Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Linux Containers, Java IoT

Linux Containers: Article

Java, Meet Python. Python, Meet Java

Java, Meet Python. Python, Meet Java

  • Read Sean Gallagher's technology blog

    As Sun and IBM haggle over the terms of open-sourcing Java, I think it's important to note: if they're trying to jumpstart more widespread development of Java applications on the server, they are barking up the wrong tree.

    The reason is simple - Python. The scripting language is already in widespread use, is object-oriented, is proven to scale moderately well (Marc Andreessen's Opsware wrote the entirety of the first version of their product in it), and is more friendly to the realities of most Linux deployments than Java - that is, it can run fine on cheap hardware with a finite amount of RAM.

    Over breakfast this morning, Andreessen pretty much summed up what I'd been thinking over the past few days. He talked about how Linux had usurped Unix workstations as the developer desktop, and how developers started prototyping in Python and Perl. "And they get it done in a week, and it works...and they say, 'Why do we need to move this over to something else, exactly?'"

    Java (specifically J2EE) is good at things like dealing with large number of transactions, dealing with application state, and stuff like that. But, a significant majority of applications on the Web don't necessarily generate enough of a transaction load to justify the penalties you have to pay with Java - a big memory footprint, more complicated software configuration issues, and (let's face it) somewhat more complicated than a scripting language. Java carries a lot of baggage with it to make the bytecode compiler happy that "agile" languages like Python and Perl (especially Perl) don't worry about. If they *really* need performance, they'll write it in what Linux developers invariably resort to for such a task: C.

    That doesn't mean that there isn't a place for Java in the world of Linux developers. It just means that place is a little tighter than the Java-ites might be accustomed to. Without a real niche in rapid prototyping, and without a real performance advantage, Java is sort of a happy medium - or an unhappy one, depending on how you look at it. Scripters will turn to Java reluctantly when they hit the top end of performance for things like database calls, because Java is at least less crufty than C. Faint praise, for sure.

    This is one of the reasons that people are excited about Groovy. Groovy's proponents claim that it , like Python, is an "agile" language. It seems suited to rapid prototyping, and since it's built specifically for the Java Virtual Machine, there's no need to rebuild applications in Java to make them scale better later.

    But for people to prototype on top of the JVM, the JVM has to be on their machine. Thus the desire to get Java open-sourced so it ends up on Linux distributions.

    There's just one problem: why would anybody pick an untested language on a relatively memory-heavy virtual machine to prototype on when they can just pop out Python bits that run without one? Especially when they can get by pretty much without the JVM in the first place?

    Well, there are those things that you get from Java - application state, database connection pooling, lots of messaging and transactional support - that you don't get from Python. But the thing is, you don't have to saddle yourself with developing the whole application in Java just to get those things. And, no matter how good Groovy is, I doubt anybody is going to convince Python, Perl and Ruby developers that life is all goodness and light over on the JVM, and they should just take the red pill and get it over with.

    The answer for Java is not just to take it open source. The answer is also to show open-source developers that Java plays nice with their favorite tools.

    One place where Java can get immediate traction is on the desktop. Right now, desktop development on Linux is in the Land of C: while Gnome's got some scripting support, it's still not exactly what desktop developers on other platforms are used to. And Java 2 Standard Edition fully implemented on Linux would mean that tools written elsewhere would be all set to rock and roll on Linux. But Java could also act as a front-end builder for scripted components.

    But for server applications, the best thing that the Java community can do to win the hearts and minds of open source developers is to expose Java to their existing tools.

    And guess what? That means contributing to Python.

    That's because the most obvious routes to integration between Python and Java--like SOAP, for example--aren't fully cooked yet in Python. ( SOAP::Lite for Perl is most of the way there, so Perl is less of a concern.) The Java/Python Interface (JPI) was another potential way of wiring these two worlds up, but the project seems to have gone dark.

    Regardless of what's out there in bits and pieces now, if there was some good, open-source, standardized reference implementation of a means for Python to invoke the Goodness of Java components without actually having to recode in Java, there might be a whole lot more reason for the open source community to embrace Java.

    So, Groovy is a great first step. But for Java to really get past the awkward pause in its relationship with open source developers, those keeping the Java flame have to get over themselves and the whole "not invented here" mindset that has locked them in thus far. Architectural purity is great. But pragmatism is better.
  • More Stories By Sean M. Gallagher

    Sean Gallagher is technology editor, Baseline Magazine, and blogs as the dotcommunist at http://weblog.dendro.com.

    Comments (11)

    Share your thoughts on this story.

    Add your comment
    You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

    In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


    IoT & Smart Cities Stories
    In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
    When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
    Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of San...
    Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
    Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
    If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and...
    Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
    Chris Matthieu is the President & CEO of Computes, inc. He brings 30 years of experience in development and launches of disruptive technologies to create new market opportunities as well as enhance enterprise product portfolios with emerging technologies. His most recent venture was Octoblu, a cross-protocol Internet of Things (IoT) mesh network platform, acquired by Citrix. Prior to co-founding Octoblu, Chris was founder of Nodester, an open-source Node.JS PaaS which was acquired by AppFog and ...
    The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
    Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...