Gosling: What's Good for Google May Not Be Good for Java

Part 1: In a wide-ranging discussion with eWEEK, Java creator James Gosling sheds light on where he sees innovation in Java, the future of the platform, the legacy of Sun and the new Java Store, among a variety of other topics. In what Sun said was his only formal interview at what could have been the last JavaOne conference, Gosling sat down with eWEEK Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft to engage in an annual tete a tete, which this time proved to be both enlightening and emotional. In this segment, Part 1 of the two-part Q&A, Gosling takes Google to task, talks up the Java Store, and discusses OSGi and more.

Q: What do you think of Google's use of Java or the subset of Java they use?

A: They are odd. It's not like the petulant kid who doesn't want to play with others. It's like they've got their head in the clouds and they're now saying, "Oh, you mean there are other people out there that we might want to play with?"

It's really hard to tell what their intentions are with Android. They put this thing out there, and you've got lots of people picking it up. The big attraction seems to be the zero on the price tag. But everybody I've talked to who is building an Android phone or whatever, they're all going in and they're just hacking on it. And so all these Android phones are going to be incompatible.

In Part 2 of eWEEK's interview with James Gosling, Gosling talks about Sun's, Java's and his own future. Read Part 2 here.

One of the reasons that we charge license fees is because we've got organizations of people that do compatibility testing and actual negotiating amongst the different handset makers so that things like GPS APIs look the same. And what's going on in the Android world is there's kind of no adult in charge. And all these handset manufacturers are doing whatever they damn well please. Which means that it's just going to be randomness. It could be let a thousand flowers bloom, but it also could be a dog's breakfast. And I guess having been around the track a few times, it feels like it's going to be more of a dog's breakfast.

Q: At this JavaOne what would you say is the biggest piece or the biggest new thing?

A: We're getting to this point where everything is tied together. So with my myopic blinders on ... what I've spent most of my time on in the last few months has been the store [Sun's Java Store]. For me that's a pretty big deal. It's going to be a very different kind of store than people have seen before. The JavaFX stuff is doing way better than I ever hoped. I think when we first started the JavaFX thing we were wringing our hands about all kinds of weird devices and people thought we were kidding.

So things like the [Java-powered] LG television, the fact that that's actually a product that is shipping and in stores. ... Admittedly, it's only shipping in Korea because it's a cable TV set-top box for the Korean market. But it's got the cable TV set-top box standards ... and fairly beefy Java engines. And that device runs JavaFX wonderfully. That's a TV that I believe the guts of it will be showing up all over the place. ...

I think that a year or two ago people thought we were kidding about this stuff. And we were not. There's definitely going to be more of this stuff. The fact that we're able to do this at price points that work for the CE manufacturers is pretty amazing. And you add all of that together and it turns into this unbelievably huge marketplace. And with the store. The hard bits of the store are its processes for managing deployment. The store that you see today manages deployment to desktops. But in not too long you'll see it managing deployment to cell phones and cable TV set-top boxes, and all kinds of strange things. The cell phone stuff, we're probably not going to directly do it. That's the kind of thing we'd probably do in conjunction with the cell phone carriers.