21 February 2010

Open Sourcing JavaFX

At the moment JavaFX has been partially open sourced with the compiler and parts of the platform API. There are some key parts like the JavaFX runtime that haven't been open sourced yet. Oracle have not mentioned what their plans are for open sourcing JavaFX. Have the open source efforts with JavaFX grounded to a halt, or is there some change with the plans that Oracle have not announced yet? From what I have been able to discover so far there isn't enough of JavaFX being open sourced (with the open source distribution) to make it useful unless the official JavaFX distribution is used.

It is surprising to see that that there isn't more of the platform API being open sourced. Many parts of the API are not encumbered with patents/copyright, and other possible legal issues. Why is there not more of the platform API being open sourced already? To make matters worse the JavaFX runtime cannot be freely distributed with a JavaFX application (eg bundled in a zip file). If a developer wishes to bundle the runtime with the application because the client doesn't have access to the Internet, then they are forced to use an alternative technology.

Somehow it is extremely silly that a developer is forced to use an alternative technology because of a licensing issue with distribution of the runtime. As a result this means that JavaFX cannot be considered to be truly open sourced since the licensing is not technology neutral. Many people have complained bitterly about the runtime bundling issue (“Allow us to distribute the JavaFX runtime binary”), which comes as no surprise since it is currently 3rd in the JavaFX Feedback forum. Which begs the question what is Oracle's attitude towards open source? How are Oracle going to resolve the licensing issue with bundling the runtime?

If Oracle are serious about furthering the efforts to open source JavaFX then they should have discussions with Google for the following reasons:

  • Obtain experience from Google on using a non restrictive license that promotes the use of technology (in this case JavaFX)
  • Get JavaFX onto Android devices on the mobile side since this will allow JavaFX to be more easily adopted onto other mobile platforms
  • Gain insights into increasing the acceptance of JavaFX with the open source community and on major open source platforms in general (eg Linux, Android)

1 comment:

  1. Agred!!!!

    "Obtain experience from Google on using a non restrictive license that promotes the use of technology (in this case JavaFX)"

    I would love if JavaFX was Google :'(