What Oracle Means for Java

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-04-20 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

Sacha Labourey, former CTO of Red Hat's JBoss division, said he believes he knew what to expect from IBM as the steward of Java, but is not quite sure with Oracle-although he will give the company the benefit of the doubt.

Said Labourey:

IBM's commitment to a truly open JCP [Java Community Process] was a given; they've shown that for a long time by having all of their recent JSRs [Java Specification Requests] led in a truly open way. Oracle is obviously a different beast and their business practices have had more to do with vendor lock-in than creating equal playing field ecosystems. That being said, I think Oracle really understand[s] the vital need to revive the Java ecosystem as a whole and, unlike Sun, will know how to leverage the related side effects to their benefit. Consequently, the big question is whether Oracle will be credible in this new role of the Java referee. Since it will be very hard for them to alleviate those fears-it is hard to get your virginity back-a good solution would be for them to cooperate very closely with well known, good, open citizens such as Red Hat and IBM. Otherwise Oracle will look like a boxer in a tutu.

Oracle's acquisition of Sun also could help reconcile the company's approach to the OSGi (Open Services Gateway initiative). Eric Newcomer, former CTO at Iona Technologies and current co-chair of the OSGi Enterprise Expert Group, said, "From my point of view as OSGi EEG co-chair, I know that Oracle has been a strong supporter of the enterprise OSGi effort, and as this effort bears a strong relationship to the future direction of enterprise Java, I think it's good news. Sun had shown a division of opinion on OSGi, embracing it in GlassFish but undermining it in Project Jigsaw, and I am hopeful Oracle's acquisition of Sun will resolve this issue in a positive way."

 In an e-mail to Sun employees, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz said:

Oracle's interest in Sun is very clear-they aspire to help customers simplify the development, deployment and operation of high value business systems, from applications all the way to datacenters. By acquiring Sun, Oracle will be well positioned to help customers solve the most complex technology problems related to running a business.

To me, this proposed acquisition totally redefines the industry, resetting the competitive landscape by creating a company with great reach, expertise and innovation. A combined Oracle/Sun will be capable of cultivating one of the world's most vibrant and far reaching developer communities, accelerating the convergence of storage, networking and computing, and delivering one of the world's most powerful and complete portfolios of business and technical software.

During a news conference announcing his company's deal to acquire Sun, Oracle CEO and founder Larry Ellison said there were two software products that were instrumental in Oracle's decision to acquire Sun: Solaris and Java.

"Java is one of the computer industry's best-known brands and most widely deployed technologies," Ellison said. "Oracle's Fusion middleware is based on Sun's Java technology, and we can increase investment in Java technology that is critical to our success in middleware. Java is the foundation of Oracle's Fusion middleware and is the single most important software asset we have ever acquired."

Charles Phillips, president of Oracle, said he expects Oracle to take advantage of inroads Sun has made with Java in embedded systems development, as well as to capitalize on the Java developer ecosystem after having inherited "the largest software development community in the industry."

Mark Shuttleworth, CEO and founder of Canonical, the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu Linux, said, "My expectation is there'll be no reversal of the idea that Java should be as open and as widely available as possible. What is really interesting to me about this deal is that it really cements that open and free software are the major drivers in the industry today. The software ISV marketplace is consolidating at an extraordinary pace. Part of the reason for that is open source is dominating the innovation pipeline." 



 
 
 
 
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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