Open-sourcing just Swing?

by Chris Adamson

In an blog, Rick Jelliffe argues that the sorry state of desktop Java should prompt Sun to open-source Swing


2006-06-07 12:59:20
Given continued buzz around open sourcing Java and some renewed vigor and interest in Swing at JavaOne, it wouldn't surprise me.

Jonathan Schwartz will approve open sourcing more Java... When Rich Green was last with Sun, I vaguely recall him saying that he could see Sun open sourcing some of the desktop Java first before considering enterprise Java.

I could see Swing, Java 2D, Java 3D, JMF, and other desktop/client Java API being open sourced and benefiting. How much more is the question...

Lastly, I believe Jini API is open source, already. There's even speculation that Jini may be going into as a project.

2006-06-07 15:17:24
I don't see open sourcing swing will help, nobody will develop for it. For most it all has to be open source before they will even look at it, just look at the fud which flys when you just want to write an OSS app!

I would like to point out to Steve that Java 3d has been open source at least for the last two years and not a lot has happened.

Jmf has been under MPL License for a while, and many of the desktop APIs have all been added using OSS licences. But yet there has been no pouring in of developers, and I don't see it happening.

From what I have seen the OSS community is very good at making cool stuff, but not the long boreing slogs which turn products into the reliably tools we want.
Dalibor Topic
2006-06-07 17:08:57
kangcool: Java3D is not open source. Sun rather blatantly lied at JavaOne a few years ago about opening it up, and didn't actually do much other than to publish a few examples for using Java3D under a bogus license. The rest, i.e. the actual Java3D implementation, is as proprietary as Sun's Java implementation. Sun earned all the positive PR, but did no actual work.

JMF has certainly not ever been released under the MPL by Sun.

Dalibor Topic
2006-06-07 17:21:09
Chris, reimplementing already working native multimedia codecs in "pure" Java does not sound very useful.

Sun opening up Swing could indeed be useful, assuming there is something well-written and documented in Suns implementation that's worth recycling in other projects like GNU Classpath and Apache Harmony.

Chris Adamson
2006-06-07 18:35:19

Dalibor Topic writes:

Chris, reimplementing already working native multimedia codecs in "pure" Java does not sound very useful.

It's potentially quite useful if you're on a platform that the native codec hasn't already been ported to. In my experience, 90% of the people who say "native" mean "Windows", so this is a potentially very big deal to Mac and Linux users. Plus, there's always the concept that future platforms could pick up a massive amount of software by just supporting Java, so porting codecs to Java is a sort of future-proofing.

2006-06-08 00:32:55
Ew Swing. I suppose that given a load of refactoring the Java GUI APIs could reach a decent state. But given the same effort Eclipse RPC could be given the few missing pieces to completely replace the whole thing.
Dalibor Topic
2006-06-08 05:02:33
Chris: Sure, but free software C/C++ codecs are at least as portable as Java codecs, you recompile the libs, and go. Rewriting such a project in Java for the sake of some marketing idea of purity, only means being stuck maintaining something noone really needs, neither the upstream projects nor users.

The marginal effort of recompiling some well-written C/C++ code for a new platform, fixing a bunch of compiler warnings, and debugging whatever issues crop up is minimal compared to the effort to port a JVM, and certify it.

Rick Jelliffe
2006-06-10 04:35:03
The other wrinkle in all this is that the desire to be 100% Windows LAF compatible turns out to be a fool's errand anyway, because the new Office products are due to have an entirely new style of GUI anyway. WIMP is dead.
2006-06-13 10:38:14
Check out how GWT (Google Web Toolkit) has a real nice embedded browser. It'd be great to have in Swing!

-- Andre