John A 1,896 Vampirical Lurker

In response to this article, which claims that Java could soon become an important programming language in Linux due to the recent open-sourcing of Java:

It's actually very unlikely that it will happen. This article is stating that the main reasoning is that other popular Linux programming languages are open source, and that's why they're popular. But if we followed that logic, we might have tons of weird languages that are "popular".

Now, don't get me wrong. Java is fairly popular already on the Mac and PC platforms. But it's a little different there. You see, Java is not usually considered by hardcore programmers to be "cool". The very nature of Linux is to be hardcore and low-level, which fits with C perfectly. That would probably explain why C is one of the most popular programming languages.

Java is also not as flexible as some of the other languages. Where some scripting language like Python can be compiled and run natively from the command line, a Java runtime environment is always needed if some code is going to be executed, regardless of how simple it should be. So although Java is "flexible" in the sense that you can write all sorts of things with it, it's really not that practical in most of these situations.

I also don't see why a language being open source would help make it more popular, as long as it's free. Sure, compilers are easier to write, but wasn't there a gcc add-on that allowed gcc to compile Java code? Of course there was. And any Linux IDE can hook into those command line tools. Another interesting fact is that Microsoft's .NET is neither open source nor unpopular. In fact, .NET is one of the most popular Linux languages.

Does this mean Java is bad? Not at all. I've considered learning it, but mostly I don't have enough time and don't have enough uses for it that I could instead write in C. People have accepted it well on some platforms, but Linux has not really taken off, and that was before Java went open-source. So don't expect anything big to happen now.