The (dark) future of Java on desktop

Vincent Privat vincent.privat at
Mon Apr 16 18:36:44 UTC 2018

I got in contact with Jiri Vanek. He might be our saviour.
As some of you may know, he's the one behind IcedTea-Web (ITW: the free &
open-source implementation of Java WebStart in the IcedTea project):

The project is still actively developed (the 1.8 version is in progress).

Last year, Jiri added support for Windows, which I validated with the
RedHat build.
Jiri's also part of the AdoptOpenJdk initiative which aimes to provide a
build farm of OpenJDK with certified binaries on all platforms:

If I understood correctly, these builds are going to provide JavaFX and ITW
once the version 1.8 is finished!

So we have to test ITW on Windows and macOS to make sure it works with Java
10 and early builds of Java 11. Then we'll have to check if it still works
once Oracle completely removes Java WebStart (I don't know the impacts it
could have on ITW).

I'm currently trying to build & test ITW on Windows.


2018-04-11 20:41 GMT+02:00 Vincent Privat <vincent.privat at>:

> One month already and I still don't know what to do regarding WebStart.
> I found out this:
> Red Hat is providing an implementation of OpenJDK 8 on Windows containing:
> - OpenJDK
> - OpenJFX
> - WebStart based on IcedTea-Web
> - An auto-update feature (a small simple script registered to Windows Task
> Scheduler)
> The good news:
> - This is exactly what we would need for JDK 11.
> - I tested it and it works perfectly. We have nothing to change in JOSM to
> make it work with this runtime.
> The bad news:
> - It is only available to Java developers. A (free) RedHat account is
> required, and it is forbidden to redistribute it.
> - there is a version of Java 9 but it does only contain OpenJDK (thus it
> is useless)
> - there is no macOS runtime
> Does someone on this list has a professionnal RedHat account, or know
> someone there? I'd like to know if we can hope to see RedHat releasing
> OpenJDK 11 it as a public runtime, free or charge and not requiring a user
> account, which would contain the same components as their OpenJDK 8
> version. This way we would only have to tell people to uninstall their
> Oracle runtime and install the Red Hat runtime instead.
> 2018-03-10 18:05 GMT+01:00 Vincent Privat <vincent.privat at>:
>> If we were to abandon AWT/Swing, migrating to SWT might be another
>> option. I don't think it would be easy, but at least it's actively
>> maintained:
>> 2018-03-09 10:40 GMT+01:00 Dirk Stöcker <openstreetmap at>:
>>> On Thu, 8 Mar 2018, Richard wrote:
>>> On Thu, Mar 08, 2018 at 08:36:21AM +0100, Frederik Ramm wrote:
>>>> You could sit down today and re-implement everything in, say, C++, and
>>>>> it would be relatively straightforward, and while the result would not
>>>>> share any of JOSM's codebase, it would still encapsulate all the
>>>>> experience and brainpower that has flown into JOSM development over the
>>>>> years.
>>>> true in principle but you would need a protable GUI that doesn't suck or
>>>> you end up programming for at least 3 platforms with 3 sets of bugs,
>>>> 3 sets of dependencies etc.
>>> Reimplementing an existing software like JOSM which has an estimated
>>> cost of more than hundred development years (
>>> in another language in an non-profit OS
>>> application is doomed to fail in my eyes. The motivation for a programmer
>>> to take an existing software and reimplement everything again is low. For a
>>> very long time you will not have something which is usable and inbetween
>>> you have tasks to do, but no positive feedback. That may work when the
>>> people are paid for it, but not when programmers need to be motivated. I'd
>>> consider people beeing motived by such a task very strange. :-)
>>> Rather than that if JOSM really dies some of the better ideas of it will
>>> be taken and implemented in existing or new software (which BTW is already
>>> happening, e.g. osmosis taking the Validator MapCSS or many other things).
>>> If there is a way to automatically convert the code and start with a
>>> working base, then the situation is different...
>>> But I also don't think this is necessary (ATM).
>>> Ciao
>>> --
>>> (PGP key available)

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