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We can visualize resource starvation using an elaborate rendition of the Dining Philosophers Problem. This classic metaphor of resource allocation among processes was first introduced in 1971 by Edsger Dijkstra in his paper "Hierarchical Ordering of Sequential Processes." It's been a model and universal method for verifying theories on resource allocation ever since. The metaphor goes like this: There are three well-known philosophers in an Asian bistro. Dinner is served but they are only given three chopsticks because the restaurant's supply truck has been stuck in a snow storm for a couple of days. Naturally each philosopher needs two chopsticks to eat his dinner and each is protected from interference while he uses a chopstick. Plato skipped lunch that day and insists that he should have priority or else he'll faint. If he doesn't give up his chopsticks, the other ... (more)

Oracle’s Acquisition of Sun: Could They Damage Open Source?

MySQL Journal on Ulitzer Open source software, in brief, is software that is distributed under a specific type of license. Open source licenses attempt to ensure the code is freely distributed. The vision is of large communities of developers and users who both give and get software code freely. Note that this does not mean the code can't be "owned" per se, it just means that it has to be distributed without cost. Open source software has become an underpinning of most businesses. It also touches most consumer products. If you spend any time at all browsing the Web, you have most definitely touched a wide range of open source components. If your business uses any Web-based applications, they are likely to be composed in part from open source components. For example, your Web-based software application could be getting critical JavaScript libraries from the jQuery pro... (more)

Chuck Phillips Was Supposed to Become CEO of CA

Oracle Keynote at Cloud Expo Cloud Computing News - Oracle co-president Charles Phillips was supposed to become CEO of CA - for all its muddied skirts still one of the world's largest software companies - and then those "soul mates forever" billboards popped up in New York, Atlanta and San Francisco, exposing his near decade-long bi-coastal double life with wife and son in the East and a live-in girlfriend in the West. Six days after Phillips was forced to admit that a picture of him and his ex-girlfriend canoodling was hanging over Times Square, CA named board member and executive chairman Bill McCracken CEO. He's the guy who's been running the company since John Swainson's reportedly forced retirement was announced in September. An ex-IBMer and an ex-Swainson pal, it was no secret he really wanted the job. Related Story: SAP Wants CA To Give It More Toys That w... (more)

What You Read Says a Lot About You

It is interesting, talking with people about what they read, and seeing how what they read is reflected in their daily lives. Even the occasional reader of this blog would not be surprised to find that I spend some amount of time with my nose buried in epic fantasy books and military history books. It shows in much of how I carry myself, what I do for hobbies, and even the examples I choose in this blog. But a far greater percentage of my time has been spent reading about computer science. Since I was a young teen, those were avocations, I wanted computers to be my vocation. So it should surprise no one that I devoured what can arguably be called the classics of our field – Norton’s hardware programming books, compiler theory books (used one book in each of my post-secondary degrees, own dozens, literally. Compilers and OS Design fascinate me), some of the Cisco st... (more)

Anatomy of a Java Finalizer

A couple of patterns that could cause Java heap exhaustion were identified from years of research at IBM. One interesting scenario was observed when Java applications generated an excessive amount of finalizable objects whose classes had non-trivial Java finalizers. What Is a Java Finalizer? A Java finalizer performs finalization tasks for an object. It's the opposite of a Java constructor, which creates and initializes an instance of a Java class. A Java finalizer can be used to perform postmortem cleanup tasks on an instance of a class or to release system resources such as file descriptors or network socket connections when an object is no longer needed and those resources have to be released for other objects. You don't need any argument or any return value for a finalizer. Unfortunately the current Java language specification does not define any finalizers for a... (more)

Interviewing Java Developers With Tears in My Eyes

During the last week I had to interview five developers for a position that required the following skills: Flex, Java, Spring, and Hibernate.  Most of these guys had demonstrated the 3 out of 10 level of Flex skills even though each of them claimed a practical experience on at least two projects. But this didn’t surprise me – Flex is still pretty new and there is only a small number of developers on the market who can really get Flex things done. What surprised me the most is a low level of Java skills of most of these people. They have 5-8 years of Java EE projects behind their belts, but they were not Java developers. They were species that I can call Robot-Configurator.  Each of them knew how to configure XML files for Spring, they knew how to hook up Spring and Hibernate and how to map a Java class to a database entity. Some of them even knew how to configure laz... (more)

