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Oracle Discontinues Free Java Time Zone Updates

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the now-you-won't-know-when-you-are dept.

Oracle 405

New submitter Noel Trout writes "For a long time in the Java world, there has been a free tool called the 'tzupdater' or Time Zone Updater released as a free download first by Sun and then Oracle. This tool can be used to apply a patch to the Java runtime so that time zone information is correct. This is necessary since some time zones in the world are not static and change more frequently than one might think; in general time zone updates can be released maybe 4-6 times a year. The source information backing the Java timezone API comes from the open source Olson timezone database that is also used by many operating systems. For certain types of applications, you can understand that these updates are mission critical. For example, my company operates in the private aviation sector so we need to be able to display the correct local time at airports around the world. So, the interesting part is that Oracle has now decided to only release these updates if you have a Java SE support contract. Being Oracle, such licenses are far from cheap. In my opinion, this is a pretty serious change in stance for Oracle and amounts to killing free Java for certain types of applications, at least if you care about accuracy. We are talking about the core API class java.util.TimeZone. This begs the question, can you call an API free if you have to pay for it to return accurate information? What is the point of such an API? Should the community not expect that core Java classes are fully functional and accurate? I believe it is also a pretty bad move for Java adoption for these types of applications. If my company as a startup 10 years ago would have been presented with such a license fee, we almost certainly could not have chosen Java as our platform as we could not afford it."

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405 comments

ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Ellison (5, Funny)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 10 months ago | (#43945337)

it's Time to switch to python

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945369)

it's Time to switch to python

Develop software - production software - in an interpreted language?

Not on my watch.

C# and Microsoft is looking better everyday.

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945379)

Specially with that Xbone announcement.

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (0)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 10 months ago | (#43945457)

python java and c# all compile to bytecode.

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (4, Interesting)

julesh (229690) | about 10 months ago | (#43945575)

Yes, but Python's bytecode is much higher-level than the bytecode used by the other three, because it doesn't have explicit typing of variables or direct integer manipulation. The performance implications are substantial if you're performing any non-trivial calculations. (Of course, if your process is I/O bound, this is largely irrelevant...)

Python also cannot be efficiently multithreaded, which is a killer for many high-performance applications.

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (2, Insightful)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 10 months ago | (#43945849)

if you are doing intensive calculations and they slow down execution you can write those parts in c

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (2)

aled (228417) | about 10 months ago | (#43945641)

Bytecode is but a concept and there are many different, incompatible implementations. Like programming languages and compilers.

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945479)

it's Time to switch to python

Develop software - production software - in an interpreted language?

Not on my watch.

C# and Microsoft is looking better everyday.

Better let Google know they're doing it wrong then.

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (4, Funny)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#43945631)

it's Time to switch to python

Develop software - production software - in an interpreted language?

Not on my watch.

C# and Microsoft is looking better everyday.

Better let Google know they're doing it wrong then.

I always thought the Wars of the Reformation were a fascinating, if horrible, part of history. It's always fun to see them re-enacted in spirit with programming languages. Nobody is planning to destroy Bohemia though, right?

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945829)

Keep telling yourself that. Everyone knows that Python is basically deprecated at Google. Almost all of the big applications are written in C++ and Java and there's simply no reason to use Python when Go has basically the same terrible semantics, a slightly better type system, includes reasonable threading semantics and easily gets 100 times better performance.

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (-1, Troll)

dfghjk (711126) | about 10 months ago | (#43945509)

"Not on my watch."

Of course, Anonymous Cowards aren't on watch. People who matter aren't such douchebags.

Re: ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Ellis (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945529)

You have an argument to back that statement?

Only kidding, I know you don't have a clue of what you are trying to talk about.

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 10 months ago | (#43945675)

"Develop software - production software - in an interpreted language?"
What the hell do you think Java and C# are? Compared to C and C++ they are interpreted languages.

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (3, Interesting)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 10 months ago | (#43945683)

it's Time to switch to python

Develop software - production software - in an interpreted language?

Not on my watch.

C# and Microsoft is looking better everyday.

Python is commonly compiled at first use these days, much like the Java JIT compilation process.

