IBM + Oracle: The Big Picture
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With IBM joining the OpenJDK effort, the Harmony project is left out in the cold, without IBM's support. This is bad news for Google, as their Dalvik VM relies on Harmony. Unless, of course, another company steps in to support Harmony. And is there any reason that this company couldn't be Google. It carries an expense to Google, but do they have any other options?
However, if we look at the bigger picture I think that the alliance is great news for the future of Java. Having another big driving force helping out the OpenJDK efforts should lead to getting new Java features added sooner, possibly improving the frequency of releases. I'm excited to see some level of collaboration between Oracle and IBM. Considering Eclipse and it's surrounding eco-system, IBM has shown that it knows how to guide a decent open source community.
Another important thing to point out is fragmentation - if Harmony is discontinued, we're back to having one open source version of Java. Surely this is better than a fragmented approach?
Earlier this week Alex put together a poll to guage community reaction to the news. As it stands, most people (62%) seem to think that this is a good thing for Java.