As you might imagine, one of the hot discussion items was Sun’s recent announcement of Project Jigsaw, their latest modularity initiative. Hal, Mirko, Peter, and Neil have already recorded their thoughts in their blogs, and I don’t want to repeat what they’ve already said.
One way I like to sum it up is that it wasn’t the breakthrough we were hoping for. After Sun rejoined the OSGi Alliance last year, and announced they were using OSGi in Glassfish, OpenESB, and ProjectFuji – not to mention hiring the Apache Felix project lead – many of us started thinking Sun might finally bury the hatchet. But no, Sun has apparently decided to cooperate with us by competing with us.
We knew, of course, that Sun is kind of schizo about OSGi. I did my best to encourage them to participate in the EEG, and after Sun hired Richard, I guess you could say that sort of happened. But he still is primarily focused on Felix, which is understandable. We have not seen or heard anything from Mark Reinhold and his colleagues, however.
And now we have to worry about the confusion Sun’s announcement creates. I can’t see the customer or the industry benefit in having to choose between two modularity systems. Do we really expect all the vendors that are currently shipping hundreds of products on the OSGi Framework, to invest in supporting an additional modularity framework for their products, just because Sun proposes it? Yet it is certain to raise questions and generate debate, just as the end is in sight for the OSGi enterprise release.
We have released an updated draft (warning: this is a pdf link) of the current design documents. Several of these have been submitted to expert group vote so that the final phase can begin – writing the specifications. (BTW it’s not too late for comments and feedback on the updated drafts.)
You may know that the OSGi Alliance is unique (at least among standards consortia I’ve worked with) in hiring someone to write all the specifications (Peter Kriens, of course). I think this is one of the reasons the OSGi specifications are so good – and because Peter has been with OSGi since the beginning, he can ensure continuity and consistency.
With any luck, we will be more or less done by March, 2009. I am not exactly sure what the bits and pieces of designs we have add up to yet – I think one of the major work items (in significance if not effort) is to check the current designs against the original requirements, and against several scenarios people are likely to want to use OSGi technology for in the enterprise – such as building web applications, distributing an application’s processing work, or managing persistent data.
I want to be sure the release adds up to something, and that it will have the best chance at being adopted. This was, of course, another important discussion item during last week’s Board meeting: getting the enterprise release out and ensuring its success.
For me one of the big factors has always been, and still is, whether or not enterprise developers will adopt the OSGi programming model. I am optimistic.