If you want a legitimate reason to avoid Python for mission-critical stuff, it's the lack of rigorous development-time type-checking.

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945385)

Python is terrible and the primary implementation is far beyond terrible.

Re: ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Ellis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945507)

Citation?

Re: ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Ellis (1, Interesting)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 10 months ago | (#43945571)

Python is terrible and the primary implementation is far beyond terrible.

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (5, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#43945403)

The time to move away from Java was as soon as Oracle bought Sun.

I don't know if Python is the answer for everyone, and I know changing to a different language is about as big of a pain as there is, but the jig was up after Sun was bought.

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945521)

I hate python with a passion. Code should be readable without knowing the language, and python fails that miserably with all the syntax hidden in the white space.

I'm guessing the right answer here is for people to stop using their TZ update patches and just implement a FOSS version.

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (4, Informative)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 10 months ago | (#43945577)

nothing is hidden

newlines are used in place of semicolons and indentation defines code blocks

in most other languages {} define code blocks and indentation implies code blocks to the reader, sometimes misleading the reader.

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (5, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about 10 months ago | (#43945883)

I think we have a different definition of hidden.

Of course you can always find poorly formatted code that's confusing, but the bottom line here is that this is not an appropriate way of using white space. White space is for the purpose of separating elements and making it more readable.

The fact that most other languages use {} to denote blocks is a good reason to use that in other languages as well. It's something that works, is clear in intention and after all these years, nobody has come up with anything better.

It should be up to the developers as to how precisely they format their code for legibility, not the people writing the language.

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (5, Insightful)

bsane (148894) | about 10 months ago | (#43945603)

If the whitespace still bothers you - it means you haven't even spent 15m using it.

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945701)

Or, you know, you had a merge happen that moved around whitespace without anybody noticing, which resulted in still syntactically sound Python that just happened to have entirely different semantics that destroyed a bunch of customer data. Just as a random example of why whitespace syntax is horrible.

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945807)

If you have a source code control system that rearranges white space? What??

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945719)

Braces allow for automatic formatting.
Whitespace shouldn't encode anything other than separation between meaningful elements. Definitely not blocks.
Besides, untyped languages are unmaintainable crap. They're nice for throwing crap together quick, but having to figure out what the code does (with typical level of comments...) is a painful experience.

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945751)

I've spent years using Python and I still hate it. Luckily for me, Google has marked it deprecated.

Re:ORACLE = One Raging Asshole Called Larry Elliso (2)

aled (228417) | about 10 months ago | (#43945625)

it's Time to switch to python

Sorry, no. Perhaps it was time 10 years ago if ever. Now is too late. Even Google is using less Python these days.

First post! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945341)

First because I'm not using java. And don't expect jack from Oracle, who still uses java by choice?

Re:First post! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945409)

Typical Java, by the time you type it in you're no where near first post.

Re:First post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945623)

Only one post beat him. The rest are replies to that one. Karma-whore trick: put your comment as a reply to a high comment, even if irrelevant. More mods will read it. Not that I do that all the time or anything...

Alternative (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945343)

Do they want to promote an alternative? How does this affect the OpenJDK?

Oracle giving it up the ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945353)

Who's surprised?

Milk it while it lasts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945361)

This has me wondering about Oracle's motives. Maybe they have made an internal assessment that java is on a downward path anyway and they might as well make as much money as possible while they can?

Re:Milk it while it lasts? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#43945377)

They only bought Java because they thought they could sue Google (ie. Android) over the API.

Re:Milk it while it lasts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945535)

I think you could be right on this one.

Here we go (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945365)

The beginning of the end of Java for the 'rest of us'.

Cannot someone else do the updates ? (5, Insightful)

Alain Williams (2972) | about 10 months ago | (#43945367)

The information needed to provide the updates is freely available, so cannot someone else provide the updates ? Just get tzupdater to download from a different place. I am not a Java programmer, so forgive me if I have got the wrong end of the stick.

Even better change the Java functions to get the information operating system, on Linux the tzdata, then Java is kept up to date as the OS is kept up to date.

