Java News from Tuesday, February 3, 2004

As I type this, I'm not listening to a Sun presentation on the Java Desktop System. I signed up for it, but instead of a nice, simple QuickTime stream like Apple does every few months, they're using some brain-damaged applet that won't execute on my Mac. I finally got the applet to load on my Linux box, but all it does there is show not very informative slides very slowly. Oh wait, it just told me I didn't have the Flash plug-in. That's helpful (not!). If they were going to do this in Flash, why didn't they just skip Java entirely? Anyway, let's try this on the Windows laptop that has Java and Flash (20 minutes into the presentation now.) Nope, that doesn't work. The site is now refusing connections. OK, a few minutes later it lets me log in, only to discover that the applet window is much too big for my laptop screen; and oh yes, to top it all off it won't run with the version of Flash I have installed. It wants Flash 7.

Whether you have the right versions of Java and Flash installed or not, to actually hear what the presenters are saying, you have to dial in on a voice line and wait on hold ten or fifteen minutes to be connected to the audio. Of course, even then you still can't see what the presenters are demonstrating, just watch the slides. And there's no way I'm holding a heavy phone to my ear for an hour to listen to Sun's marketing spiel. I could use a speaker phone, but that's not in the same room as my computer. For a company that claims to be so Internet savvy, you'd think they would have figured out how to deliver audio over the Internet by now. Oh well, maybe they'll send me the free copy of the JDS they promised for registering, but I'm not holding my breath.

YourKit, LLC has released YourKit Java Profiler 2.0, a 295€ payware tool for detecting memory leaks and memory consumption bottlenecks. It features Automation of memory leak detection, an object heap browser, JUnit integration, IntelliJ IDEA Borland JBuilder integration. Version 2.0 adds CPU profiling. Upgrades from version 1.0 (when it was called the YourKit memory Profilewr) are 140€. The tool runs on Windows or Linux.

Tue Haste Andersen has released JWacom 1.0, Java library for accessing Wacom tablets on Linux. It provides methods to query the device state and and event listeners to listen for Wacom events. The library is free-beer.

JetBrains has posted the second release candidate of Intellij IDEA 4.0 (registration required). IDEA is a $699 payware integrated development environment for Java that's been getting a lot of good buzz for the last year or so. New features in 4.0 include a GUI designer, CVS integration, the ability to modify code from within the debugger and continue running, generics support, and JUnit integration.

Apple has released Java 1.4.2 and Safari 1.2. Together they enable LiveConnect for communication between Java and JavaScript, which should go a long way toward fixing Safari incompatibilities with various web sites. There's also a JBoss update that enables "JBoss and Tomcat to take advantage of Java 1.4.2."

In typical Apple fashion, however, these updates are all only available for Mac OS X 10.3. Mac OS X 10.2 users are expected to pay $120 to upgrade if they want to use the latest version of Java, or have their web browser work. If you actually want to use a compiler, you're going to have sign Apple's loyalty oath before they'll let you download it. Microsoft is still supporting Windows 98. Apple can't be bothered to support an operating system they were selling and installing with all Macs less than year ago. When I started using Macs 15 years ago, the hardware was more expensive, but the OS and all upgrades were free. The hardware is still more expensive, but Apple seems to have forgotten the other half of that bargain. :-(