Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems is expected to be approved any day now, but the question many asked when the database giant initially announced its acquisition plans in April 2009 remains: What will happen to Java?
With Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems expected to be approved any
day now, the question many asked when the database giant initially announced
its acquisition plans last April remains: What will happen to Java?
The European Commission is reportedly poised to approve
Oracle's $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun
after investigating concerns
about Oracle's plans for the open-source MySQL database. However, many in the IT
industry want to know what Oracle will do with Java and the Java Community
Process, which acts as the steward of Java, the language and the platform.
"Java is a very important technology to pretty much every vendor in the
IT industry except Microsoft," Mark Little, Red Hat's representative on
the JCP Executive Committee and the company's chief technologist for JBoss
Enterprise Middleware, said to eWEEK. "And what they do with Java the
language and Java the platform could have a big impact on the industry."
Aside from Sun, Oracle and IBM, some
other Java powerhouses have emerged over the years, including Red Hat's
JBoss and VMware's SpringSource unit. For instance, the Java EE 6 (Java
Platform, Enterprise Edition 6) specification, known as Java Specification Request 316
includes support for two specifications for which Red
Hat played an important leadership
which incorporates the
JBoss Seam Framework for building Web 2.0 applications, and JSR-303,
data validation tool.
"Since 1996, Oracle has been saying that the JCP
needs to be more open,
" Little said. "I would hope that they
would be willing to open it up as much as they said they wanted to see things
open up back then," now that the company is about to own
Sun and Java, he added.
"Hopefully, Oracle will do the right thing," Little said. But he
also ran through a worst-case scenario. "I can't exactly say what they
would do as the right thing, but the wrong thing would be to close down the
platform so that only Oracle technology is compliant or something like that.
And everybody would have to accept it. Sun could have done the same thing. They
had veto power on the JCP but they never used it. When Oracle takes on
that role they could do the opposite. They could disband the JCP. Or they could
make it so that only Oracle's implementation could be called Java."
However, Little said he does not expect Oracle to do the "wrong
thing" and in fact said he hopes they will open the JCP up even more.
"There is no indication Oracle will do anything negative," he
said. "Back in 2006 to 2007 the JCP was not as open as it is today. But
the opening up of the process was a direct result of pressure from Sun and
Meanwhile, despite the drawn-out acquisition process, innovation in the Java
space has continued despite uncertainty about the fate of the Java platform
"I don't think the fact that the Oracle/Sun deal has been in limbo has
had any impact on innovation," Little said. "We've certainly been
able to innovate. And look at what Google's done with Android. We also saw Java
EE 6 come out since the acquisition deal was announced."
Overall, Little said he and Red Hat hope for Oracle to maintain the "status
quo" or better with Java and the JCP. "If they acted exactly as Sun [did]
everything would be OK, but I'd hope for a little more."
Another individual, whose company is represented on the JCP committee but
who asked not to be identified, told eWEEK: "I think whatever
they would make could only be for the better, because I can't see how it