Java News from Friday, October 19, 2007

The GNU Project has released version 0.96(.1) of GNU Classpath, an incomplete free implementation of the core Java class libraries.

This release switches fully towards the 1.5 generics work that we previously released separately as classpath-generics. All this work is now fully integrated in the main release and various runtimes (gcj, cacao, jamvm, ikvm, etc) have been extended to take advantage of the new generics, annotations and enumeration support in the core library. From now on we intend to no longer release both a non-generics and a generics version. But if there is demand we might consider resurrecting the non-generics 1.4 branch with selected bug-fixes (depending on having a branch maintainer). Work is on the way to also add the new 1.6 additions, a start for selected packages has been made in this release.

That said, the main feature of this release is our new experimental GStreamer peer arising from the work of Mario Torre on his Google Summer of Code project ( ). This provides support for the javax.sound API using the GStreamer library ( ), allowing any sound file supported by GStreamer to be played from Java. Full details are provided in the included README.gstreamer file. The peer is not yet ready for production use, but please try it and give us your feedback.

We've also improved our support for interacting with the outside world. Our JNI header has been updated to 1.6, we now better support choosing a compiler to use to build Classpath (either ecj or OpenJDK javac, the latter now having support for using the -J option to avoid out of memory errors) and our tools support has improved so as to better stand as a substitute for Sun's toolset.

AWT and Swing have seen a host of bug fixes and updates, including much improved Escher peers.

GNU Classpath is published under the GPL with library exception.

The Big Faceless Organization has released the Big Faceless PDF Library 2.8.5. This release reduces memory requirements and attempts to enforce usage restrictions on PDF documents. (Consequently you may well not wish to upgrade to this version. Personally I want software to do what I tell it to do, not what someone else tells it to do.) The library costs $700 (more if you want support). The $1300 Extended Edition adds the AcroForms support, digital signatures, and the ability to import and edit and existing PDF documents.