java-package 0.27 released; IBM Java2 5.0 support added

Version 0.27 of java-package has hit the unstable archive today. Thanks to the encouraging (or maybe urging) ;-) of my colleagues in the Debian Java™ Packaging Project who still primarily run on PowerPC, support for the IBM Java2 5.0 JREs and SDKs (currently in beta) has been added with this release. Hopefully that provides some relief for PowerPC and s390 users who have been languishing in Java™ 1.4.2 land until now.

Even if your JRE or JDK version was supported by a previous version, I encourage you to repackage it with this latest java-package. A massive revision to the alternatives installations has been carried out, and users should find that all of the expected executables in a JRE or JDK bin directory now have alternatives entries installed. The exceptions would be kinit, klist, and ktab. Our handling of system preferences for Java is still being and hammered out; quite an unwieldy thing what with the alternatives and all that.

Defraying technical debt in java-package

I had so many plans for this weekend, but the first of them ate the entire two days. In working on the next release of java-package, I came across some serious issues with alternatives creation that had crept in under my watch when I first became involved with the package. It was one of those times where accepting a huge patch with tons of files introduced an error that I missed; that’s part of the trouble with some patches you receive; they are submitted with someone only thinking of a very specific problem for the moment, with no thought for the package-wide implications and any technical debt the suggested resolution may incur. There was nothing for it but to slog through the install and remove scripts for all 8 JREs and all 8 JDKs looking for the bug’s presence.

Sixteen hours later I had corrected the issues and tested the install of all the JREs and JDKs on i386. I had a professor once who asked what was necessary to earn a PhD. After some of the more pompous asses in my class had spouted out their opinions, the professor stated, “a hard butt.” He said it wasn’t about being brilliant so much as it was about being persistent. The friends I have met since then who have shared their PhD stories have confirmed my professor’s allegation. I think Free/Open Source Software development is like that; what does it take to participate? A hard butt. On that note, my sore butt is getting out of this chair.

Oh yeah, kudos to Mr. Burrows on aptitude 0.4.0; I love the changes. Control-T alone was worth the wait.