Contributing to OpenJDK, no thanks
July 12, 2007 16 Comments
Late Update (January 2009): I see that this particular post is still very popular in search results and server statistics. Probably it is linked on various sites. I want to say that Sun took my criticism very serious and most things changed alot, and all other things is beeing worked on. So please read the following original post with that in mind. I’m a rather happy OpenJDK contributor now.
It is such a ridiculous pain to get a patch into OpenJDK, I get the feeling that this is not the kind of project, I would feel comfortable with. Both of the above linked patches have been rather trivial. Davids patch even came with a testcase. And still it has to go through a week-long process before it can show up in the build. This will scare off most voluntary contributors quickly I guess.
Now the thing is, I have to deal with OpenJDK as part of my job. So I will have to do some tweaks here and there. What I am going to do is, upload my patches somewhere, post a link to them so the Sun dudes can pick it up if they like, or not if they don’t. But I certainly won’t jump through their hoops only to get my code in. I will do my job, but I won’t spend my free time to implement some encumbrance or whatever. I have more important things to do, like hacking on GNU Classpath, Escher, Xebece or Hypertree. That is, if I actually find some free time besides the baby and family. 😉
Update: I think a good chance to both serve the community and keep things stable would be to open up the repositories a little more. If non Sun contributors could work freely, for example in an external project like IcedTea, their patches could probably be fed back into Sun’s internal reviewing system in a streamlined, automatic or semi-automatic fashion. It would be even better if the community could be included into this reviewing system.
There’s a lot to be done and I’m sure a lot will be done. For now I’ll take care for my own little projects.