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  Open sourcing Java and its effect in games  (Read 12539 times)
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Offline moonpxi

Senior Newbie




Java games rock indeed!!!


« Posted 2004-06-04 15:11:00 »

There is an article at ZDNet (http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/software/0,2000061733,39149502,00.htm) about Sun announcing that it will open source Java.

I wonder, how this will affect the java game development, if at all?? Will we be able to ship smaller VMs??

Moon Pxi, a NerdCorper
Offline cfmdobbie

Senior Member




Who, me?


« Reply #1 - Posted 2004-06-04 15:35:05 »

This has the potential to change many things, but as there will be no visible changes for I'd guess at least a year, it's not worth worrying too much about them! Wink

An interesting about-turn though.  I wonder if the news sites have jumped the gun (again) and it'll turn out to be either misreported or Raghavan Srinivas' personal opinion, and will thus be retracted by Sun?

Hellomynameis Charlie Dobbie.
Offline shawnkendall

Senior Member





« Reply #2 - Posted 2004-06-04 15:53:20 »

Shocked Shocked Shocked
From the article
" Speaking exclusively to Builder AU, Sun's Java technology evangelist Raghavan Srinivas said an open source version of Java "will happen," but declined to elaborate on timelines or specifics of licence arrangements."

Doesn't exactly sound like an actual announcement...

Shawn Kendall
Cosmic Interactive, LLC
http://www.facebook.com/BermudaDash
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
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Offline moonpxi

Senior Newbie




Java games rock indeed!!!


« Reply #3 - Posted 2004-06-04 17:17:43 »

Oh well...I guess I might have jumped the gun, then....

Anyway, I am interested as how games would be affected if such thing becomes a possibility.

Moon Pxi, a NerdCorper
Offline Jens

Senior Member




Java for games!


« Reply #4 - Posted 2004-06-04 18:03:34 »

Quote
"We haven't worked out how to open-source Java -- but at some point it will happen," Srinivas said. However, he noted "it might be today, tomorrow or two years down the road".


It's nice to see, that Sun is still thinking about open-sourcing Java, but as long as there isn't a clear statement I still have my doubts.

The free Java implementations are making good progress (classpath 0.9 with >60% JDK 1.4 compatibility released last month). If Sun really wants to avoid different versions of Java (their number-1-argument against Open Source) they should do the step soon.

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Offline zparticle

Senior Member




Thick As A Brick


« Reply #5 - Posted 2004-06-04 20:49:05 »

Personally I think this is a bad idea, however I may be mis-interpretting what it would mean to Open Source Java. We as developers have enough problems, I don't want to worry about some half-assed implementation showing up in my day-to-day tool set.

Offline moonpxi

Senior Newbie




Java games rock indeed!!!


« Reply #6 - Posted 2004-06-05 00:53:51 »

Well...my 2 cents in this Open Source ideia is that it could go either way, bad or good.

I agree with ZParticle that the Open Source movement might generate the so called "half-assed implementation". However, if, through open sourcing, it become possible to customize, or create, Java VMs game optimized (both in speed and size), I would say "go for it!!".

The VM size is, I believe, one of the major setbacks for the success of Java games, specially for web games, small games and freelance games.

Moon Pxi, a NerdCorper
Offline JasonB

Junior Member





« Reply #7 - Posted 2004-06-05 00:55:39 »

Quote
We as developers have enough problems, I don't want to worry about some half-assed implementation showing up in my day-to-day tool set.

I think you're worrying unnecessarily.  There are a number of ways Java could be open sourced and yet preserve compatibility.  Open source the software but control the brand and TCK.  If the GPL community want to call their implementation -Java- then it would have to be tested against the TCK, and so on.

Those worried about forks are also worrying unnecessarily IMHO.  A fork may be an issue with a smaller userbase and a lesser known brand, but consider the size of the Java market, and the fact that a fork wouldn't be able to call itself Java anyway.

Just my 2 pacific pesos of course.


Offline DanK

Junior Member




Javver games rock yawel!


