Get real: Oracle is strengthening -- not killing -- Java

While the company has done its share of bungling, it has put Java on a progressive track

Oracle has taken a lot of heat for its handling of Java, with some speculating that though Oracle hasn't killed Java yet, it still has time to do so. But let's not overlook the substantial progress Oracle has made in moving Java forward since officially taking over more than four years ago.

Yes, Oracle's Java road has been filled with serious bumps. The company scared away proponents of the Hudson continuous integration server, which resulted in the Jenkins fork. Oracle eventually washed its hands of Hudson and donated it to the Eclipse Foundation. Also, Oracle halted commercial support for new versions of the open source GlassFish application server, with users who want support having to consider the more-expensive WebLogic Server platform.

Oracle never mended fences with the Apache Software Foundation over Project Harmony, a dispute that began when Sun Microsystems was responsible for Java. And of course, Oracle has had to deal with a slew of Java security issues, many of which the company inherited when taking over Java from Sun in 2010. In other eyebrow-raising moves, including "crapware" in Java didn't endear the company to a lot of folks. Oracle also filed a lawsuit against Google over the use of Java in the Android mobile platform, only to lose that lawsuit but succeed on appeal.

As we know, Oracle is a company that wants to make a lot of money and certainly has had this in mind with Java. This profits-first predilection doesn't sit well with proponents of an open Java. But let's get real: Talk of Oracle not killing Java yet doesn't make a lot of sense. In fact, the company has every incentive to make sure the 19-year-old development platform continues on well into the future.

Oracle has a lot of products reliant on Java in its portfolio, including WebLogic Server, the JDeveloper IDE, Fusion applications, and the Oracle Java Cloud Service, and it jump-started Java's evolution. In July 2011, Oracle released Java SE 7, the first major update to the language in more than five years. It boosted support for other languages besides Java to run on the Java Virtual Machine, and it offered accommodations for multiple processor cores. In March of this year, Oracle followed up Java SE 7 with Java SE 8, with capabilities for functional programming offered via Project Lambda. In fact, some have even feared Oracle was moving Java too far with Lambda expressions.

Up next for the standard edition of Java is version 9, which is expected in 2016 and is slated to provide modularity capabilities deferred from Java SE 8. At the enterprise level, Oracle released Java EE 7, featuring HTML5 accommodations, 14 months ago, and the follow-up Java EE 8 release is going to focus on cloud capabilities.

In the tools space, Oracle has continued to sponsor the NetBeans IDE, even though it already had JDeveloper and also backed the popular Eclipse Java IDE. The company's Java efforts have even earned an endorsement from Java founder James Gosling, who left Oracle under acrimonious circumstances not too long after the merger.

So let's stop this talk of Oracle killing off Java through some kind of mishandling. Regardless of what you think of Oracle as a company, Oracle is making mostly the right moves with Java.

This story, "Get real: Oracle is strengthening -- not killing -- Java," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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