Does JavaFX have a future at Oracle?

In my initial reaction to the Sun-Oracle deal, I wrote JavaFX off as dead. After all, JavaFX aims to provide UIs for Java SE and ME apps, whereas for Oracle the holy grail is a Java EE-based all-one-thing appliance. But was I too hasty? Andrej Koelewijn speculates that Oracle could be the best thing that could happen to JavaFX, mostly because Oracle Forms is still based around in-browser applets, and how much enterprise software can you still say that about? And Charles Humble notes that JavaFX will improve the mobile Java experience, which in turn would hopefully mean more Java ME licensing fees -- a major revenue stream for whoever owns the rights to Java.

Nevertheless, the weight of opinion seems to be on the other side of the question:

  • Ars Technica is firmly in the camp that believes Oracle wants Java for the server and the enterprise. "The value of Java to Oracle is almost entirely confined to the server market, so it seems extremely unlikely that Oracle will want to follow through with Sun's efforts to restore Java's relevance in the browser with projects like JavaFX which is aimed squarely at competing with Adobe's deeply entrenched Flash framework."

  • Cay Horstmann thinks that it won't survive. "It's not making money, it isn't making visible inroads against Flash or Silverlight, and in general Oracle doesn't have much interest in client-side software."

  • Glen Kunere at DevX sees the question in terms of Sun's pet projects, and lumps JavaFX in with Project Looking Glass as things Sun's management was emotionally invested in that Oracle will not be.

One big issues: JavaFX isn't open source, so the community can't just take it over if Oracle decides to abandon it. As a result, what JavaFX pioneers want more than anything else is clarity on whether they should be continuing to invest in the platform; Osvaldo Pinali Doederlein's plea sums it up nicely. The problem is that Oracle and Sun can't for legal reasons really get into the nuts and bolts of future directions until the deal is done, which should make for several months of awkward limbo.

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