaris and SPARC teams from Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems have reached the end of the road, and the majority of the teams have been laid off. The layoffs started at the start of this year, and the recent round apparently leaves only a small team left.

Last month there was a blog post to The Aquarium suggesting that Oracle would be open for another group or organization to drive stewardship for the Java EE spec. Looking back at past events, it’s no surprise that some significant changes were coming. Things started changing with the layoffs of the majority of the Java evangelists back in September 2015 and the letter assumed to be from one of the evangelists to InfoWorld stating that “… Java has no interest to them anymore”. Oracle’s lack of involvement in the development of Java EE started to gain notice by the other JCP members in minutes of the JCP Executive Committee in May and June 2016 leading to statements in the public minutes such as:

“…concern that Oracle, despite its role as steward of Java, has not made any public statements or explanations for the apparent lack of activity on Java EE”

There was also a formal statement by the JCR Executive Committee directed to Oracle formally voicing their concern with recent lack of JSR activity and involvement by Oracle:

“EC members expressed their serious concerns about the lack of progress on Java EE. They believe that Java EE is critical to the Java ecosystem and to their organizations and customers. They fully accept Oracle’s right to direct its investment where it wishes, but expressed the hope that they and other members of the Java community be permitted to step in and help with the ongoing development of the platform, particularly in areas where Oracle wishes to reduce its investment. They therefore requested a dialog with Oracle about how to make such a transition.”

This was followed in June 2016 by a statement by ‘Oracle spokesman’ Mike Moeller that Oracle were still committed to Java EE and were planning on a proposal to the community a t JavaOne 2016. This proposal turned out to be a ‘refocusing’ of the changes in the Java EE 8 proposal, namely dropping new features and changes that were not aligned with current industry trends (particularly microservices, so the MVC spec and a number of other proposals got dropped from the EE8 JSR).

From last month’s post that Oracle was open to consider another organization to drive future development of Java EE, yesterday it was announced (more here) that the Eclipse Foundation will be the new stewards of Java EE. Given Oracle’s recent lack of involvement, it’s great that they even considered this move, and hopefully the future of EE will be in good hands with the Eclipse Foundation.

If that news was not enough, Mark Reinhold also posted recently that after the slow release schedule of the past few major Java SE releases, they’re considering a twice yearly major release cycle moving forward after the planned release of Java 9 on September 21 (after many delays already). Two major releases a year is a massive change compared to the 3 year current release cycle (between Java 7 to Java 8 and between 8 and the upcoming Java 9 releases). Hopefully this means some good things are going to be coming to Java across the board, SE and EE, in the near future.

Homebrew contest 1st place: Packet Radio Go-Kit with node.js Packet to Twitter bridge

Super excited (and rather surprised!) to win the 1st place prize in the Homebrew Contest at this month’s River City Amateur Radio Communications Society club meeting last night!

My entry was something I’ve been working on over the past few months on and off to get ready in time for this month’s contest. There were two parts to my entry:

1. A self-contained, portable 2m Packet Radio Go-Kit. I put this together using:

  • 10″ waterproof gear case (from MCM)
  • 2m HT radio
  • Raspberry Pi 3
  • 7″ touchscreen
  • a TNC-PI packet add-on board for the Pi, from Coastal Chipworks (which I assembled as a kit)
  • ax25 apps (for axlisten and axcall)

2. A Packet Radio to Twitter bridge (implemented using JavaScript on node.js). While the goals and benefits of a portable Packet radio kit are somewhat more obvious, writing an app that receives Packet Radio transmissions and then retransmits them as Tweets on Twitter doesn’t have many practical applications. The main motivation for this part of the project was that I thought it would be an interesting blend of old tech and new tech. The popularity of Packet Radio declined with the arrival of easy access dial-up information services and BBSes in the 80s and then access to the internet in the early 90s, so linking the two together seemed an interesting idea. Plus, it’s an interesting stepping stone and talking point from common-place tech used on our wireless devices today, with data communications enabled via Amateur Radio.

I put together a number of articles as I was assembling my project and working on the Packet to Twitter interface. If you’d like to read more, here’s links to my previous posts: