Despite the Oracle Android case, Google wins big in hiring James Gosling, the creator of the Java language. Gosling joins an A-list of technology inventors and language designers.
Java creator James Gosling is a coup for Google.
lawsuit challenging Google's Android
operating system aside, getting
Gosling in-house is a big deal for a company that has for some time been making
lots of moves around Java-from tools and mobile platforms to related languages
and research projects.
reason the move is likely to benefit Google is the fire is still there in
Gosling. Some observers say he is living off the past. He's eager to
disprove those notions. Add to that a clear disdain for his former employer,
Oracle, and you have an even more driven individual. Last year, Gosling told
reasons why he decided to leave Oracle
, including that Oracle founder and
CEO Larry Ellison gave him "the creeps." Despite leaving lots of friends and
former colleagues at Oracle, expect Gosling to compete particularly hard
against them. Look for Gosling to try to torch them like an athlete traded away
in his prime who comes back to play his old team. Or like NFL receiver Randy
Moss burning Dallas cornerbacks for TDs and looking up at Cowboys' owner Jerry
Jones' skybox as if to say: You
should've drafted me.
Gosling wants a piece of them.
will it happen through the Android suit? Doubtful. As his name is on one of the
patents in question in the Oracle lawsuit, Gosling is as likely to be called as
a witness for Oracle as he is to be drafted to help his new employer. Gosling
is no fan of the lawsuits or the courtroom. Ever since free software guru
Richard Stallman sued or threatened to sue him in the early -80s after fallout
from Gosling's rewrite of Stallman's Emacs editor. Gosling was a grudging,
if not gruff, witness in the federal government's lawsuit versus Microsoft.
And, though he felt it important, he also has said he was not thrilled to be a
witness in Sun Microsystems' case against Microsoft.
fact, Gosling has compared being on the witness stand to going to the dentist
for a root canal. He says he wants no part of the Android lawsuit, and would
likely have negotiated or discussed that as part of his hire. But if he is
called he has no choice but to comply.
28 blog post
, Gosling said he didn't know what he would be working on at
Google. He declined to elaborate, invoking the old Central Intelligence
Agency and National Security Agency notion of "If I told you I'd have to shoot
you." But the truth is it appears as though Gosling has entered into an
open-ended agreement with Google to work on strategic efforts. He gets to work
again with Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, formerly Sun's chief technology
officer, and a host of Google engineers formerly employed at Sun.
to exactly what Gosling will do at Google, "to some degree I expect it to be a
-think tank' gig overall, but maybe he'll work on the next big thing beyond
Java?" said Mark Driver, research vice president at Gartner. "Of course it's
all speculation at this point."
not speculation is that Google continues to bulk up its bullpen with major
talent. Gosling joins an A-list of first-class technology inventors and
language designers who work for Google. Guido van Rossum, creator of the Python
language, is employed at Google. Rob Pike, part of the Bell Labs Unix team and
creator of the Limbo language and Google's Go language, works there. Kenneth
Thompson of the famed Thompson and (Dennis) Ritchie duo that created Unix, and
also creator of the B language (which preceded C at Bell Labs) and Google's Go
, works at Google, too. And
Vint Cerf, co-creator of TCP/IP and considered the "father of the Internet," is
also in the Google bullpen, just to name a few.
expect he'll be pushed to think about how mobile and cross channel experiences
will evolve, and get involved to pushing Google's creative development teams to
think outside the box," said Jeffrey Hammond, an analyst at Forrester Research.
Hammond also quipped, "Google is a high performance development culture. It
looks for creative, intrinsically motivated developers who will think big
thoughts, and then go build software to realize them. This is certainly
something that James knows a bit about. Who knows, maybe he could go back to
the roots of Java, when it was Oak-Google TV could use a bit of help."
it could. Yet Gosling has a skill set that could be employed in all manner of
ways in Google. And though many may have forgotten, Sun had its share of
patents and efforts related to search. So he could potentially branch into
search, mobile, language design or general research.
see Gosling as a figurehead, a well respected elder," said James Governor of
Monkchips. "Google likes to have language inventors on staff -- especially on
languages they're deeply invested in -- and Gosling certainly qualifies. That
said, I am not sure his self-description as a curmudgeon really applies -- he
is a pretty good cheerleader, and not many of them are curmudgeons. One wonders
whether Google is also trying to gird its loins with respect to the ongoing IP
battles with Oracle with respect to Android. In terms of specific Google
projects it's hard to say at this point. They have some awesome engineers
Hilwa, program director for applications development software at IDC, said of
Google's hire of Gosling: "Probably has to do with Google's desire to be seen
as a thought leader for Java. I don't believe it has anything to do with the
Android lawsuit, for example. As companies mature, they covet a position of
thought leadership and mindshare especially as they try to make gains in
community relations. Having the founder of Java can be a feather in their cap
with the Java community and they are certainly positioning themselves as an
alternative pole for this community."
thing that seems clear from Gosling's move-in which he says he had to say "no"
to several other tempting offers--is that Google is more excited to have
Gosling on its payroll than Oracle was. Maybe as his 20-percent project for
Google, Gosling will drum up a little open-source gift for Ellison and company.