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Power Of Two

Posted by editor on October 10, 2007 at 8:31 AM PDT

Can the community get Java on the One Laptop Per Child computer?

In a new editorial, Java, the OLPC, and community responsibility, Javalobby founder Rick Ross seeks to rally the troops to help get Java on the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) computer, the low-cost laptop targeted at the developing world.

"It doesn't already have Java?", you might ask, even given that the OLPC is Linux-based and Java opens all kinds of doors to Linux users. Nope. According to an OLPC wiki page, "Java is currently not shipped by default. Only open source software is, and apparently open source versions [of Java] are not yet usable." That's not an inaccurate assessment. After all, Sun's current production-quality JRE isn't open-source, Harmony isn't done yet, and OpenJDK is still working to eliminate its final IP encumbrances.

Rick says that's a problem that is incumbent on the Java community to solve:

This is one of those rare moments of opportunity, and we should not let it pass us by. The Java community could make a meaningful contribution to this amazing and worthwhile project. I hope you will think it over and decide to get involved. There are so many times in life when we feel powerless to change things, but in this case your help could make all the difference.

Rick goes a step further by pledging US$5,000 in seed funding to a "reasonable, credible project to bring Java to the OLPC."

Still, lobbying aside, OLPC's insistence on open-source software requires that there be an open-source Java implementation they can use, and with arguable exceptions (perhaps Kaffe and GNU Classpath), there isn't a production-ready option that satisfies this.

Yet it seems like the community is already working on this, through collaboration on the GPL OpenJDK (and Harmony too, as its ASF license would presumably also be acceptable to the OLPC project). When OpenJDK is finally free of its patent encumbrances, OLPC will be able to evaluate whether it meets their needs. There are potential hazards of course, like a JRE perhaps being too heavyweight for the minimalist OLPC computer, but at that point, the GPL nature of OpenJDK would allow for a fork to target a smaller subset of the full JRE for use on the device.

The OLPC ship might have already sailed by the time that OpenJDK is production-ready, but there's always OLPC 2.0...

In Java Today,
the bean-properties team is "proud to announce the release of milestone 1 of the bean properties API and implementation as part of our roadmap for a full scale release in 2008. Bean-properties is one of the first and most extensive Java properties implementations that requires no language change or bytecode instrumentation. Bean-properties allows RoR like productivity while maintaining Java's hallmarks of type safety and compiler checking." A Web Start demo of Bean-properties is also available (requires Java SE 6).

The SDN has launched a series of interviews with Java Champions, with the first installment, Becoming a Better Programmer: A Conversation With Java Champion Heinz Kabutz. Kabutz is best known as the creator of the free Java Specialists' Newsletter, targeted to expert Java developers. Since its inception in November 2000, the newsletter has grown from an initial audience of 80 friends and colleagues to, after 150 issues, one that includes more than 30,000 programmers in 114 countries.

Fabrizio Giudici describes The first "Java Agri-Meeting"... in today's Weblogs. "A few months ago, just returned from Jazoon, a few Italian JUG leaders and members started thinking about a strange fact. In spite of a quite large number of JUGs and of the relative short distance among them (usually 100-200km), we keep on meeting only abroad during events such as JavaPolis or Jazoon and we seldom do in our country."

Mike Duigou continues his series looking at new JXTA features in
JXSE 2.5 : What's Cool #6 -- PeerGroup Executor and ScheduledExcutor. "The concurrency utilities provide several flavours of task executors. The Executor and ScheduledExecutor classes provide a convenient way to execute tasks without the overhead of the normal Thread lifecycle. For JXSE the use of Executor is a very good fit."

Finally, Ryan Heaton chimes in on
Why ROI vs. SOI (read "REST vs. SOAP") Still Matters: "Much to the chagrin of Web service engineers, the REST vs. SOAP debate still lives, and the discussion is not going to die anytime soon. The fundamentals of the debate go beyond superficial rivalry--they are architectural in nature. In order to design a sound Web service API, these principles must be confronted."

In today's Forums,
roger_rf explains a Nimbus glitch in
Re: Nimbus issues.
"Why does that happen? Because, under Nimbus, an empty JComboBox has a different height than a JComboBox that has at least one item. When you insert a few items, the JComboBox expands its height in order to have space to show the current item, but the dialog doesn't expand along with it. IMHO, the fix for this would be having empty JComboBox'es have the same height as those with at least one item."

To the question
Re: Is there any Pie chart widget, gmurray71 replies,
"Yes there is !!!! We've added plotkit support to the jMaki Charting Project located at I'm still working on some docs and a test app but you can find the work in progress here. I hope to push out a really nice samples and docs within a week."

Finally, venkyn provides ME demos in the helpful response,
Re: event handlers in jsr 226.
"The problem, as you've stated, is you need pointer events and so it will work on a touch tone phone. On other phones you need to create your own focus management and synthesize the pointer events. This Picture decorator demo does its focus management, using a cursor. It keeps track of where the cursor is, and gives focus to the element beneath it, when the select button is pressed. The code for this demo is available [here]."

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Can the community get Java on the One Laptop Per Child computer?