Thursday, December 29, 2005

At Year's End

Already, 2005 is ending. An eventful year that I will not easy forget for many reasons. One reason this is a year not to forget is because we made it to the 3 dB point. Two years ago I was happy when Google indicated 4,000 pages on the term OSGi. I was thrilled when it doubled to 8,000. Today it stands at almost 700.000. Search for OSGi books on Google and you find an amazing number of books that mention OSGi. Until recently, I was the sole advertiser on Google for this term, today there are 5 companies advertising. And I think this is only the beginning …

Looking back, the best thing that happened this year was the uptake of the OSGi specifications by Eclipse and Apache. I was closely involved in the early investigations to move Eclipse to OSGi so there is a personal satisfaction that the transition worked so well.  However, the credit should go to Thomas Watson, Jeff McAffer, and many others who replaced the Eclipse runtime with an OSGi implementation without causing many backward compatibility problems. Kudos! Many of these people have now taken the gospel and are actively advocating OSGi based solutions (with an obvious Eclipse sauce). The RCP and eRCP projects will likely get many design wins and promote the use of OSGi technology. Just as exciting is the move from Apache to use OSGi in Harmony (Java VM), Cocoon (Web technology), Directory, and other projects. Richard S. Hall’s Oscar project is used as the basis. This project is taking more and more shape and I expect exciting things from Apache in the coming year.

A positive change for the OSGi was the greater openness. This year we got approval from the board to publish the Release 4 specifications as drafts. This is a good thing, although I am disappointed by the little feedback we have had so far. Even the feedback in JSR 232 was quite minimal. Maybe part of the reason is that the biggest users of the specification could participate in the specification process, however, the feedback was still disappointingly low.

2006 is likely going to be even more exciting than 2005. It will be the year that the OSGi Mobile Platform specifications will be released. These specifications represent a vast amount of work that can make a lasting impression on the industry. The OSGi specifications provide a vastly superior alternative to MIDP 2.0 (and likely 3.0). MIDP has always been crippled so that it does not provide capabilities for much more than games. In contrast, the OSGi specifications permit software architectures that are required by system functions and enterprise applications. The OSGi Mobile Platform can be the critical enabler for a software market that can take advantage of the surprising capabilities of today’s higher end mobile phones. I get some very good vibes about the adoption of the Mobile Service Platform though I am also aware of the politics that surround JSR 232 and MIDP 3.0. However, an OSGi Mobile Platform will be able to run 3.0 Midlets using its Foreign Application specification. A MIDP 3.0 only environment will not be able to provide the many advantages of the OSGi service oriented architecture. I am convinced that common sense will prevail over politics once the specifications and implementations are out in the market. I am supposed to get an OSGi based Nokia phone next month, be sure to read my experiences next year.

The coming year we will have to work very hard to maintain the momentum that we picked up in this year. As the new OSGi evangelist I am looking forward to work with all of you to realize the OSGi vision of a common execution standard. Happy New Year!

     Peter Kriens
            OSGi Evangelist


  1. Peter,

    You mentioned lack of feedback on the R4 Spec. Is it too late for feedback/comments? I would like to give some on the Metatype Service.


  2. It is never too late to comment. We have a published R4 but one day there will be a 4.1 or 5.0 ...