Re:Cannot someone else do the updates ? (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 10 months ago | (#43945437)

Perhaps JODA Time could pull it from the OS in Linux or a file otherwise. It's very much what upcoming time and date changes are going to look like anyway and are vastly better than the built-in support. Alternatively, it's quite easy to tweak a couple of the built-ins using their source to do the same and put them in the classpath before the supplied versions. Not pretty, but effective in the short-mid term.

Actually: Why are these needed? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945461)

Why doesn't java use the operating system to provide that information in the first place? At least on operating systems that provide that sort of information, which isn't just "linux" but pretty much all unices.

Also, ISTR the source updates maybe twice a year, and is free, so I don't see why java has to be so special. Then again, oracle is a very special company in that regard. Everybody needs this, and in fact needs everybody else to have it too, so it's stupid penny pinching that's going on here.

And it is very stupid, just like their handling of patches for critical holes turned out to be criminally stupid. It's not like their head honcho needs the money, seeing how he squanders it on airport fines and the like.

Re:Actually: Why are these needed? (3, Interesting)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#43945657)

Why doesn't java use the operating system to provide that information in the first place?

Because despite being called a portable language, the real Java approach is a portable environment. I'm not debating whether that's good, bad or indifferent, but that is the approach.

Re:Actually: Why are these needed? (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 10 months ago | (#43945913)

Until all the API calls and all the hardware are identical across the various OSes, the only way of making code portable is via a portable environment. All the other languages that I can think of that are write once run most places do something similar. Ultimately, when you have differences in endianness and number and type of registers, you're going to be stuck with portable environments to get code running on all supported platforms with minimal fussing around with machine dependent requirements.

Re: Cannot someone else do the updates ? (2)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 10 months ago | (#43945491)

I have always wondered why this is something that couldn't be delegated to the operating system. Does anyone have any ideas? Is this something that could be addressed in OpenJDK? Can we use icu4j instead?

Re: Cannot someone else do the updates ? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945525)

Because Java wants to be a complete virtual machine, so it wants nothing to do with the operating system services at all.

One of the reasons it does its own memory management, i.e. when you start an application you have to tell Java how much memory it is allowed to use and Java then allocates the whole thing when it starts.

Java is interesting you need to be a very good programmer to use Java well, and any good programmer doesn't want to use Java.

Re: Cannot someone else do the updates ? (1)

julesh (229690) | about 10 months ago | (#43945599)

I have always wondered why this is something that couldn't be delegated to the operating system. Does anyone have any ideas? Is this something that could be addressed in OpenJDK? Can we use icu4j instead?

Java promises applications that run the same wherever you run them. This cannot be achieved by relying on the underlying OS, which might vary substantially in the frequency of updates and/or accuracy of time zone data provided.

Re: Cannot someone else do the updates ? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 10 months ago | (#43945843)

Yeah, but since Oracle is breaking that promise already by making paid Java have TZ updates and free Java not, what's the difference? At the very least it could be a fallback mode for free Java.

Re: Cannot someone else do the updates ? (1)

aled (228417) | about 10 months ago | (#43945601)

I don't know but I suppose it was for portability across different operating system.

Oracle fail (1)

wireloose (759042) | about 10 months ago | (#43945371)

Sounds like Oracle doesn't have enough free time on its hands.

It seems clear to me that Oracle really doesn't want Java except for an easy way to gain control in the mobile interface market. It always seem merely collateral damage from acquiring Sun. The only real attention it seems to have gotten was rebranding. And with Google developing their own compatible engine for Android, Oracle's grand plan is now a pipe dream. Hence their crazed copyright lawsuit against Google for uncopyrightable APIs.

Re:Oracle fail (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 10 months ago | (#43945421)

Oracle doesn't want Java or he mobile market. Oracle wants money. Lots of money, now and in the future.

Any day now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945383)

I remember back in the early 90s a friend of mine was so excited about Java. He said it was going to destroy Microsoft and desktop computers as we know it. We'd live in a wonderful fully networked world running completely on Java. It would make the problem of differing platforms obsolete because anything written for one platform would seamlessly run on every other.