« Reply #8 - Posted 2004-06-05 06:58:29 »

I'm in the boat with the people who get scared at the idea of java going open source, I actually tried to build applets back in the day that could run in 1.0.2 applet viewer, in ie's jview, and netscapes JVM (whatever it was, I think it was still mostly the sun implementation but who knows what verson of sun's jre they started with and mostly they just seemed to add weird behavior to it anyway...). Each one worked pretty much the same, with only minor differences... but man those differences were a pain to deal with... I like the idea of there being people outside of sun being able to submit patches to sun with a dedicated team at sun keeping control of the actual distribution, but I believe that's already possible right now, something like this would in theory provide more optimized bug free code. I definitely hate the idea of having to pick and choose what JRE to use like we do with IDE's, if download size of the JRE is an issue now, dealing with 5 different JRE's (possibly with their own little unofficial extensions even) would make for even more of a download, since javasoft office might like the sun JRE and javaperfect, the other office software, might run best (or only) on Billy Bob's J ARE EEE.

I do have confidence after all the trouble with MS that sun will be very careful about the way java is open sourced, and that at the very least, tight restrictions on being able to call something java 1.5 would require meeting some pretty strict requirements on API compatability. I do wonder how sun would deal with the idea of extensions, probably by simply not allowing them (not sure that extensions would catch on anyway).

I'm having a hard time imagining a reason for any company to build a JVM, even for commercial sale, really I suspect that the limitations sun would pretty much have to impose to protect java, that the only benifit to open sourcing the core of java, is allowing companies to provide their own bug fixes vital to their own operation immediately instead of having to wait on a new release from sun, for a lot of businesses that use or would like to use java that alone would probably make it worth while and assuming most of these patches that get done get submitted to sun, might even speed up the process of sun releasing new JVM's and even better, maybe even getting some new ports of the JVM to consoles (well, I assume if someone expressed an interest in porting java to a console, sun would probably jump through at least one hoop for them, maybe not a burning hoop like the tigers in the circus, but a hoop... so long as it wasn't more than a foot off the ground and was addequately wide and tall that bumping your head isn't a big issue... and by jump I mean more like step through the hoop).

In the end I hope I don't regret whatever decision sun makes, I've got a lot of time into java, and I'm hoping that won't be changing any time soon.

Offline Bombadil

Senior Member





« Reply #9 - Posted 2004-06-05 08:56:20 »

If you take a look at StarOffice (SUN's) and OpenOffice (OpenSource) and take into account that both use the same open code base, I think there's no need to worry about potential plans to make Java OpenSource. On the contrary. I don't think SUN will give away Java, but use the good synergy effects of working together with a large and enthusiastic OpenSource community. The latter one will help SUN, and SUN will help them, so it is good for us all: us Java fans.

I have the dream that even our children are going to be able to use Java in the future. :-)
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline cfmdobbie

Senior Member




Who, me?


« Reply #10 - Posted 2004-06-05 11:02:31 »

Quote
I have the dream that even our children are going to be able to use Java in the future. :-)


Pfft.  Assuming you're talking more than 10 years off, Java as a language will be long gone before then, and we'll all be using something more powerful, more developer-friendly, and much more appropriate to the tasks of the day.  I think the best you could hope for is that VM technology is still in there somewhere, and that Sun are still a big player in the language world. ;D

Hellomynameis Charlie Dobbie.
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #11 - Posted 2004-06-05 12:37:11 »

Quote
If you take a look at StarOffice (SUN's) and OpenOffice (OpenSource) and take into account that both use the same open code base, I think there's no need to worry about potential plans to make Java OpenSource.


That is quite quite different.

OO is a tiny little application that doesn't do much. (Think about it: how much is there for a Word Processor to do? They don't even have half the features of an IDE, and the same goes (to a lesser extent) for the other apps - ignoring all the half-arsed crap that MS put out to try and trick people into upgrading. Also, note that although some elements like Draw could be very complex, they aren't by a million miles. If you've used Ventura etc you'll know what I mean).

OTOH, Java is:
- a complete systems programming language used all over the world by hundreds of thousands of PROGRAMMERS to build apps - of which OO is just one. OO probably represents less than a thousandth of a single percent of the apps that java would cover (if OO were written fully in java instead of just partially).
- a runtime platform that is sufficiently close to being a runtime OS virtualizer that most other programming languages have converted to using this runtime to reduce their implementation efforts and boost their perfromance and reliability
- a large variety of libraries and "extensions" that even under Sun's authoritarian guidance have already bloated and sagged and started to go a bit mouldy round the edges (look at swing: Still a crap API in many areas, despite it's brilliance in others).

