I have been a Java user and promoter since its initial release in 1995. I’ve lived through, and worked around, all the issues that’ve cropped up over the years, especially during the dismal period around Java 6, before Sun was purchased by Oracle. Since then Java 7, and now Java 8, have been released to address limitations, advance the language and try to fix security issues.
But no more. I have uninstalled Java on every computer and every VM I own. I don’t intend to write another line of Java, and I will walk away from any Java programming opportunity.
There’s a lot of reasons for me to take this stand, but the two that finally pushed me to do something are a security issue and Oracle itself. Let’s talk first about Oracle.
Oracle bought Sun and all its assets in 2010. Those assets included Java and a number of open source projects, such as Open Office and MySQL. Oracle’s stewardship of both was so bad that both were forked into LibreOffice and MariaDB, respectively. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Oracle managed to put just enough time, money, and energy into maintaining Java that it continued on to Java 7 and Java 8, with Java 9 just over the horizon. On the surface Oracle sounds like a responsible steward for Java.
But Oracle isn’t a responsible steward. Oracle doesn’t care about the language and its evolution as an open platform, only how much money it can make from the language itself. They underscored this with the multi-year lawsuit against Google over Google’s use of Java API’s in Android. I’m not fan of Android, but I appreciate how Google has prevailed against Oracle’s repeated lawsuits and appeals. They should have because Oracle’s suite is all about Oracle’s greed. If it were just a fight between two tech titans then it wouldn’t be that big a problem. Unfortunately for us all the problem with the entire legal process those two have been embroiled in is the disastrous decision issued on May 9, 2014, where the Federal Circuit found that the Java APIs are copyrightable. This is a blow to the very foundation of software innovation, and all because Oracle wanted a multi-billion payday out of Google for Google’s successful implementation of Java within Android. As software developers and innovators, we are now all at risk, and I will not work with a language or a vendor that has created that incredible risk. All that time and money Oracle poured into suing Google would have been far better served enhancing Java. But Google won’t do that because, as Ars Technica recently wrote, Java “isn’t currently printing money,” or enough to satisfy their overarching corporate greed.
The second reason is security related. Java, along with Flash, has been a cesspool of security vulnerabilities for years, vulnerabilities that Oracle has rather capriciously decided to fix (or not). On July 4th Heimdal posted a security alert about a Java-based zero-day exploit called Adwind that installed a RAT on any platform (Windows, Linux, OSX, and Android) that runs Java. That was the tipping point for me.
This exploit, along with Oracle’s behavior towards Java in general and Google in particular, convinced me to walk away from Java. That means: remove Java off of everything I own and to never write another line of Java. I will neither use nor purchase any Java-based tools either. No actoins to support Java.
From now on it’s any language but Java.