Never mind Android, it is Oracle that is killing Java

This week Oracle released its latest version of Java SE 7 with huge fanfare. It was the first thing that Oracle had done to the software since it bought it along with its owner Sun.

It shipped with a bug which made it unusable.

It is the latest disaster for Oracle in its handling of Java. In fact there have been many as Oracle’s corporate culture clashes with open source.

The bug was spotted by the Apache Foundation which has had many run-ins with Oracle since it took over. It pulled out of the Java Community Process (JCP) executive committee in protest after Oracle refused to give it access to the Java Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK).

It seems likely that Oracle stopped wanting to play ball with Apache because of its involvement with Android. Apache developed Harmony which is the open source implementation of the Java platform which Google used to build Android.

As Oracle sued the bottom off Google, it sees Apache as an enemy now. In the black and white world of “Oracle good rest of world bad”, that makes sense. However, in the complex world of open saucers, that is nuts. Oracle does not need “communities”, it has Larry, who is his own community.

Meanwhile Apache has become the defacto champion of the Java community at Oracle’s expense.

The cock up in Java SE 7 is exactly the sort of bug which would have been spotted in the early days in the development phase.

The Hotspot JVM includes modes to make your code run faster in some cases. In Java SE 7, there is a bug that can cause the JVM to miscalculate loops, which cause segmentation faults to data corruption.

It was not Oracle’s fault. The bug did exist in Java SE 6 and no one really bothered with it because the optimisations were optional. But Oracle enabled the faulty optimisation by default which if it had been taking advice from “the community” it would not have done.

Meanwhile Oracle’s defence of Java in the courtroom is making the operating system about as popular as Rupert Murdoch. Java developers who spoke to TechEye are unhappy about the way things are going.

“Ellison tends to treat developers like they are working for him and with Java it is much bigger than that,” one told us.