I think you have a rather wrong impression what OSGi was.
It started in 1999 by large companies and there was lots of money with 81 members paying $20k each. However, the 2001 dot com crisis decimated the alliance; the industry change to open source crippled any of the remaining business cases. I.e. we were created by big business but got caught into the open source maelstream. Leaving us in limbo. If it had not been for some people inside IBM, we’d have died around 2005. And these people had a lot of internal resistance. At the same time, During all this time, Sun worked hard to get rid of us.
Around 2014 the I tried, by being paid by the OSGi, to make OSGi attractive to open source but this never worked out due to many reasons but mostly because I failed to get people engaged. On the inside some people did not like the direction and on the outside people had the impression it was too hard. People want a simple quick fix, not a solid foundation that requires effort.
Comparing it to a library of a language that resembles most other languages does not seem a fair comparison. OSGi has many concepts that do not exist with the same strength anywhere else: the resource model, the service model, the versioning with baselining, extender pattern, etc. This is of a very different dimension than figuring out how to open a database or get the length of a string. I find that almost no developer uses reflection while it is for me one of the most important aspects of Java. which is partly because the concept does not really exist in other languages. Just like OSGi, the Javadoc is there but without a deep understanding of the concepts and its utility you’re going to be lost.
And I do think that the information is in the specs, but the general feedback is that 1500 pages is too much. In my bookshelf I have 11 OSGi books not counting the spec and there were more. I’d expect that none of the authors made more than $1 per hour of their impressive efforts. As you’ve found out, OSGi requires a certain mode of thinking that does not seem to come natural for a lot of people.
About bnd. It was started by me in 1999 to solve manifest chores and later Neil Bartlett used it in bndtools around 2005. There never has been a company or significant community behind those tools. Neil and I mostly did it by consulting for companies and spending copious amounts of our own time. Over time we got more people and BJ Hargrave was paramount because he actually had IBM time, which greatly increased the quality.
I think our bad luck was that we started as a corporate based effort, got crippled by the economy, and then were left behind by the open source world. Yes, it feels like a failure. And yes, I’d be willing to put effort in it if I thought I could convince a significant number of people to use it. Yes, I still need some income though.
I know I am biased, but I still think it is the greatest software architecture around though. I am no longer shedding (crocodile) tears but changed to thinking it is their loss. And my customers agree.
I appreciate you take the time to provide feedback though.