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Javalobby calls for Java port to OLPC

By Linux.com Staff on October 12, 2007 (9:00:00 PM)

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Rick Ross, founder of Javalobby, a popular site among Java developers, recently wrote an article about the One Laptop Per Child project and how cool it is. Ross also noted that OLPC does not appear on Sun Microsystems 2007 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, which outlines that company's social responsibility obligations. Ross thinks it's time to change that.

"Maybe Sun and all of us in the worldwide Java community are missing the boat for not getting more involved to ensure that the power of the Java platform helps advance the OLPC effort," Ross says. Today, OLPC uses Python rather than Java for its Sugar user interface. Ross says that when the OLPC was first getting started, Java licensing prevented it from being considered, but now that it's free software, licensed under the GPL, it could be used. Ross suggested that "the broader Java community's social responsibility (not just Sun's), support for OLPC probably deserves to be high on our list of priorities."

Since there are technical problems that require funding and manpower to overcome before Java can run on the OLPC laptop, Ross made this offer:

Javalobby will put its money where its mouth is on this one. If someone out there will organize and plan a reasonable, credible project to bring Java to the OLPC, then Javalobby is prepared to get things rolling by contributing up to $5,000 in seed funding.

Walter Bender, the OLPC president of software and content, has no objection to running Java on OLPC's XO device. He says, "We originally opted to go with Python instead of Java primarily because [it was] FOSS. We also, for bloat reasons, have kept all of our development in Python subsequent to change of heart from Sun regarding the Java licenses. Both making a Java fork of the Sugar environment ... and providing basic lightweight support for Java in the current Python version are of interest to us. However, while we are flat out trying to get ready for [mass production], these tasks are going to have to be picked up by the community."

The bottom line appears to be that there is interest in both the Java and the OLPC camps. The next step is to see whether the communities involved step forward.

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on Javalobby calls for Java port to OLPC

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Javalobby calls for Java port to OLPC

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 74.74.134.138] on October 13, 2007 01:03 AM
Seriously, considering what a blight Java is on the world of computing, isn't better that it's NOT ported over?

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Re: Javalobby calls for Java port to OLPC

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.126.230.78] on October 13, 2007 08:10 AM
New Note 82

It is kind of funny how some people make unsubstantiated generalizations usually from bits and pieces of information they picked up from a friend of a friend or some article they half read. Don't even try to bring performance FUD to the table here. Java would run fine on the XO, perhaps faster than Python in some areas (Python isn't the fastest language out there).

Java itself is actually a very good language, and while it is not perfect (no language is) it does have certain advantages for the XO including the security model and the ability to sanely handle out of memory issues.

That being said Python was chosen not just because of Java's licenses but more importantly Python is an easy to learn interpreted language which makes it easy for kids to view and experiment with. The compile step of Java would mean they would not be getting the source code on the machine itself and if they did manage to write a Java program they would then have to compile it. This raises the barrier to entry for tinkering with the device - one of the stated advantages of the OLPC project.

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Re(1): Javalobby calls for Java port to OLPC

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.147.139.124] on October 13, 2007 03:14 PM
No matter what anyone says, it's a known fact that Java is bloated and buggy and would only serve to hurt the OLPC cause.

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Re(1): Javalobby calls for Java port to OLPC

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.14.83.160] on October 13, 2007 08:58 PM
If you check a few benchmarks, you'll see that Java is typically 50-100 times faster than python at any given task.

Python hasn't reached the maturity level that Java has, as Python has no virtual machine and is interpreted at all times (like Java circa 1998).

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Re(2): Javalobby calls for Java port to OLPC

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.12.185.136] on October 14, 2007 06:34 AM
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Python hasn't reached the maturity level that Java has, as Python has no virtual machine and is interpreted at all times (like Java circa 1998).
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Trolling? Or just ill-informed? Or both?

Python most certainly does use a virtual machine, and has since 1991... 4 years before your "more mature" Java was born. It also does JIT compilation via psyco. Dynamic typing, while hugely powerful, and a boon to programmer productivity, does come at a cost in cpu performance. Python does, however, have the ponderous JVM beat hands down for memory efficiency... if "efficiency" is even a word that can be applied to the JVM's memory consumption.

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Re(2): Javalobby calls for Java port to OLPC

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.92.218.124] on October 16, 2007 04:12 AM
You are either trolling or you are ignorant. Because Python's maturity hasn't stopped Google from making extensive use of it. Of course, when they need performance they use C.

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Javafanboy calls for Java port to OLPC

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 129.240.235.122] on October 15, 2007 12:35 PM

First off, the whole Javalobby organisation always seemed somewhat superfluous: you had a language already enjoying excessive hype and PHB arm-twisting from its corporate parent, making it politically very difficult for many developers to just get on and use more appropriate tools in their work, and then there's a bunch of people standing on the sidelines cheerleading for what was proprietary software, as if that would get them into Sun's good books and grant them VIP status at "community" events where the massed punters punch the air and chant "developers, developers, developers".



For those too indoctrinated into Sun's "Java the language and the platform" mantra, such as the "Python has no virtual machine" idiot, one should first learn that there are a bunch of Python virtual machines and an implementation of Python that runs on the JVM: Jython. Now, the reason why people might prefer Python over Java for a project like this may have little to do with outright performance of some benchmarks done on high end x86(-64): while the footprint isn't as compact as something like Lua, the tradeoff between performance, usability and resource usage favours Python over Java where the "50-100 times faster" (for some benchmarks, of course) often comes with a huge resource cost which would also affect performance on systems where memory access is also more costly. It's all very well claiming that Java is so ultra-fast if the first thing the JVM does is grab several megabytes of RAM as the just-in-time compiler kicks in.



The JVM may open the door to languages other than Java, of course, but since the OLPC project is Linux-oriented, you can already use languages like Smalltalk (Squeak) or indeed anything that runs on (GNU/)Linux. But that's another problem the Java crowd seems to have: everything has to be framed in terms of the Java platform, even when there's a whole operating system there to do the same job better. Pass the hammer, indeed.

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Javalobby calls for Java port to OLPC

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 141.123.105.3] on October 15, 2007 04:07 PM
"Don't even try to bring performance FUD to the table here...."



....because we don't want to hear about problems! You'd think people would get it by now: if there's a lot of people complaining about the performance of Java, perhaps there's a problem with the performance of Java? You can beat your chest all you want that Java's as fast as any other language, but that goes against all of my own personal experience.



Now, feel free to go forward with the stale rhetoric: it takes longer because it has to load the JVM, after that it's fast...or well, then, your developers don't know what they're doing or it would be faster...or, maybe you have an old JVM...or one of the hundred other piles of crap Java devs like to trot out. They're just excuses, people, nothing more. The only people who support Java anymore are Java devs and the moron managers that were suckered into hiring them.

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Obligatory

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.234.217.65] on October 15, 2007 04:37 PM
DO NOT WANT!!!

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Javalobby calls for Java port to OLPC

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 65.219.252.50] on October 22, 2007 04:33 PM
Pepper Computer already ported their Java-based application stack to the OLPC: <a href="http://www.pepper.com/linux/olpc.html">http://www.pepper.com/linux/olpc.html</a>

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