I replied that while Java would have its uses, overall it would not make a dent in anything the general user actual does on computers. I think time has proven me right. The fact that Oracle is gripping it so tightly as to nearly kill it, isn't helping my friend's position either.

Re:Any day now (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#43945553)

I remember back in the early 90s a friend of mine was so excited about Java. He said it was going to destroy Microsoft and desktop computers as we know it. We'd live in a wonderful fully networked world running completely on Java. It would make the problem of differing platforms obsolete because anything written for one platform would seamlessly run on every other.

I replied that while Java would have its uses, overall it would not make a dent in anything the general user actual does on computers. I think time has proven me right. The fact that Oracle is gripping it so tightly as to nearly kill it, isn't helping my friend's position either.

I said the same thing. Java's success was due to Sun's marketing department more than anything else. I guess the time had come for YALTEAL (yet another language to end all languages).

Before I get flamed, I should say I'm not anti-Java. It has its uses - probably more than I appreciate because Java isn't suitable for my work. However it is not a general purpose programming language, to the extent that such a thing can exist. It's not suitable for low level (device driver, deeply embedded, etc.) and its speed impediment makes it unsuitable for things where that really matters.

Re:Any day now (1, Informative)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 10 months ago | (#43945753)

java does not have a speed impediment, it runs at least as fast as C++

Re:Any day now (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 10 months ago | (#43945881)

I've been reading this stuff for years now, and it was promised Java would run at native compiled speed from the very start but the only actual statistics I've encountered say the opposite. The truth seems to be that the Java run-time didn't quite life upto the expectations.
Not that the performance is a significant issue for many types of applications; many productivity and programming tools I use run just fine using Java. Except during garbage collection ofcourse, which is when Java absolutely sucks.

Re:Any day now (1)

jgrahn (181062) | about 10 months ago | (#43945811)

I said the same thing. Java's success was due to Sun's marketing department more than anything else. I guess the time had come for YALTEAL (yet another language to end all languages).

Yeah. There hadn't been any for a while in the late 1990s. People didn't yet take scripting languages seriously, and trying to use pre-standard C++ (without a standard library!) as if it was Smalltalk had failed some years earlier.

Also, those of us who didn't take Microsoft seriously were impressed that Java came from Sun, the brave defender of the Unix legacy.

The API is free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945387)

The implementation is not. Know the words you're using.

Cash grab (3, Insightful)

Macfox (50100) | about 10 months ago | (#43945425)

Not surprising. Given the refusal to remove those bloody Java sponsors from the JRE. Piss off the end users and now the developers.

IBM to the rescue (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945449)

IBM provides free access to the Olson database updates:

http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/java/jdk/dst/jtzu.html

Was this post even necessary?

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=java+olson+database

Re:IBM to the rescue (1)

ansak (80421) | about 10 months ago | (#43945499)

I've never heard the name Olson before in relation to timezone updates. Thanks for the enlightenment but yes, this article was at least a little bit necessary, if not as earth shattering as an approaching asteroid.

cheers...ank

Re:IBM to the rescue (2)

julesh (229690) | about 10 months ago | (#43945665)

I've never heard the name Olson before in relation to timezone updates. Thanks for the enlightenment but yes, this article was at least a little bit necessary, if not as earth shattering as an approaching asteroid.

cheers...ank

OTOH, the original poster clearly had, so why he didn't google for it and find those sources is an interesting question. Or why he hasn't considered alternative approaches (using a 3rd party JRE; using OpenJDK and following the update process described here [freebsd.org], etc. Unless, of course, he's one of the many anti-Java nuts we seem to attract around here.

What do you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945455)

If the information is mission critical, it is valuable. Pay for it.

Waahhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945481)

Do my job for me.

there's always Joda Time... (5, Informative)

tony.damato (13665) | about 10 months ago | (#43945483)

Some of our developers have switched to Joda Time classes as they're easier to use that those built into Java proper. They even give instructions on how to manually update the time zone tables. (We didn't develop the code, we're just happy customers): http://joda-time.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

Re:there's always Joda Time... (1)

cforciea (1926392) | about 10 months ago | (#43945733)

+1 for joda-time. They effectively solved the entire problem domain of date manipulation for all of the use cases that have come up for me.
Presumably, they are affected by this change, as well, but the good news is that I'm confident that they'll do something to handle it without my having to do anything besides tick up a dependency version.