If you take a realistic view: taking into account historical precedent in the IT industry, and a practical view: how incredibly huge java is and how incredibly hard it is to keep that world compatible, then I'm not sure how you could realistically argue that open-sourcing java is a good thing. At best there might be no net loss to the majority of us, and a net gain to those people for whom politics is part of their programming.

For all the arguments I've heard from those in favour of opensourcing java - which on the whole I agree are valid - not one has seriously addressed any big issues. People throw out lots of "little benefits" but seem unaware of the massive great Godzilla-sized problems that will step on the benefits and squish them before they do any good.

FWVLIW, tongue-in-cheek, my guess is that sun will open-source java / fully-support GPL java on precisely the day they decide they can't afford to run java themselves any more and reckon that someone else needs it sufficiently much (e.g. a certain large cyan-tinted company) that they will step into the breach and Sun can carry on making money on services etc off the back of java without the cost of actually owning and looking after it.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline donohoedigital

Senior Newbie




built by gamers for gamers


« Reply #12 - Posted 2004-06-05 15:50:23 »

Seems to me it works for linux which is arguably more complex than a jvm.
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #13 - Posted 2004-06-05 16:09:16 »

LOL now *that's* a contentious statement.

Whilst trying not to make too many assumptions, I would hazard that you haven't had much pain with linux? Most commentary from those that have used linux either "in anger" or in non-trivial production seems to be full of frustration, despair, anger, pain, and ever-defeated-hope. A large amount of which is caused by the insufficiently controlled and non-quality-assured "forking" due to opensource. I still haven't found a vendor - anywhere - who is selling a linux distro that actually works.

Even debian (now I have some significant experience with it) is screwed up in many ways, and has such frustrating stupidity as no JVM simply because of people who don't know how to read a legal document Sad. Not that they are trivial to read, but they aren't *that* hard, and the one in question is pretty short - AND THEY COULD HAVE ASKED SUN (which is what I did when I had almost the same questions...and I got the answers I needed. Go and buy Game Programming Gems 4 for proof Wink).

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline oNyx

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


pixels! :x


« Reply #14 - Posted 2004-06-05 16:57:52 »

Well, look at (X)HTML. Is there any browser wich is 100% accurate? No. Not really. Alot of tiny differences... but they don't make or break everything (at least not always). But with Java... well no, I just "don't like" the idea to check compatibility with 5+ different vms on each platform.

If it get's OS I could aswell switch to C/C++ were one programm usually doesn't compile with another compiler. I need that about as much as cancer in my arse.

The way it is right now was actually my reason to pick up Java.

弾幕 ☆ @mahonnaiseblog
Offline Bombadil

Senior Member





« Reply #15 - Posted 2004-06-05 17:37:20 »

Quote
Most commentary from those that have used (A) either "in anger" or in non-trivial production seems to be full of frustration, despair, anger, pain, and ever-defeated-hope. A large amount of which is caused by the insufficiently controlled and non-quality-assured "forking" due to (B). I still haven't found a vendor - anywhere - who is selling a (A) that actually works.

If you replace A and B with other words you'll find that it's valid for most OS'es which are available - Windows springs to mind - but I couldn't say my "angers" with silly boxes like AIX or HP Unix boxes or Amigas years ago have been any better... Also the number of manyears gone into an OS has to be taken into account etc etc.

Probably it's mankind which is just incapable of producing anything without errors...? We're just not living in a perfect world I'm afraid. :-)
Offline oNyx

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


pixels! :x


« Reply #16 - Posted 2004-06-05 17:52:49 »

>Probably it's mankind which is just incapable of producing
>anything without errors...? We're just not living in a perfect
>world I'm afraid.

Sure. But it's easier to take just one set of bugs into consideration instead of x bug sets.

