Java posse #078 feedback / clarification

; Date: Mon Aug 21 2006

Tags: OpenJDK

In the latest Javaposse episode ( ( Java Posse #078 - Listener Feedback) they identified me as "The dude in charge of open sourcing Java" ... (go :20.0 in the podcast)

heh... That's shades of Brian Harry nominating me the dictator for life over Java. But, hey, it's not true. There's other people in charge of open sourcing Java SE, I'm simply involved with the process.

So while I'm here, howzabout if I do some other responses to what they're saying.

First - someone wrote in about whether Java should directly support Ogg encoding/decoding .. and they said "does it matter what format you're using in some cases ... does anybody care what format YouTube or GoogleVideo uses?" .. well, actually, it does matter a whole heck of a lot the format used by YouTube and Google Video. That's because neither play in all browsers. For example in Opera YouTube doesn't play out of the box, even on a platform where it plays in Firefox. I don't know what the root cause is, but clearly the format for the video is an important issue.

And... video distribution is one of these issues where The Big Guys are trying to limit our choices. For example the Big Media companies don't want unprotected video widely available, because they earn their bucks over limiting the redistribution of video. For example Microsoft has for years been trying to steer Internet Video over to the Windows Media format, no doubt because it would increase sales of Windows systems.

About Apple putting the Cocoa/Java bindings to sleep. I vaguely recall that JDIC already had some Apple-specific implementation of the classes in JDIC. I agree it would be cool for an open source project to start up to replace those Cocoa/Java bindings, though wouldn't it be better for Apple to push their implementation to open source?

One thing about those kinda bindings ... Java tries to be cross platform, right? So a set of classes which interface to a platform specific thingy makes an application using those classes to be platform specific. Which isn't necessarily bad, but just a choice some developer has to make.

TABS ARE EVIL: That's so funny, especially as on a BBS/Forum I used ages ago in a galaxy far far away .. I used to call myself "The Tab Bit".

I agree with the complaint Tor has mentioned several times on the show .. that TAB's in source code are loosely specified as to what they actually mean (in terms of indentation) and leads to source formatting problems. But .. I want to share how I came to call myself The Tab Bit so long ago.

At the university I attended (U of Kentucky) we had a pair of PR1ME systems for student use. The PR1ME operating system had some strangeness to it. One oddity is that while they used ASCII characters, every character had its high bit set. So rather than TAB being octal 11 it was octal 211. The next issue was that the OS, when printing to the terminal a file containing TAB characters .. rather than moving the cursor forward to the next mod-8 column, it instead printed the octal representation of the TAB character ... ^211. It actually did that for most non-printing characters, to print ^nnn for the octal representation.

This meant that someone using TAB to indent text in their editor would instead see a lot of ^211 characters.

And back then on my Usenet postings my usual signature was "David Herron" .. but when I did that on the PR1ME bulletin board it printed out as "^211David Herron".

So, calling myself the Tab Bit was a way of bitching about PR1ME's habit of misrepresenting the TAB character. I actually had a lot of irritations about PR1MOS and really resented having to use that system. By the time the PR1ME's came to campus, I had already found my way to Unix and totally loved the cleanliness and beauty that was Unix V7, and the cruftiness of PR1MOS rubbed me raw. Their treatment of the TAB character simply being the last straw.


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About the Author(s)

David Herron : David Herron is a writer and software engineer focusing on the wise use of technology. He is especially interested in clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.