Solvedhomebrew cask What to do regarding java development casks

Refs #57374 (comment). Ping @Homebrew/cask.

I feel like the multitude of Java/JVM/JDK casks is too much. Even which software to call java is a contentious subject that pops up once in a while. Those casks need non-trivial amounts of spaghetti code (i.e. non-standard-cask-code), there are a bunch of them, all have slightly different reasons for existing, and more than once we’ve had to rethink how they’re organised. We’ve tried to make sense of them yet again recently, but the person doing most of the work in that regard has since left.

Our options, as I see them:

  1. Continue adding these as they’re submitted, increasing the mess, eventually having to remove a bunch of them because nobody can make heads or tails of it anymore, or just leave them hanging and broken, as has happened in the past.
  2. Have someone (preferably a core maintainer, but not mandatory) commit to understanding all of these different softwares, why they exist, decide which should be included or not, and keep them in good shape. This person will be made a code owner to deal with all of these. To improve the lottery factor, this person should also keep a document that keeps track of all these different casks, why they exist, and why they need the extra code to be made functional (particularly useful in cases where they differ, if any).
  3. Keep the java cask and move everything else to yet another tap.
  4. Keep the java cask and delete everything else. If everyone else needs them, let them make their own tap.

My takes on these suggestions: 1 looks like a recipe for failure and burnout. Both 3 and 4 might restore order, but I’d prefer if that decision would be made by someone with the knowledge described in 2. 4 will piss off more people, and 3 won’t really ease our burden, just shift it. I’ll definitely not be the person to tackle 2. I dislike java and the stress java casks have given HBC repos in the past and that would make impartiality in my handling of it difficult. However, I would likely help that person tightening the documentation.

Naturally, any other solutions are welcome, or even opinions if you think this isn’t an issue. Right now, I feel this is a problem, even if an unconscious one. Casks with spaghetti code tend to be left longer without being fixed, java being no exception.

18 Answers

✔️Accepted Answer

Edit 2: added link to AdoptOpenJDK migration guide; December 2020 deadline for Oracle JDK 8 availability; proposal for adding java as a homebrew-core formula.

Edit: added link to Java Champions article.

Don’t mind me – just collecting a few random factoids to help clear my mind on the subject.

  • As of April 2019, 185 formulas on homebrew-core depend on :java => something.

  • 40% of those are pinned to 1.8. The others have no upper version bound.

  • The Java 8 → 9 version bump caused significant migration effort when additional formulas had to be pinned which had no upper version bound before.

  • Losing @ilovezfs as a maintainer didn’t exactly help; see the 9 → 10 transition.

  • Other Java major version bumps, such as 11 → 12, caused much less work.

  • There should be at least one public, free, long-term supported Java on homebrew-cask at any given moment to satisfy the > 70 core formulas that depend on a pinned Java.

  • Java 1.8 is well past its shelf life; we can’t count on Oracle to provide a replacement.

  • After December 2020, Oracle JDK 8 may no longer be publicly available. Until then, we’re going to have to decide on what to do with the 70-ish formulas on homebrew-core which still depend on Java 8. Each of those formulas needs to be either assessed and migrated (e. g. to a current Oracle OpenJDK or to AdoptOpenJDK 8) or removed by the end of 2020. According to AdoptOpenJDK’s release roadmap, AdoptOpenJDK is committed to releasing public OpenJDK 8 builds until at least September 2023.

  • Organizing all Java casks into a separate tap has been considered but it was discovered that it really wouldn’t help much.

  • Thanks to @reitermarkus’s work, individual Java casks impose a lower maintenance tax than they used to. Looks like they scale much better now.

  • Being all too exclusionist can be controversial. I don’t fear conflict but ideally, I’d love for the Homebrew org to be on good terms with other key orgs, such as AdoptOpenJDK.

  • More and more apps tend to vendor their own Java. That won’t help with homebrew-core though, unless we can build that JDK from some OSI-compatible source.

  • My design principle for naming Java casks: Don’t memorize stuff, and don’t design anything that requires others to memorize stuff.

  • One early attempt of mine to document and categorize Java casks: #54074 (comment) (don’t try this at home.)

  • I’d love to become the person to tend to our Java cask garden. (That would be option 2 on the @vitorgalvao scale). But I feel that’s only going to work if I document and automate most of that work in the long run.

  • The folks at Java Champions have compiled an overview on Oracle’s recent Java shenanigans.

  • AdoptOpenJDK has an article on Oracle JDK → AdoptOpenJDK migration and compatibility.

  • Have we ever considered creating java@8, java@11, and java formulas/bottles on homebrew-core? The OpenJDK sources are public, and AdoptOpenJDK has a well-documented build system. That would require clarification whether OpenJDK’s license, which seems to be slightly more permissive than pure GPL 2.0, is deemed GPL 2.0-compatible (which would make it OSI-approved and fit for use on homebrew-core).

Other Answers:

This issue has already cropped up in #53976.

I've so far removed myself from this sort of discussion, but I feel this is the time to speak up.

  1. Keep the java cask and delete everything else. If everyone else needs them, let them make their own tap.
    4 will piss off more people,

This is not a matter of how many people will be pissed by our decision (or not), it's a matter of how much will the assigned person last before burning out. When I installed Homebrew (and Cask), I did it because of manageability, and this should also apply to the maintainers.

My vote goes with 4: maintain only official and supported versions of Java. Let's be clear that everyone else should host their own taps.

I’d love to become the person to tend to our Java cask garden. (That would be option 2 on the @vitorgalvao scale). But I feel that’s only going to work if I document and automate most of that work in the long run.

Beautiful. Option 2 already predicted such a documentation effort, so that you also see it as pivotal is a good sign it’s an idea with legs.

From my side, I give you carte blanche to proceed however you find best. I reinforce my commitment from the top post of helping you tighten the spots you need.

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