弾幕 ☆ @mahonnaiseblog
Offline JasonB

Junior Member





« Reply #17 - Posted 2004-06-06 00:02:37 »

Quote

For all the arguments I've heard from those in favour of opensourcing java - which on the whole I agree are valid - not one has seriously addressed any big issues. People throw out lots of "little benefits" but seem unaware of the massive great Godzilla-sized problems that will step on the benefits and squish them before they do any good.

What "Godzilla-sized problems"?  Forking seems to be the one that is bandied about most often.  I still believe forking is less likely when you consider the huge developer base -- and could potentially be controlled by not 'opening up' the brand and TCK.  I also think any of these 'big' issues could be satisfactorily resolved by the JCP.

As to whether any of the problems are actually 'Godzilla-sized', that is very much a matter of perspective.  From my point of view some of the benefits are considerably more than 'little'.
Offline Middy

Junior Member




Java games rock!


« Reply #18 - Posted 2004-06-06 21:38:09 »

well if java is open sources we might be able to have smaller VM.

But that gain will be lost with the fact that we have to ship the VM with every application to make sure that all users can run it.

But then again I prefeer my VM as a black box not wanting to worry that I have to debug that as well. Just like me operating system (yes its not linux).

As an application programmer i want to focus on the application NOT 2000 other things. Thats why I love java as a language.

When do I get my makeMyGameAsILike() extension?
Offline Jens

Senior Member




Java for games!


« Reply #19 - Posted 2004-06-07 16:15:43 »

Quote
OO is a tiny little application that doesn't do much.


You're not serious, are you?

Quote
For all the arguments I've heard from those in favour of opensourcing java - which on the whole I agree are valid - not one has seriously addressed any big issues. People throw out lots of "little benefits" but seem unaware of the massive great Godzilla-sized problems that will step on the benefits and squish them before they do any good.


That's so abstract, that one can only guess what you are talking about. (What are the little benefits? What are the Godzilla problems?)


Xith3D Getting Started Guide (PDF,HTML,Source)
Offline Jens

Senior Member




Java for games!


« Reply #20 - Posted 2004-06-07 16:21:25 »

Quote
Even debian (now I have some significant experience with it) is screwed up in many ways, and has such frustrating stupidity as no JVM simply because of people who don't know how to read a legal document Sad. Not that they are trivial to read, but they aren't *that* hard, and the one in question is pretty short - AND THEY COULD HAVE ASKED SUN (which is what I did when I had almost the same questions...and I got the answers I needed. Go and buy Game Programming Gems 4 for proof Wink).


Again, I don't know what you're talking about, but I'm glad you can teach these stupid people how to read a legal document. Debian is the distribution, for which legal problem are a top priority. It's almost unbelievable how stupid these guys are.

(As an unimportant side note I have to add that Debian actually includes some JVMs.)


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Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #21 - Posted 2004-06-07 17:19:57 »

Quote

You're not serious, are you?


When comparing a single application from a domain that is now more than 30 years old and has suffered no significant innovations in the last 10 years ... to a systems programming language, then yes - I am entirely serious.
[/quote]

re: Debian, they have misunderstood some fairly simple language in a small part of a license doc which - as I pointed out - they could have asked Sun for an explanation and then quickly and easily confirmed this for themselves with one single trip to the library (to check the legal meanings and be sure Sun wasn't lying to them - although even if Sun lied, that in itself would be some protection, assuming they retained the email). Most mainstream legal documents can be understood by anyone - the great secret is that lawyers work their butts off trying to make sure no-one realises this. It just takes personal effort akin to doing personal accounts at year-end - it's boring and gives you a headache, but it's not that hard.

Or...maybe they didn't. The Debian/Java FAQ says they did, but their documentation is so bad (read: nonexistent in most cases) that they could well know the truth by now but just not have got around to telling anyone.

There are other JVM's but on the whole they tend to be crap (they were last time I looked, which wasn't that long ago - of course, things could have changed a lot in a short time and I may already be wrong). Anything coming from GNU. Blackdown has historically been the best in my own experience, and offered some good performance, but also never been as good as Sun's JVM (which, in some areas, isn't saying much). Look at the GPL stuff and the status quo is far worse - find me a GPL JVM that does 1.4, PLEASE. 1.4 has now been available (gold or beta) for well over 3 years, and we're already seeing "1.5 required" java apps - what hope is there for an OS that only comes with 1.2 (and 1.3 if you're lucky) JVM's? It's a curse to all us java developers, truly - I really don't have the time to be wasted by "blah blah your game doesn't work" only to discover the moron is living in the last century e.g. running Kaffe (currently @ 1.1.4 !!!).

