Wednesday, August 24, 2005

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Closed Source vs Open Source

This morning I was reading through a thread at Javaranch in our Moderators Only forum about an odd statement in LayoutComparator. This discussion eventually led to various RFE's that have been ignored for years by Sun. One of the staff's favorites was this one. All this talk of ignored bugs got me thinking about libraries and API's that I use that are open source and others that are considered closed source.

Take, for example, JSF. For all it's (debatably) usefullness there are some major issues. Some of these issues are being resolved in the 1.2 version of the specification. However, 1.2 is not due out until the release of J2EE 1.5 which is not due until late next year (2006). In comparison, look at Tapestry. Sure, it has it's own issues. But time and time again I see bug reports on the mailing list and replys that these issues have been fixed within days. Obviously this is happening more frequently with Tapestry 4 final on the horizen and I know Howard wants it to be as bug free as possible before the release. At the very least, nightly builds are available so if you need the most recent version with the bug fixed you are having a problem with, you can probably get it. Sun might have all the bugs fixed in JSF. But we don't get it until late next year. We have to settle for good open source projects like MyFaces to make work arounds for these bugs.

I haven't looked into Apache's open source VM (Harmony) at all. I haven't even been to the website. But the more issues I run into with closed source tools, the more willing I am to check it out. And if they can address some of these 8 year old lingering issues before Sun, why not?