Thursday, September 23, 2010

Was there a Java conference this week?

Apologies in advance: this is a pretty snarky essay. But I'm just stunned.

As we all know, this was the week of Oracle OpenWorld.

And, since Oracle now owns Java, they folded the old JavaOne conference into Oracle OpenWorld.

And then Oracle sued Google over Android, and Google responded by pulling out of JavaOne.

So, I've been waiting all week, wondering if there would be any news. Wondering if anything interesting would occur. Wondering if there was still a "Java community", and if they cared about Java, and if they would be getting together to try to figure out what Java is, and where it is going.

Apparently, not.

Oh, I found the occasional blog posting at the obvious locations. And the few remaining Sun^H^H^HOracle employees who still work on Java posted a few notes about what they're working on (Look! A JRuby benchmark!).

But that was about it for the good news. Meanwhile, there were lots of "obituary" postings like this one:

Last year, I wrote the conference's obituary, and after spending the week at the show, I can safely say that obituary was not written in haste. This year's JavaOne was a strange affair, laid out across three hotels and a blocked-off city street. The event's myriad talks and demonstrations were stretched out across a labyrinthine series of hallways and ballrooms, and many of the attendees were completely lost.

And, worse, bizarre postings about how the conference is just a shadow of its once tremendous self:

The exhibit hall, where I spent most of my time, was 1/8 the size of last year's JavaOne.


the booth next to us had two very pretty models and they did a lot better than I did.


Best news of the show? My youngest daughter goes to Harvey Mudd College and when I called her up to ask if she wanted the show backpack & t-shirt, she told me that would be really cool.

Remember the old days, a decade ago, when James Gosling's annual JavaOne keynote was discussed for weeks and weeks afterwards? Not this year, as he's not even around anymore:

Gosling went a bit deeper, telling a tale of low-balling key employees and cutting off at the knees projects and strategies Sun had put into play.

Oh, dear.

I'm sure everybody expected things to change with the takeover. And I'm sure that things had to change; after all, Sun was unsuccessful in their approach, and so a new approach had to be tried.

But it sure seems like Java went from 100 MPH to 0 awfully fast.

Update: I guess I'm not the only one who wondered what was going on: Check out this column in The Reg: Everyone but Oracle demands Java independence. Yikes!

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