Welcome to linux.java.net

Chris DiBona

January 21, 2004

Welcome to linux.java.net and ... what are we trying to accomplish here?

Welcome to linux.java.net! We're launching this site with a simple mission, to ensure that Linux becomes and remains a first-tier platform for Java, enjoying equality and parity with other operating systems like Solaris.

My name is Chris DiBona. I have a long history with the Linux side of this equation, formerly working at VA Software/OSDN, and Slashdot, and currently working doing open source advocacy and consulting for a number of large companies in the United States and abroad. Imagine my Troy McClure voice intoning, "You might remember me from such organizations as Linux International and from my work exposing Linux on TechTV." Anyhow, enough of the boring CV stuff. Why linux.java.net? Why me at linux.java.net?

When a friend approached me about helping to build this community, she thought I was unlikely to be interested in doing it, but I think I (mildly) surprised her by saying yes. The reason I jumped at the chance was that I have the perception (valid or no, we'll decide) that Linux is somewhat of an inferior platform for Java development and deployment. Make no mistake, I am a Linux and open source partisan; I think the open source development model is a superior one with very few, specialized, exceptions. That said, I don't hold any illusions about where Linux is superior and where it needs a little bit of help. It is also my hope that we can address Linux here, not just specific distributions.

Correctly or not, it has been my impression that Java on Linux is one of these places that needs a healthy shove. Thus, I decided to give it a shot and see what could be done about achieving parity for Linux with regards to Java. The reason I want this is that I want Linux to be the platform of choice for developers everywhere. Java is a vital and important part of making this happen. Proponents of Linux doesn't want Java to be an Achilles' heel when considering adoption, but rather another alluring reason to pick it up. I also think that furthering Linux adoption means that BSD will also become a better platform for Java, which would also be a good thing.

Our course is therefore clear: we must first work to become a definitive place to find out how to currently accommodate the pitfalls and tricks of developing Java applications on the Linux platform. We must track how those pitfalls change as Linux becomes the reference platform that we know it can be, and that true Java success demands of it. Upon achieving this lofty goal, we should probably make sure we aren't wrong, and then do whatever we can to maintain that equilibrium.

This is not a small job for Java (much less for J2EE, the different IDEs out there, and more), and I'll measure my success in this effort by what we accomplish. Making this more challenging is my own current ignorance of Java. I am not a professional Java programmer. To that end, and to ensure that I don't hinder the efforts of the site with my ignorance, I'll be working with Daniel Steinberg of java.net on this, along with some folks at Sun and other companies working with and on Java. Daniel has already been a great help in letting me know what to expect and giving me pointers in the right direction, but I don't want to present myself as an expert at Java. I'm not.

What then do we need from you, dear reader? First, we need to see who is even interested in this subject, and you can help us with that by visiting the site and perhaps registering or pulling the feed with your favorite aggregator. Second, those of you embroiled in Java-on-Linux development, we want you blogging and writing here. Contact me if you'd like to write a feature article for us. We have the facilities to host projects as well, but we're more than willing to bring attention to your project whether it is hosted here, on your own site, or on SourceForge, Savannah, or wherever. Third, we need your feedback. Whether on the discussion forums attached to these posts or via email, I and the site need you to tell us if we're full of it, how much we are full of it, and how to achieve our goal of Java development parity for Linux.

Chris DiBona [ http://weblogs.java.net/pub/au/143 ] is the cofounder of both Konstrux Technologies [ http://konstrux.com/ ], which implements gforge [ http://gforge.org/ ] for companies, and its sister company, Damage Studios [ http://damagestudios.com/ ].

6:18PM PT

Copyright 2004 http://linux.java.net