Wednesday, August 29, 2012

OSGi Picking Up The Pieces

Jigsaw – the prototype project that was widely expected to become the Java™ SE 8 Module System – might now be deferred to at least Java 9. Given this uncertainty, the OSGi Alliance felt it was appropriate to state our position with respect to Java platform modularity.

Modular systems reduce maintenance and development time and so cost. For these reasons, the OSGi Alliance has dedicated more than a dozen years to the pursuit of modularity, creating the dynamic module system for Java. Now in 2012, OSGi is in daily use creating highly maintainable, extensible, and agile business applications and solutions. Application and systems developers already benefit from the mature OSGi dynamic module system for Java, proven with its adoption worldwide in Fortune Global 100 company products and services and in diverse markets including enterprise, mobile, home, telematics and consumer. The OSGi Alliance and its members continue to simplify the use of OSGi and invite the wider Java community to support this work, including documentation efforts.

Clearly, a modularized Java platform would complete this story: reducing both bloat and memory footprint, improving startup times, better accommodating embedded environments, and future-proofing Java with removable components would be highly beneficial for Java developers, architects and users.

Designing a module system takes time and experience and so the OSGi Alliance supports Oracle’s consideration not to ship Java SE 8 with Jigsaw. Especially as an incomplete modularity design would hurt the Java community. Yet, we should not delay the work on the Java Module System JSR.

The solution

OSGi technology is based on open industry specifications and more than a decade of experience. The OSGi Alliance recommends that the Java community use OSGi as the cornerstone technology to modularize the Java platform; OSGi already providing not only the necessary technology foundation to successfully achieve modularization of Java SE, but also a growing ecosystem of developers and deployers of OSGi technology. The Module System JSR should be based on OSGi concepts, and enable similar maintenance, extensibility, and agility benefits for the Java platform, creating a single, coherent modularization approach from the Java platform up through the application.

How do we move forwards?

Today the only module framework that exists for Java is that defined by the OSGi Alliance standards. Based on these foundations, the Alliance is willing to work with our existing ecosystem of experienced partners, the JCP and the wider Java community to collectively design the best Java Module System to secure the future of the Java platform. Collectively, we can accelerate the JCP process and related projects like Penrose; and most importantly deliver the module system design that the Java community deserves. The Java Module System JSR needs to be started right away to begin this challenging work.

Richard Nicolson
OSGi Alliance President

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