Today we're happy to announce we are working with Robert Schuster and Sebastian Mancke of tarent and Jalimo on porting OpenJDK to the BUG. We have watched excitedly in the past of progress being make in this effort from various developers, and wanted to get involved. A few days back Robert reported his initial success with HotSpot and OpenJDK build from OpenEmbedded running on an OpenMoko phone. This will have a big impact on BUG and impact on others as well.
What this means for BUG: The BUG, being a platform for building custom gadgets and applications using Java and OSGi, has been served well with PhoneME. It's fast, has excellent support, and is very compatible and stable. However the BUG is a cutting-edge platform and we'd like to offer cutting-edge Java features as well. Based on tarent's work, we plan to offer a version of BUG that has all the latest language and classpath enhancements in OpenJDK. This future version will not have GPL classpath restrictions, and will have the potential as being tested as a compliant Java environment. This is important for those wishing to extend the product.
What this means for Linux devices: Java on embedded devices is a controversial subject. Some say it's too big, some say it's not "real" Java. Everyone has an opinion. This is an interesting time because it means shortly we will have access to same open Java environments on mobile devices that developers have gotten used to on the desktop and server. Embedded systems and general purpose computer categories have been converging for a while now, and this seems like another step in the progression.
What it means for ARM Linux Distros: It was important for Bug and tarent to do the development in the open, and to use an existing community-based build system: Poky Linux/OpenEmbedded. As work proceeds, the customers and contributors to open source projects and products such as Gumstix, OpenMoko, and the BeagleBoard can easily and quickly benefit. We have been using a lot of great stuff from these projects and it's great to be able to work with tarent in giving back.
We encourage others to get involved! The Jalimo source repository is here: http://evolvis.org/scm/?group_id=11. Open source Java is a great thing, and we're really looking forward to BUG + OpenJDK!