I say "moron" because that's what you're going to think of them after they've wasted your time when you finally realise what JVM they're running (it's like complaining to the author that a game won't run on your computer and eventually confessing you're running a 33Mhz 486). Of course, it's (probably) not the user's fault: it's the fault of the people who installed a waste-of-time JVM for them as part of the OS install and gave the user the impression that it was at least reasonably up-to-date.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline Jens

Senior Member




Java for games!


« Reply #22 - Posted 2004-06-07 17:42:26 »

Quote
When comparing a single application from a domain that is now more than 30 years old and has suffered no significant innovations in the last 10 years ... to a systems programming language, then yes - I am entirely serious.


Open Office is one of the largest Open Source projects and not a "tiny little application". Period.

Quote
Look at the GPL stuff and the status quo is far worse - find me a GPL JVM that does 1.4, PLEASE.


Such a JVM doesn't exist yet. The latest classpath has reached 60% compatibility with JDK 1.4. For some purposes this can be sufficient, but it's still a very long way.

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Offline JasonB

Junior Member





« Reply #23 - Posted 2004-06-08 00:28:48 »

Quote

Open Office is one of the largest Open Source projects and not a "tiny little application". Period.

I can see blahblah's point.  Comparing a desktop application like OO.o with a programming language/platform you would tend to assume that from a complexity point of view, the language would win hands down.  But I think he's also underrating the accomplishments of the OO.o team somewhat (I quote):

Quote

When comparing a single application from a domain that is now more than 30 years old and has suffered no significant innovations in the last 10 years ... to a systems programming language

The fact that office apps have undergone no significant innovation in a decade does not necessarily reduce or limit the complexity of a development project to create a new office suite.  Yes it does provide you with a working spec or prototype, but I'm sure you must be aware blahblah -- if I can call you by your first name...  ;D -- this doesn't automatically mean the development is going to be any more straightforward or make the project any the less complex.

I think a comparison between the complexity 'rating' of OO.o and Java could only be made by someone who was reasonably intimate with both codebases, with an LOC comparison only a minimal part of the final result.  Actually, I'd be quite interested in seeing such a comparison (because my gut feeling also tells me that Java is the more complicated of the two)... but I think we're going a bit off topic.

One question, I note you've avoided answering blahblah is the godzilla-sized problems you've mentioned....?
Offline JasonB

Junior Member





« Reply #24 - Posted 2004-06-08 00:47:43 »

Quote

If you take a realistic view: taking into account historical precedent in the IT industry, and a practical view: how incredibly huge java is and how incredibly hard it is to keep that world compatible, then I'm not sure how you could realistically argue that open-sourcing java is a good thing. At best there might be no net loss to the majority of us, and a net gain to those people for whom politics is part of their programming.

Another thought on this.  (I'm not picking on you, by the way blahblah, it's just you're raising the points I'm interested in addressing).

I could see your point if we were talking about starting Java from scratch as a completely new open source project X many years ago before there even was a Java (how many are we up to now?  10?).
But taking an existing system and open sourcing it, while having it's own difficulties, needn't be the nightmare you ascribe to it.
Assuming the JCP stays in charge, assuming the TCK for each package is under the control of the JCP and nothing makes it into a new iteration without going through the JCP first, I fail to see the problem.  Java can be split up into its major packages, the lead development of which would foreseeable be under the control of different companies (core j2se under Sun, J2EE under IBM, xml stuff under Apache maybe, and so on).  Since each team has a smaller codebase that they're in charge of, controlling submissions isn't as bigger a deal as it might be if there was one team in charge of the whole damn kit and kaboodle.  Nothing goes into a new version of Java without being compatibility tested by a team under the remit of the JCP.
(And yes I know I'm simplifying a lot ;D ).

