Developer Week in Review

Intel opens an app store, Apache fumes over Java, old software Microsoft should open source, Apple updates on the way

Here’s your weekly helping of developer info:

There’s an App (Store) for that!

It seems like all the cool kids these days are doing it. Creating app stores, that is. Intel just unveiled their AppUp store, designed to let developers sell directly to netbook owners, using an App Store model.

Unfortunately, to use AppUp on your netbook you have to run Windows. All those Linux netbook app developers aren’t going to find much of a welcome there, at least at the moment.

As the Java brews

In the continued soap opera that is Java these days, the Apache folks have decided to strike back at Oracle for what Apache claims is bad-faith action regarding the open-sourceness of Java.

Of course, Apache being Apache, the dramatic action isn’t a lawsuit, but instead a strongly worded letter (that’ll show ‘em!) urging the members of the JCP to reject the next version of Java, unless Oracle mends their ways. If that doesn’t work, they may even organize a bake sale or write letters to the editor.

Oracle’s announcement this week that they will be splitting the JVM into a premium and free edition couldn’t have helped things. If you’re old enough to remember the kerfuffle that Sun raised when Microsoft tried to create their own version of Java, claiming that non-uniform Javas would defeat the value of the language, this recent move by Java’s new daddy has particular irony.

Microsoft open sources a language! Oh wait, it’s F#…

Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of F#? No, it’s not FORTRAN++, it’s Microsoft’s functional language, from Microsoft Research. This week, Microsoft dropped the F# compiler sources in a nice neat bundle on Apache’s doorstep, with a note saying that they hoped that Apache could find a good home for it.

Two observations here: Does anyone but me remember that not too long ago, Mr. Ballmer referred to open source as akin to cancer? Microsoft seems to have embraced it recently, but I don’t recall ever hearing an “oops, my mistake” from Steve B.

Secondly, why doesn’t Microsoft open source something of real value to the community, but well past its prime? Windows 98 comes to mind, or maybe Word 2003. Either one would allow all sorts of interesting mashups and compatibility enhancements with other open source projects, and it’s not like either codebase is particularly relevant anymore from a competitive standpoint.

Oh yeah, those guys in Cupertino …

This Wednesday is supposed to be the day that Snow Leopard 10.6.5 and iTunes 10.1 release, followed soon after by iOS 4.2. I recently read that Netflix now consumes something like 20 percent of the total Internet traffic. I wonder if, on days when Apple drops one of their massive OS upgrades, Netflix doesn’t take a back seat to Apple for a day or two, as all those loyal MacHeads run their updates?

That’s it for this week. Suggestions are always welcome, so please send tips or news here.

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  • John Bledsoe

    Though I loathe defending Oracle, there is no evidence that what they are doing is anything like what Microsoft did with Java. Microsoft did not include JNI and added substituted APIs such as RNI and J/Direct. Microsoft also added new keywords such as “delegate” and “multicast” to their implementation.

    The Register article has no mention of Oracle doing anything like that. Indeed, there is no mention of what features their premium JVM will include. My guess is that they merge the free JVM with the esoteric features of JRockit like virtualization and other enterprisey and “WebScale” features.

    Old enough to remember “embrace, extend, and extinguish” from the original days,

  • Matt

    I could kick Sun in the balls for not open-sourcing java.