Java News from Monday, January 31, 2005

Tivo's released an alpha of HME, an open source (Common Public License) software development kit written in Java for the Series2 TiVo DVR. It does not work with earlier models, or DirecTV Tivos. I haven't yet figured out exaclty what this does and doesn't allow you to do, but if it provides enough access to the core system, this could be really interesting; and be a key component of helping Tivo survive the coming onslaught of MythTv/Freevo on one front and the MPAA on the other. The major question is whether any part of the system is still effectively locked off from programmer access. According to the FAQ, "The HME Early Access release can be used to create great looking applications that display on TV and interact with the user through the TiVo remote control. You can also stream mp3s to the TiVo DVR for playback. Future releases will expose more of the TiVo platform, including the DVR features." What I want to know is whether the SDK will allow me to write and run essentially any Java application on a TiVo.

For all the hype about freedom of speech, this year the United States ranks only 22nd in freedom of the press, according to the Third Annual Reporters Without Borders Worldwide Press Freedom Index (and that's only if you don't count U.S. occupied Iraq. If you do count Iraq, thge U.S.'s score gets a lot worse.) The U.S. is still ahead of most of Asia and the Middle East, but behind most of Europe, including the former Soviet bloc nations of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. "Violations of the privacy of sources, persistent problems in granting press visas and the arrest of several journalists during anti- Bush demonstrations kept the United States (22nd) away from the top of the list." Cuba, North Korea, Burma, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, Eritrea, Turkmenistan, Nepal, and Vietnam make up the bottom of the list.

The Jakarta Apache Project has decided that Tomcat 5.5.7 is now stable and ready for production. Tomcat is an open source servlet container for the Apache web server and the official reference implementation of the Java Servlet API and Java Server Pages (JSP). "Tomcat 5.5 is designed to run on J2SE 5.0 and later, and requires configuration to run on J2SE 1.4....In addition, Tomcat 5.5 uses the Eclipse JDT Java compiler for compiling JSP pages. This means you no longer need to have the complete Java Development Kit (JDK) to run Tomcat, but a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) is sufficient. The Eclipse JDT Java compiler is bundled with the binary Tomcat distributions. Tomcat can also be configured to use the compiler from the JDK to compile JSPs, or any other Java compiler supported by Apache Ant." This implements version 2.4 of the Java Servlet API and version 2.0 of Java Server Pages.