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Oracle Plans Open Source JavaFX for iOS and Android

Reports suggest that Oracle is planning to open source the code for the Android and Apple iOS versions of the JavaFX UI platform within the early part of 2013. The intention here is to create new openings for Java programmers to be able to use JavaFX to write cross-platform smartphone apps for the first time.

Richard Bair is chief architect of the client Java platform at Oracle and also chief architect of the client Java platform at Oracle. Bair recalls plans made late last year at JavaOne when executive VP Hasan Risvi announced that the team would be open sourcing all of JavaFX by the end of 2012.

"We didn't quite make that (actually, it was a pleasant surprise to me as the announcement was made as much as to everybody else in the audience!). We quickly got into gear and started the substantial effort that goes into open sourcing each project. We have a lot of code," writes Bair.

"A majority of you said you'd contribute to an iOS / Android port (either via bug reports or direct code contributions) and we're working hard to be setup so that when the code is opened, you'll be able to start in on it. One aspect of this is fixing up our build/test setup so that it is trivial for people to build and test fixes on JavaFX (including us!). I've prioritized fixing the build/test system now so that we will be in a position to accept contributions at a more rapid pace. The first bits and pieces for iOS should be out next week, with the rest of iOS and Android coming out at about the same time as the rest of prism (there is some timing dependency there). Both our ports are based on an as-yet unreleased version of JavaSE Embedded for iOS/Android."

There are a few milestones in the way of current plans still to be overcome, and these include plans for an open release of the remaining code for the JavaFX windowing toolkit Glass and also Prism (the scene rasterizer and renderer). The web rendering component and a several other APIs also need some release attention over the coming months.

Bair also says that there have been some questions about licensing on iOS as Apple doesn't allow for GPL-licensed applications in its app store.

"OpenJFX and OpenJDK are both licensed with the same GPLv2 with Classpath Extension. My understanding (and I'm not a lawyer) is that this means that if you take OpenJFX + OpenJDK (minus any binary stubs released under a different license), then you can safely combine this with your application and release your application under your own license as a single application co-bundle," he said.

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