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Rod Johnson: A complex view on OSGi

Some controversies hang on forever. One such is the controversy around simplifying Java, which certainly goes back to the EJB 2.0 days –- and which is sometimes at the base of OSGi arguments today. There are plenty that feel OSGi is just too darn hard –- and it does appear at times that ISVs, who theoretically are well-supplied with the best and brightest programmers, are the ones most likely to carry OSGi forward. They would do this, one would suggest, by embedding OSGI, creating abstractions, providing sand boxes, and thus shielding ordinary mortal developers from OSGi’s true complexity.

SpringSource’s Rod Johnson, whose Spring Framework rose to prominence as a kinder and gentler way to do Java ventured into this battle earlier this year when he admitted to OSGi’s complexity. As SpringSource’s OSGi dm Server is one of the poster children for OSGi success to this point, Johnson found he had to do some clarifying. The server is now part of the Eclipse Foundation portfolio. Here, per is Rod Johnson’s take on OSGi:

(a) OSGi is a great solution for complex applications with stringent modularity requirements;

(b) typical business applications (from which we make the bulk of our revenue) don’t have such requirements;

(c) our efforts to reduce the complexity of writing server-side OSGi applications were promising, but the road to simplification was longer and less certain than we’d hoped. Thus continuing down that road at the Eclipse Foundation, in partnership with other companies and individuals, was a natural move.

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