Re:there's always Joda Time... (1)

caluml (551744) | about 10 months ago | (#43945741)

Joda Time is brilliant.
It's a pleasure to use, and obviously was created by people who thought long and hard about it, and had suffered with the problems of the standard Java date/time libraries.

If you still use Date or Calendar, then check out Joda Time.

Re:there's always Joda Time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945815)

Absolutely agree.

Nicely written, immutable objects, thread safe, INTELLIGENTLY thought out wrt timezones and time systems.

The only reason java.*.Date appears in our code is when the DB interface requires it - and you can bypass most of that in a lot of situations eg if you're using Hibernate. Poor old java.util.Calendar and Date look SO early '90s these days :-)

Re:there's always Joda Time... (5, Interesting)

codealot (140672) | about 10 months ago | (#43945909)

Yes. We switched 6 years ago and never looked back. The java.util.Calendar classes in Java are pretty horribly broken--usability aside, they get some key calculations wrong, like ISO week of year.

The best part is that Joda doesn't need or use the time zone database bundled into Java SE, so they aren't affected at all by Oracle's support policies.

What to do... (4, Insightful)

ansak (80421) | about 10 months ago | (#43945485)

So, who is surprised by Oracle's move here? Nobody with a eyes and a brain. Oracle just doesn't know what to do with a community.
Does this make Microsoft or C# look so great? No way! They started out less free than Oracle is now and haven't really changed.
Why do I develop in Java (I also know C, C++ [and the assembler code they generate], Python, SQL [MS and non-MS dialects] -- so why choose Java?)? Because I want to write programs for my slightly less shackled Android phone.
And the next plan of action is...?

There are a bunch of options... for starters, google the problem. Next, just wait: some bright spark will put out a tool that uses local time zone info (configurable) to update some Java installation's (configurable) idea of time zones automatically (or not, configurable).

It happened with MySQL, it'll happen with Java. "The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."

Douglas Adams' fictional book cover still has the right initial instruction: "Don't Panic!"

cheers...ank

The database is called "Olson", you find it here (4, Informative)

ansak (80421) | about 10 months ago | (#43945557)

I clearly hadn't read more than the first few lines of the help on Java TimeZone info or I could have found out that the answer was already there, without having to wait for it. As another poster pointed out IBM already provides free Java timezone updates. [ibm.com]

Let me google that for you [lmgtfy.com]! But more to the point, writing a tool that will grab those updates for yourself and storing it where you need it looks like a bash script or batch file candidate. Our brains are more than a match for Oracle's bean counters. Let's use them!

cheers...ank

I was about to suggest openjdk (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 10 months ago | (#43945489)

I was about to suggest openjdk, but there's no telling what jre your customers will use unless you bundle the jre in (and you make your program update the jre).

Re:I was about to suggest openjdk (1)

aled (228417) | about 10 months ago | (#43945615)

How this impacts openjdk? does it uses the same Olsen timezone data or has another tool for updating it?

Re:I was about to suggest openjdk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945693)

Most people don't want to use the craptastic open source Java when a perfectly good closed source one exists.

Why not update your JRE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945501)

If Oracle won't release free-beer TZ patches for older JRE/JDKs, then your only I-refuse-to-pay-Oracle option is to update your app to keep up with the latest JRE/JDK releases. Yep, that means refactoring Java 5/6 code to Java 7, but hey, at least you aren't paying Oracle for their software.

You can enforce this by requiring a minimum JRE revision:
String version = System.getProperty("java.version");

Re: Why not update your JRE? (1)

jmaline (26165) | about 10 months ago | (#43945757)

Correct. A key point most are missing here is that tzupdater tool's purpose is to update TZ data on an existing java runtime. Install latest java runtime and you don't need this tool.

And "refactor" of your code to latest java is typically a bit of testing effort. It's not like there are frequent compatibility breaks version to version...

