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On a New Road

Cynical chucklesSunday August 8, 2010
Another conversation thread floating around the internet these days is speculation about Oracle and the future of the JCP. Specifically about this little nugget from December of 2007:

Resolution 1 (proposed by Oracle, seconded by BEA)

"It is the sense of the Executive Committee that the JCP become an open independent vendor-neutral Standards Organization where all members participate on a level playing field with the following characteristics:

  • members fund development and management expenses
  • a legal entity with by-laws, governing body, membership, etc.
  • a new, simplified IPR Policy that permits the broadest number of implementations
  • stringent compatibility requirements
  • dedicated to promoting the Java programming model

Furthermore, the EC shall put a plan in place to make such transition as soon as practical with minimal disruption to the Java Community."

I actually got an email recently that started "When Oracle starts the Java foundation...". Ethics and consistency aren't exactly the LPOD's reputation: he's famously a fan of a quote attributed to Genghis Khan: "It's not enough that we win; all others must lose". This resolution in 2007 was all part of a control game played by Oracle, no high-minded principles involved at all. Now that they have a different point of view, it's clear that this resolution being honored is about as likely as pigs growing wings.

But Java is likely to be in pretty safe shape. It's a key piece of technology in too many of Oracle's businesses, so screwing Java up too badly would hurt them more than almost anyone else. Well.... Mostly. Oracle's universe is defined by the enterprise datacenter. Stuff outside of the datacenter makes as much sense to the core of Oracle as bicycles make sense to fish. But when they got Sun and Java, they got a lot of stuff outside of the datacenter. It does not compute.

It's Solaris I'm really fearful for: I wish the Illumos folks well, but the data on Solaris so far is pretty discouraging. If only because the rate at which key technologists from Sun have been fleeing Oracle's culture of fear has been so high that there's almost no one left.

[ String LPOD="Larry, Prince Of Darkness"; don't know where I first heard this, but it fits ]

Comments:

Interesting - I subscribe to Joerg Mollencamp's blog. Everytime a high-profile talent bails from Oracle he repeats the same tired mantra - that Solaris is developed by many people and all is alive and well. Frankly, I'm far more inclined to believe you. Bryan Cantrill's last blog for Oracle also made for good reading between the lines...

Posted by grant on August 09, 2010 at 12:35 AM PDT #

I guess Solaris is going to have a tough time surviving without Sun. The very reason Solaris outshone other operating system has sort of become its own undoing. "Solaris went open." Every other operating of significance (Mac OS X and Linux) have an answer in the form of either moulding key parts of Solaris within themselves or just rewriting something similar. No offence against you personally, but I'm starting to believe, Sun actually "totaled" itself the day they went open with its key technologies, "never give away the family jewels" as the saying goes.

Posted by Mayuresh Kathe on August 09, 2010 at 01:45 AM PDT #

I'm really warried about the future of open Solaris and JavaME... JavaME is frozen at the moment, Sun conquered the mobile market some time ago, every mobile phone got a JVM, MIDP was WOW, but what now? Java is disappearing from mobile, come on!

Posted by Davide Perini on August 09, 2010 at 02:19 AM PDT #

Java is hardly 'disappearing from every mobile', given that it is at the core of the Android developer model. However the idea of platform neutral handset apps is clearly dead.... As Adrian Cockcroft blogged on Friday (see http://perfcap.blogspot.com/2010/08/open-letter-to-my-sun-friends-at-oracle.html), Illumos is irrelevant. What he didn't make clear is that this is largely because the OS itself is irrelevant. Most of its functions have been refactored away - to the hypervisor and virtual network fabric below, to the JVM above, or to networked storage services. File systems are still important, but these shouldn't be tightly coupled to particular OS's.

Posted by Geoff Arnold on August 09, 2010 at 08:25 AM PDT #

I was wondering if I should really spend time coding in Java since I will graduate soon and this is all just starting for me. While coding in Java I just feel like I'm supporting Oracle which is some sort of evil these days, with its attitudes towards OpenSolaris, MySql and vibrant communities. Any suggestions guys?

