Jim Manley wrote:When Oracle Java 7 for the Pi is reportedly released this Fall, it will include full GPU support, and that should make running applications like ImageJ significantly faster.
Is this actually true, Oracle is willing to do that amount of development to support a platform like Raspberry Pi? I'm quite amazed.
Oracle has been working on this pretty much since demos early in 2012, albeit apparently part-time by some internal champions of the Pi and ARM, at least until earlier this year. First-class support of the Pi has been on their roadmap for close to a year (announced at JaveOne in 2012, IIRC), although it has been under the umbrella of greatly-improved support for ARM in general. So, they're not doing this solely for the Pi - the benefits will apply equally to any ARM-Linux platform such as a Cubieboard, BeagleBone, etc. According the roadmap, Java 8 (coming sometime in the first half of 2014, IIRC) will include full ARM-Linux (including Pi) support the day it's released to the public.
I know a lot of people hold a great deal of hate and discontent for Oracle, but one has to remember that it's a huge company that got that way in large part by acquiring a lot of outstanding smaller companies (and in some cases, not small at all, just smaller relative to Oracle's core database business, e.g., Sun, Siebel, BEA Systems, Hyperion, PeopleSoft, etc.). The people working on Java for ARM are, of course, formerly Sun employees, some of whom have been at work on Java since the very early days. One of things Sun and Oracle had in common was their software supporting as many platforms as possible, which led to a lot of internal friction between the hardware and software folks within Sun, and that probably partly led to its acquisition by Oracle. So, this shouldn't be as much of a surprise as it might otherwise seem.
Oracle, and the Java division in particular, have a long and deep history of association with educational use, including very liberal licensing in that sector, generally for free for educators and students, in particular, and even pre-investment small startups. The sister of a former coworker of mine was (and may still be) the head of licensing at Oracle and they have offered a wide range of licensing options even to corporate customers when they've been asked. This has been useful where cash has been strapped, e.g., growing startups demonstrating promise of strong future profits. Sometimes going with Oracle exclusively is part of the deal, in other cases they've accepted preferred stock and/or warrants in exchange for licensing breaks, etc. As the MBAs like to say, "Everything is negotiable."
Having said all of that, I haven't heard from the folks working on the ARM-Linux ports since earlier this year and things may have changed, but they haven't announced anything of which I'm aware. They do monitor this forum at least occasionally, and I hope we hear from them sooner, rather than later, that Java 7 on the Pi will, in fact, be here Real Soon Now.
EDIT: I forgot to mention that there is a developer preview of JDK 8 that runs very well on Raspbian (full armhf implementation last updated on July 24, 2013) that's available at:
You will want the Linux ARMv6/7 VFP, HardFP ABI gzipped tarball that becomes accessible when you agree to the licensing terms. The JavaFX Demos and Samples Downloads are available in zipped form below the JDK downloads on the same page. There are some useful notes toward the bottom of the page at:
https://wiki.openjdk.java.net/display/O ... spberry+Pi