Stop complaining... (1)

bogaboga (793279) | about 10 months ago | (#43945503)

Should the community not expect that core Java classes are fully functional and accurate?

That's capitalism at work. Now maybe Google can come to the rescue by re-implementing all Java APIs in Dalvik (Android), after which they (Google), can push for wider desktop/server Dalvik adoption.

Re:Stop complaining... (1)

julesh (229690) | about 10 months ago | (#43945705)

Should the community not expect that core Java classes are fully functional and accurate?

That's capitalism at work. Now maybe Google can come to the rescue by re-implementing all Java APIs in Dalvik (Android), after which they (Google), can push for wider desktop/server Dalvik adoption.

ROTFLMAO.

Even APIs that are supposed to work in Dalvik are frequently barely functional. SimpleDateFormat, for example, doesn't correctly parse many strings with textual timezone names (e.g. "BST"). Google would have a *very* long way to go in order to get it accepted as a replacement for desktop or server Java.

How about distributing timezone info through DNS? (1)

XNormal (8617) | about 10 months ago | (#43945505)

DNS is a great protocol for distributing a relatively small piece of infrequently changing information to a very large number of clients. It has a global infrastructure of caches, supports delegation of authority. Sounds like a good match.

Re:How about distributing timezone info through DN (1)

XNormal (8617) | about 10 months ago | (#43945513)

Not to mention great support for firewall traversal. It gets even into many places that HTTP does not.

Re:How about distributing timezone info through DN (1)

dougmc (70836) | about 10 months ago | (#43945715)

You aren't seriously suggesting that we replace timezone data with DNS lookups, are you?

TZ data does change often -- the summary itself says 4-6 times a year -- but not nearly often enough that doing it via DNS or anything similar makes sense. And not every application has 100% Internet access -- many have 0%, and even those that usually have access don't have it 100% of the time (but instead 99.999...%).

DNS doesn't have a provision for "well, I had data, but it's a few days out of date, and I can't seem to refresh it, so here's the old data" that I'm aware of. A small change could be made to enable that, where each JVM basically works as a slave of the TZ master zone, but really -- it's using a grenade to kill an ant.

In this specific case, the fix is likely to be for somebody to write a tool to import the TZ updates from the formats that it is available in (such as the ones used by *nix systems) into the one used by the Sun/BEA (now both Oracle) javas and insert it.

Re:How about distributing timezone info through DN (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945761)

DNS does -not- lend itself well to the format of the information required. The database isn't just the current timezone offset for a location, it's also a full history of all timezone offsets for that country including daylight savings. Multiple data points for each country of an unknown number.

Additionally the types of lookup required to find the offset for a specific point in time require indexed data to be searched in a particular manner mean you can't just do a DNS lookup and cache its result. The closest you could manage is a lookup for a location+timestamp and leave the DNS server to do the calculation, but on a second precision that means the cache won't be of any value and the network lookup time means it's useless for any application wanting to do any large number of timezone conversions (eg database server).

Therefore you need an indexed local database. Regardless of whether you get that by DNS or HTTP (or locally from the local copy of olson in zoneinfo) you need a tool to update that DB.

Starting up 10 years ago is no excuse for choosing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945515)

Java has been evil since last millenium. I haven't had it on any system since it made Windows 98 BSOD so much just from the Yahoo Messenger.

Morons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945537)

Java and Mission Critical do not go together.

They should do the world a favor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945541)

...and discontinue Java altogether.

Do you market to individuals or corporations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945543)

If the latter, you should consider a move away from Java entirely. Due to all of its security issues we're moving to products that either do not require Java on the client or we're pressuring our niche vendors to get away from it. When we talked to one of our primary vendors we learned they had already gotten so much heat that they had started a rewrite already. By the end of summer they will not be using Java any more.

We do operate corporate jets but not as our primary business. Trust me, they can afford any price increase you need to cover your overhead of a rewrite.

