JavaFX absorbing all of Sun's UI money?

I mentioned in passing last week Frank Sommers' discussion of JavaFX hurting client-side Java -- specifically by absorbing programmer-hours that could have otherwise been put into improving other Java UI technologies. It's worth going into more detail on, frankly, because it seems to be causing a bit of a kerfuffle. Instructive is this discussion on java.net about Sun basically pulling funding for SwingX, aka SwingLabs, an open source project that aims to expand the venerable Swing UI toolkit. Kirill Grouchnikov's excellent Pushing Pixels blog has a nice sum-up of what he thinks this means: the beginning of the end for Swing. While it will stay part of the core language for years to come, it will not be the focus of Sun's innovation in the UI space. That innovation wil be in JavaFX.

Fabrizio Giudici, in a blog post urging everybody not to panic, nevertheless reinforces some of this narrative:

We know that Sun is not in good shape from the financial point of view and there's the planetary financial storm. Unfortunately, and this is sad, this implies that the corporate has to cut fundings in many places...Sun is clearly focusing most of the remaining resources on JavaFX. You might like it or not, but it seems natural: they have bet on it and the project can't fail, or Sun would lose the face.

I'd say this is the beginning of the Java community seeing how Sun's increasingly dire financials affect them directly. If there's less money to go around, it only goes into the projects that are at the top of Sun's priority list -- and that may not be what you want funded. It may not even be Java. But Giudici also has something to say on what can be done to change that:

Sun stopped funding SwingX, not Swing. SwingX is however an open source project and if people like it, should just keep on supporting it. Pardon my frankness: Sun for sure makes a lot of communication errors, it must improve the interface with the community, but too many people saw Java opensourcing as a "Santa Claus moment": Sun spending lot of money and delivering free software to people. It's not the way opensource works. If you like SwingX and use it, and if it's strategic to you, consider funding the developers, Jeanette and the others. It's the way opensource works: let's not forget that it's still a market thing.

Welcome to the more multipolar Java world.

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