Thursday Jun 25, 2009

Contributing to OpenJDK

There is no secret that the Java community would like talented developers around the world to contribute their expertise to the OpenJDK project. There are many ways to contribute and not all of them have to include writing code. Though, I suspect that most of the folks are interested in scratching their itch (read - fix an annoying bug or adding their favorite lang feature). In my case I want to introduce #ifdef in Java (I still miss that from my days programming in C).

With that in mind, I decided to try to become an OpenJDK contributor and see where the community will guide me, based on expertise and skill set.

My enthusiasm was spoiled upon reading the contribution process. Having to fax the SCA is rooted in the 20th century. I pulled the sources from the repository without much fuss and I was pleasantly surprised by how fast is Mercurial. The documentation advises you to find a sponsor. Read ahead, since it seems that a sponsor is needed just for the basic setup :-).

Building OpenJDK (on Windows) should a lot simpler. The instructions on the project website are generally clear, however I could not find easily any info how to build the sources. I googled the topic and found some instructions which made me cringe. I have some of the software requirements other than cygwin. The rest seems very archaic. 

Once I have more time, I'll get back to the build process and I hope to come up with some suggestions on how to improve the process. Perhaps that will be a form of contribution in itself!

Wednesday Apr 23, 2008

NetBeans and OpenSolaris

NetBeans is widely distributed nowadays. You can get it from java.sun.com as part of the Java SE or EE bundles, as well as from netbeans.org. Ubuntu makes it available in Universe (starting with Hardy) and the community contributed NetBeans to the Debian repositories (for more details on the Linux distributions that include NetBeans, take a look here).

The latest open source product that makes NetBeans (version 6.0.1) available is OpenSolaris (2008.05). I am in the process of kicking the tires of the RC2, that was recently produced in anticipation of the Community One event which takes place next month in San Francisco. I am still struggling with the OpenSolaris install, however I have an atypical configuration: MacBook Pro, partitioned with Boot Camp; I am trying to install in a partition where I previously installed Windows Vista.

Here are some of the issues that I am running into:

<snip from installation log>
Set fdisk attrs
fdisk: fdisk -n -F failed. Could't create fdisk partition table on disk c5d0
Couldn't create fdisk partition table on disk
Could not create fdisk target
TI process completed unsuccessfully
 </snip from installation log> 

 

Thursday Jan 10, 2008

Community developer support

As a developer using NetBeans you can get a variety of help in using the IDE or learning how to extend and build on the platform. Historically most of the users have been using the mailing list as a resource to get their questions answered. Developers involved in key projects that need enterprise level support and services  should be able to purchase professional support from Sun. Most recently, the support team has been publishing a blog where the NetBeans community members could go for tips on how to effectively use NetBeans and become more productive.

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