For us, a the value of the individual apps using Java has been outweighed by the enterprise-wide costs of patching Java and cleaning up infected PCs. But whatever you do, please don't re-write your applications in Flash. :-)

a little hard, and risky (1)

BigMike (122378) | about 10 months ago | (#43945547)

I wonder if this is related to the problem BBC found with providing a time-zone accurate data to global users.

http://news.slashdot.org/story/13/06/06/012207/bbc-clock-inaccurate---100-days-to-fix [slashdot.org]

There might be some risk associated with providing a time service accurate everywhere, when you can't possibly know how the users depend on it ...

Re:a little hard, and risky (1)

dougmc (70836) | about 10 months ago | (#43945781)

I wonder if this is related to the problem BBC found with providing a time-zone accurate data to global users.

http://news.slashdot.org/story/13/06/06/012207/bbc-clock-inaccurate---100-days-to-fix [slashdot.org]

It would not be related.

The TZ updates have been available up until now, and the BBC could just get a support contract if that was the problem.

There might be some risk associated with providing a time service accurate everywhere, when you can't possibly know how the users depend on it ...

Absolutely.

It does not "beg the question" (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945559)

Since you don't know what "beg the question" means, and aren't willing to find out, just stop using the phrase period.

2-stage work around (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945689)

stage 1:
replace the class against your own timezone class.

stage 2:
get rid of Java as you might run into the next mission critical situation soon. You will eventually, the question is just when.

There might be other Java implementations around which are really open so you might be able to just switch to that one. Wish you luck.

Java (2)

BeemerBoy (24030) | about 10 months ago | (#43945691)

Considering that Java appears to be a flimsy screen door in any company's firewall, I would think that most SANE organizations would've started moving off of that platform YEARS ago...

Re:Java (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945907)

You are extremely uninformed. 99.9% of the Java security issues are with the applets browser plugin. If you don't install it, problem solved. Being so well informed about security, you must have banned Windows from your server farm long ago and run on Solaris, BSD or Linux right?

Stop complain : here are ideas of solution ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945697)

First, update the JVM of your customer regularry so you will benefit from any olson TS update and your customer will benefit from security fix as well. I know IT guys do not like to push updates, but this is the reason hacker loves IT :)

Second, you could bring your own TZ model directly plug to the olson database format (so no "tool" required)

Last, you could even contribute this to OpenJDK or IcedTea so that Oracle can put their code to the trash :P

Rgs,
TM

Java lost me years ago (3, Interesting)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 10 months ago | (#43945819)

Java lost me many years ago for various reasons. But not using Java was more of a gut feeling as opposed to a well thought out plan. But now between the this craziness and the non stop drip drip of security flaws I have now moved into the camp that anyone using Java on a new project is just drinking the kool-aid. With Oracle at the helm you just know they have a spreadsheet with a time-table for monetizing Java harder and harder as time moves forward.

My guess is that Oracle has seen the writing on the wall that many business organizations are solidly Java and can afford any "minor" fees involved. What they are missing is that many university CS departments are dumping Java in favor of Python as Python is becoming the defacto language of academia. My prediction is that Java will ever so slowly fade as it is ensconced in the business world and isn't going anywhere there. But that the cool kids will see it as their grandfather's language and actively avoid it. I am not suggesting that Python will replace Java just that with CS students not giving a crap about Java they won't choose it for new projects.

One thing that has long annoyed me about Java progammers is this whole, "Let's wrap every damn thing in a object." Then you end up with an architecture that looks like the traveling salesman problem done by someone on LSD.

You (other commenters) are all wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945831)

The real question is:

Why on earth does JREs need their own timezone descriptions?

What modern OS does not have this information up-to-date via system updates?

Laugh (1)

koan (80826) | about 10 months ago | (#43945861)

"we almost certainly could not have chosen Java as our platform as we could not afford it."

So why are you still using it?

Not a problem for Open JDK (Linux at least) (1)

dfcamara (1268174) | about 10 months ago | (#43945879)

Maybe it's a problem for the people using Sun's Java. Open JDK in Linux use the package tzdata-java that is updated regularly and in sync with the tzdata package that keeps the system's time zone information.

Solution: Leave Java behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43945897)

The only solution you have is to begin moving away from Java.

The reality is that Java is no longer free (as in beer or speech) and so the sooner you start to leave it, the better.

Items like this will only just continue to get worse as time moves forward.

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