Android – bad or evil?

The point is: is Android creating a precedence that could endanger the Java ecosystem?

Yes, you read it right. There is already a name or it – the “android effect“.

So what is the “android effect” and why should we, Java developers be afraid of it? Well, today we know for sure that Java is a very successful technology. But – tell me – what is Java? There is the Trademark, there is the API, the Virtual Machine, there are open source projects. It obviously is not the language syntax, since there are other interesting ways (Groovy, JRuby, JPython) to create Java byte code. So is it the virtual machine? Or is it the “write once, run everywhere” approach? Well, IMHO, it is much of the latter one.

This explains also why I do not like the Java ME edition – it’s a different Java. I need other VMs, other APIs, other Tools – everything feels different. So why should I stick to Java when it comes to the mobile devices. I didn’t. I had a look at other technologies. I skipped the the whole ME, the whole mobile device world, that pains. But it was not Java.

Well, Android might feel more like Java then Java ME ever did – the Tooling, the API, the coolness. But it is not Java – either. It is using the Java Syntax, and creating something non-Java out of it. This is, and I agree with Richard, Java fragmentation. And I do not like this precedence either. Where is this road taking us? To lots of Java that run almost nowhere, only in a special target Platform.

On the other hand, ME is awful. Dozens of JCRs do not make it right. If Android is the pill we have to swallow, so I hope, it is the least evil of them.

“Android also sets a precedent that is seriously detrimental to the Java Community Process. It asserts that creating non-compatible implementations, forks if you will, is a viable business model. If other vendors pursue this same strategy, the JCP’s ability to enforce compatibility and standards will diminish. Over time the JCP could be rendered completely irrelevant.”

Richard Monson-Haefel

In the blog postings from Richard Monson-Haefel and the answers from Ed Burnette you can read it in more detail:

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