Making Java-GNOME Successful
The Java-GNOME project is doing quite well. We will be delivering a new
stable release on February 4, the second beta of 2.10 on February 7, and
our official 2.10 release on March 7. The 2.10 release will be our most robust
release yet and we are quite proud of the results.
Now is a good time to reflect on the Java-GNOME project and its future.
The Java-GNOME project started out with a goal of making it easier to
write GNOME applications and make it possible to write the code in Java.
At this time I must ask myself "Have I accomplished this goal?". The answer
is 'yes' and 'no'. I'll try to explain later but first let me set the context by looking
at a couple of related efforts.
I must say that I am totally blown away by the progress made by the
classpath, gcj, and kaffe teams (despite what you may have heard, kaffe is
not dead). Free Java is moving forward at an amazing pace. Java is quickly
becoming a viable Free development platform. This is an essential element for
Java-GNOME's future success.
The Mono project and all of the related bindings they have provided is
nothing short of amazing. In a short amount of time they have produced
a robust development platform. They have great industry support and
many developers contributing to their effort. I see a bright future here and
wish them a lot of success.
So now it is time for a question. Would I use Java-GNOME to build
a GNOME application? The answer is maybe. While Java-GNOME provides
solid bindings for several of the core libraries there is still much that is
missing. Unlike the Mono bindings, we do not currently have support for
dbus, cairo, gstreamer, etc. GNOME is a vast environment and
we have only begun to provide developers access to its capabilities. If
you want to build a large GNOME application then Java-GNOME is
probably not the right choice at this time.
What does Java-GNOME need in order to be a viable option for GNOME
development? Java-GNOME needs nearly complete coverage of all
critical APIs available in GNOME. We are not even close today and it
will take a considerable amount of time to get there based on the size of
the effort and the current pace of development.
What can be done to shorten the timeline for Java-GNOME to be
a complete GNOME development platform? To be very direct I would
say that our greatest need is for more hackers. This project has
fluctuated between one to two major contributors during its entire
lifetime. There are currently two major contributors that work on the
project in our spare time. It is nearly impossible to move the project
forward at a reasonable pace without more help.
The Mono project has Novell as a corporate sponsor. This has allowed
the project to acquire some very talented developers that have been able
to focus on delivering a quality product in a reasonable amount of time. A
similar sponsorship would be a huge boost for the Java-GNOME project.
Such a sponsorship would allow Java-GNOME to move forward at a much
faster pace and deliver an alternative to using Mono for GNOME desktop
What will it take to make Java-GNOME successful? It will take you. If
you are a Java developer that would like to see choices for GNOME
development then you are needed on this project. If you are a large
Linux distributor with lots of money in the bank and would like to see
choices for GNOME development then my home phone number is .....