IT Industry Luminary Bill Coleman Joins 3Tera's Advisory Board

3Tera, a provider of cloud computing technology and utility computing services, today announced that Bill Coleman has joined its advisory board. A technology luminary and Silicon Valley veteran for over 30 years, Coleman will provide strategic insight and guidance to 3Tera's management team as it positions the company to further pursue the enterprise and service provider markets.   "I firmly believe that 3Tera's cloud computing technology and vision will drive fundamental change to the next generation of information technology," said Coleman. "I am excited to be a part of this and to share my views and expertise, helping 3Tera position itself best to lead the cloud adoption in the enterprise."   "Having Bill Coleman join our advisory board is a testimony to how much 3Tera has accomplished," said Barry X Lynn, Chairman and CEO, 3Tera, Inc. "Bill's insights into l... (more)

Technology Heroes Also Serve in Government

Great American technologists from academia and industry have always ensured our national security has the edge it needs, in peace, crisis and war. Academic Fredrick Terman (pictured) brought us radar and Silicon Valley. Edwin Land brought us overhead ISR. Gordon Moore ensured integrated circuits were accelerated into our community first. Scott McNealy drove security into Operating Systems. Bill Gates and Larry Ellison and a long list of other great IT leaders have also dedicated significant effort to the national security community in ways many will never know. Great technology heroes also serve in government.  Thanks to them government has been pioneering advances in secure cloud computing, biometrics, IT security, collaboration, geospatial, visualization, remote sensing and collaboration. Government IT leaders routinely contribute to our nation’s understanding of... (more)

EC May Not Clear Oracle-Sun Merger: Reuters

As the clock ticks and the September 3 deadline nears, speculation is rising that the European Commission may throw a spanner into the Oracle-Sun merger and delay things another four months. Reuters said late Tuesday that EC regulators were fretting over the competitive implications of Oracle’s acquisition of MySQL and debating whether to open a full-scale investigation. If the EC decides to probe, the acquisition could get a pass, a fail or get loaded down with conditions, dragging out any resolution until late December, early January. Further delays will give IBM and HP even more time than they’ve already had to rustle Sun’s remaining hardware customers. They’ve been chasing them since Oracle announced its intentions to buy Sun in April. ... (more)

EC Holds Up Oracle-Sun Merger

The worst fears of Sun’s long-suffering shareholders have come to pass. The European Commission has opened up a full-blown antitrust investigation of Oracle’s proposed $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun, throwing a monkey wrench into plans to close the deal now. A decision on whether the acquisition gets a pass or a fail, or gets loaded down with conditions could take until January 19, another four-and-a-half months. The regulators are fretting over the competitive implications of Oracle’s acquisition of MySQL concerned that Oracle may starve the rival database of resources. The Commission said in a statement Thursday that it wasn’t sure that “the world’s leading proprietary database company” taking over “the world’s leading open source database company” wasn’t anti-competitive. Antitrust czarina Neelie Kroes, herself an open source advocate, was quoted as saying, “Th... (more)

Oracle+MySQL Opponents Take to the Barricades

MySQL Journal on Ulitzer Monty Widenius, the creator of the MySQL open source database – which is apparently all that stands between Oracle and its acquisition of Sun – thinks that Oracle shouldn’t have his baby and that the European Commission – whose investigation into MySQL has put the Oracle-Sun merger in limbo – should force Oracle to spit it out to another company. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, a guy with a collector’s temperament not given to letting things that belong to him go, has said he wants to keep MySQL and has claimed to be watching Sun’s revenue plunge by $100 million a month while he waits for the EC to finish its probe, a exercise that could take well into January. MySQL isn’t supposed to be why Larry shocked everybody and offered $7.4 billion for poor down-on-its-heels Sun back on April 20. Sticking it to IBM was probably something he relished and wi... (more)