Infrequently Noted

Alex Russell on browsers, standards, and the process of progress.

a small story about Java

So the product I work on (Jot), is a fine peice of engineering. Like many excellent engineering projects, Jot builds on a the tools that are available today and extends the state of the art significantly. In this case, the foundation is Java.

Now, I've ranted about Java before, and I probably will again, but my experiences of the past couple of days are particularly memorable.

Firstly, let me say that I love SuSE 9.3. It's wonderful. Like most SuSE releases, it comes on DVD which makes installation a snap, and with each new version of KDE, my Linux UI experience keeps steadily improving. It's not OS X, but that's what the PowerBook (from which I am now inseparable) is for. For servers and Linux desktop use, this is the distro I want to be toting around and passing off to friends. It just freaking works.

Ok, nicities out of the way, who in the hell let Java ship on ANY platform with this bug?

In trying to get my CVS environment set up on my brand-new SuSE 9.3 install, Eclipse (don't ask) kept crashing. Changing the (opaque) JVM options didn't help (-server is always a good place to start for HotSpot SNAFU's), and specifying interpreted instead of JIT mode had no effect. Let the googling comence!

Turns out that there are no non-Sun-provided RPMs for a fixed JVM and that the only fix available is to upgrade to 1.5/5.0. Deeply sub-optimal.

90meg and a ton of manual symlink foo-baring later, Eclipse no longer craters on me, but the question still remains: how did this get out the door and why isn't it fixed everywhere already? Sun? SuSE? Anyone?