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Java raised to the power Linux

Posted by cajo on March 13, 2004 at 7:03 PM PST

For passionate Java developers, the network is the computer. However Java, and in particular its runtime environment, require a highly sophisticated operating system on which to run. Enter Linux; you would be hard pressed to find any system with more features. So, how does Linux increase the power of Java?

First let’s look at what Linux represents; it is a free, heterogeneous, network-integrated operating system. It runs on many hardware architectures (RISC, CISC…) and many platforms (ARM, PPC, x86, SPARC…). On the other hand, Java is a heterogeneous, network-integrated language. It is architecture agnostic, meaning no recompiling, and its code is network loadable. Together they can provide a ubiquitous standard environment, on a diversity of platforms.

Next look at all of the fine Java projects here at java.net, and other places, like Sourceforge and Savannah. Not only are our numbers increasing, but also another interesting thing is happening. You’ll see all sorts of projects to develop standard utility applications; browsers, mail clients, office suites, and even media players. Are we reinventing the wheel? No. We are inventing the ubiquitous wheel. Very soon all major utility applications will have been rewritten in Java.

Finally consider how easy it will be to make useful new devices. Design the hardware, bring up Linux, add in Java, and presto! A multitude of pre-written software, from enthusiastic developers, all dynamically loadable. Innovation and platform diversity is an exciting vision. Would all this flexibility require Java to be open source? I believe yes, to be as adaptive as would be required for this scenario. Linux combined with Java create the opportunity to easily and quickly create ‘JVMlets’, i.e. small fully functional runtime environments, on multitudes of devices, all working together.

There is no question, Java is huge, and I truly believe Java will reach even greater heights, standing on the exceptionally broad shoulders of Linux. Essentially, Linux abstracts the hardware, and Java abstracts the network.

This is where I want to go today, how about you?

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