Sun exec slams Google over App Engine's Java support

Simon Phipps calls support for only a subset of Java classes 'wanton and irresponsible'

Google Inc. committed a major transgression by only including support for a subset of Java classes in its cloud-based App Engine development platform, according to Simon Phipps, Sun Microsystems Inc.'s chief open-source officer.

"Whether you agree with Sun policing it or not, Java compatibility has served us all very well for over a decade," Phipps wrote in a blog post on Saturday. "That includes being sure as a developer that all core classes are present on all platforms. Creating subsets of the core classes in the Java platform was forbidden for a really good reason, and it's wanton and irresponsible to casually flaunt the rules."

Phipps also criticized Google in a separate Twitter post last Friday, saying there that the company's decision to support only a subset of the Java classes in App Engine "laughs in the face of a decade of compatibility."

It's unclear whether Sun will attempt to apply any pressure to Google, which announced last Tuesday that it was adding initial support for Java to the App Engine service.

Phipps characterized his blog and Twitter comments as non-official. "This isn't something I could comment on on Sun's behalf," he said via e-mail today. "My personal comments come purely from my long association with Java topics."

Other Sun officials couldn't immediately be reached today.

Google has posted a list of the Java classes that applications developed with App Engine can access. However, the company might be planning to add more classes to the list: it described the current offering as "an early look at Java language support" in a blog post that invited up to 10,000 developers to begin using the Java capabilities.

Google also has created a Web page headlined "Will It Play in App Engine" that lists Java-based tools and frameworks that are compatible with the cloud-based service.

Asked for comment, a Google spokeswoman said in a statement: "We provide a Java 6 runtime environment in a secure sandbox. We committed to having as many standard Java tools and frameworks work with App Engine as possible, and hope to improve the product through the feedback of developers during our Early Look."

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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