Harmony - Friend or Foe
I've received numerous emails asking me about my thoughts on the apache Harmony project and what does it really mean. It seems like everyone else has had their 2 cents so here is mine.
Now, not to keep you in suspense, yes, I believe it is a good thing. Infact I would like to see more developer goodwill from Sun but I'll get to that later.
The J2SE 5.0 TCK terms opened the door for other Java ports like to BeOS, Kaffe and Apache etc to gain access to the Sun test suite for 'free', ok sponsored. Geir was a valued member on my expert group for J2SE 5.0 and with Pier made sure Sun were honest and didn't try and pull any licensing tricks with the terms.
Now having worked on the Sun JVM I would say yes, use the Sun JVM. It is well tested and stable. However there is an often quoted valid concern that Sun could change the Sun binary license at will and that change could be out of the hands of the folks that actually build the JDK.
That means having alternatives that are free of whatever happens to Sun as a corporation is really a good thing.
Now back to goodwill. I wrote in an earlier article that Sun should make whole on the promise of delivering the Java DNA, (the JVM and JLS specs) to a non-Java standards body. This not only would help open source alternatives but also follow through on the faith that developers put in the platform all those years ago.
Personally I don't think that would ever happen, but in this case I wouldn't mind being proved wrong
Harmony. Good luck!