Posted by Dmitry on August 09, 2010 at 09:55 AM PDT #

@Dmitry try Scala :)

Posted by Anon on August 09, 2010 at 11:53 AM PDT #

@Dimitri If your favorite sports teams gets some new management, and makes some trades you don't like, you wouldn't abandon them, would you? Java is like a great sports team with a rich history and giant fan support. Abandoning Java isn't the solution. Java will always be strong, and it's in your best interest to know it. But more to the point, get involved and contribute, and do your part to keep the stewardship of the Java platform on the right path!

Posted by Cameron McKenzie on August 09, 2010 at 12:22 PM PDT #

I remember that resolution :-). I told Don (Oracle's EC rep) a few times to be careful what one wishes for. The landscape always looks different from the head of the table than a comfy seat on the side.

Posted by Onno on August 09, 2010 at 01:11 PM PDT #

@Dmitry I completely support Cameron's comments. The entire Java developer community are the stewards of Java, come join us!

Posted by Martijn Verburg on August 10, 2010 at 03:08 AM PDT #

I can't belive it but Arnold is right when he say that Java is hardly 'disappearing from every mobile'... I can't belive it, java exploded into the mobile market, every mobile phones was capable to run a good midlet, and now? I'm really disappointed from the Oracle way to keep us informed on Java future... They says that Java developer have no reason to worry but what about JavaME? What about JavaFX on mobile? MIDP3 has been approved since many months now and we neither have a SDK. What about the plans to merge the JavaSE APIs with the JavaME one? I can't belive that JavaME will be kicked off in that way, too sad...

Posted by Davide Perini on August 10, 2010 at 10:40 AM PDT #

@Onno even in a barn !

Posted by Danny on August 10, 2010 at 10:46 AM PDT #

as theregister.co.uk put it: you need a bloody oracle to know what Oracle is up to...

Posted by Urf on August 10, 2010 at 01:33 PM PDT #

Hello, it would be very useful to have the possibility of subscribing to RSS feeds from the blog, so to be always up-to-date in case of new posts.... is it possible to introduce them ? Thanks, take care ! Max

Posted by Max on August 11, 2010 at 05:55 AM PDT #

Max, RSS are available for subscription already, if you are on Firefox for example the feed subscription link is visible in the address bar.

Posted by Dave on August 11, 2010 at 10:44 PM PDT #

Thanks for encouragement guys!

Posted by Dmitry on August 12, 2010 at 05:12 PM PDT #

James, I have tremendous respect for you. Lately reading your blog posts makes me think you seem to be in denial mode and not able to get in terms with what happened to Sun so please get over it. Solaris was made irrelevant by Sun long ago, where was sun mgmt when linux was getting popular?. Stop blaming Oracle for Sun technologists leaving, when companies merge/acquired there will be a culture clash. People who can not adopt to new circumstances will leave, if they are smart enough they will find a new gig, bring new offerings or start new companies. So please stop whining about whats happening to legacy sun folks at Oracle, its getting boring. Take a deep breath and say no more negative/cynical posts.

Posted by John Doe on August 12, 2010 at 08:14 PM PDT #

Well it doesn't look like Java is in such a safe ship now with Oracle suing Google. Seems to me its saying you can't implement or for that matter use Java without infringing on Oracle's patents. So do this mean they intend to charge for the use of Java or are they just trying to force Google to use their runtime. And wouldn't this mean that they were infringing on Sun's patents with JRockit?

Posted by Phil on August 12, 2010 at 09:15 PM PDT #

[Trackback] O James Gosling, que não tem poupado críticas à Oracle desde que saiu da Sun (em seu penúltimo post

Posted by Confluence: André Costa on August 13, 2010 at 06:53 AM PDT #

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