I can see a couple of those 'little benefits' you talk about right off.  Sun gets to share the costs of development.  For those of us who are lucky enough not to worry about compatibility issues, we get to download a 'nightly' for the latest and greatest bug fixes and enhancements and can compile our own version of the JVM/SDK (I'd be happy to do this cause I do it already with my OS... gentoo).
Games devs can hack their own version of the VM, Cas can add his structs if he wants and even submit it as a patch project to be used by those who want the facility and want to compile their own VM.

That's just off the top of my head.
Offline swpalmer

JGO Coder




Where's the Kaboom?


« Reply #25 - Posted 2004-06-08 02:31:49 »

Quote

Assuming the JCP stays in charge, assuming the TCK for each package is under the control of the JCP and nothing makes it into a new iteration without going through the JCP first, I fail to see the problem.


You would also fail to add anything that we don't already have.

Offline Bombadil

Senior Member





« Reply #26 - Posted 2004-06-08 06:32:08 »

Quote
Also the number of manyears
(italics by me now)
Ah, I suppose in English you've to write two words for that? (In my mother language it's one word). So it should read "man years", not "many ears".
I guess you've understand it anyway.
Many ears, that's funny. Somehow at least.
Offline JasonB

Junior Member





« Reply #27 - Posted 2004-06-08 06:53:06 »

Quote


You would also fail to add anything that we don't already have.

Well at the moment it's rather difficult for me to download a nightly build, or do a CVS update, of Java and compile it on my own machine (or even a major version for that matter)... unless I've missed something.

Is core java (just for example) contributed to by anyone other than Sun developers?  Last I heard that was a no, but probably I'm wrong (or going senile).  Basically I'm talking about a shift from development predominately by a single company, to lead development by a single company, but contribution by other companies and the community.  I realise external contribution is possible at the moment, but I don't believe it's straightforward, nor is it the norm, other than in extensions.
Offline Mark Thornton

Senior Member





« Reply #28 - Posted 2004-06-08 08:37:41 »

Quote

Assuming the JCP stays in charge, assuming the TCK for each package is under the control of the JCP and nothing makes it into a new iteration without going through the JCP first, I fail to see the problem.

With those restrictions, would it still qualify as "Open Source"?
Offline TheBohemian

Junior Member




Java will rule them all!


« Reply #29 - Posted 2004-06-08 09:13:31 »

Please could anyone enlighten me what is so bad about making a opensource/free JVM/JRE implementation? I do not care the language itself to be free and I think that having such a JVM is what most people want.

The argument of forking can often heard, although stuff like the generics compiler (pizza?), AspectJ and a whole bunch of precompilers exist.
What is the problem with everyone doing his specialized version of Java? Does anycone care if I download kaffe change some opcodes and compile a few classes with that? Probably not - and that is what you 'feared of forking' people *should* do.

Proprietary JVM implementations can peacefully co-exist with free/opensource ones. *I* really like the idea of a free implementation but: If it claims to be compatible, fast and <insert your favorite adjective here> and it fails to do so there is no problem for me to use Sun's implementation or IBM's.

Maybe it is Sun's fear that a free JVM implementation is becoming more attractive than theirs which would finally lower their reputation as the Java-creators. Has anyone of you tried to have multiple JVMs installed? Can you switch easily between them? Is it possible to install Java3D/<enter your favorite Java library here> without hassles? Do you need administrative access to do so?
These a some points current Sun JVMs fail to do right ...

And now my favorite topic: Java wants to be platform independent. Which is obviously only true for the well-known 3 major OSes and their 1-2 major architectures.
You could be argueing that there is no market for such a small group of user! Fine I say. Lets have an open-source JVM and people will fix the issue on their own - if they want so.

---

Some final thoughts: It may be true that kaffe sucks because it is supporting Java 1.1.4 only BUT I would never dare to affront people who sacrifice their lifetime to do a favor to their fellow men!

cya

TheBohemian

---------------------------------------
my favorite OS: http://jnode.sf.net
Java 1.5 -> 1.4 converter: http://retroweaver.sf.net
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2014-04-03 15:48:37

Good Examples
by matheus23
2014-04-01 18:40:51

Good Examples
by matheus23
2014-04-01 18:40:34

Anonymous/Local/Inner class gotchas
by Roquen
2014-03-11 15:22:30
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