Monday, November 13, 2006

Sun open sources Java

It has been discussed for months, but today Sun made it official- Java is to be open source, with all libraries code to be available by March.

On the surface, Java would appear to have made little impact on scientific computing with few applications outside of a cheap way to add GUI layers to existing code.

Partly it comes from older packages having their roots and source code firmly embedded in FORTRAN, and partly from a reputation for Java being slow. The speed issue is not intrinsically true but the combination of JREs needing to be loaded before use and that everyone has experience of using sloppily written Java applets (and sometime sloppily written commercial applications) has left the impression.

But look behind the scenes, and a lot of the glue that links together parts of scientific packages and connects them to data sources etc turns out to be Java.

If Sun is right and this move adds momentum to Java, we might see more use of it.

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