Java Creator James Gosling Leaves Oracle

Java creator James Gosling has left Oracle. What is next for the language pioneer?

Java creator James Gosling has left Oracle.

In an April 9 blog post, Gosling said he resigned from Oracle on April 2. While at Sun Microsystems, which Oracle announced plans to acquire in April 2009 and finalized in January, Gosling came up with the idea for the Java language and platform in the early '90s and Sun introduced the breakthrough technology in 1995.

Gosling did not give a reason for his departure, other than to say that frankness about the situation might "do more harm than good."

Said Gosling:

""Yes, indeed, the rumors are true: I resigned from Oracle a week ago (April 2nd). I apologize to everyone in St Petersburg who came to TechDays on Thursday expecting to hear from me. I really hated not being there. As to why I left, it's difficult to answer: just about anything I could say that would be accurate and honest would do more harm than good. The hardest part is no longer being with all the great people I've had the privilege to work with over the years. I don't know what I'm going to do next, other than take some time off before I start job hunting.""

In an interview with Gosling at last year's JavaOne, I asked him if there were any scenarios where he could see himself not being at Oracle. His reply was "absolutely."

Actually, the exchange was as follows:

"Q: It's definitely the end of an era for me because I've really enjoyed covering Sun.A: Well, Sun is now a viral body in a strange host. So we'll see.Q: Do you think you'll be here?A: I have no way to predict that.Q: Well, there are things you will and won't put up with.A: Absolutely. So I can imagine future histories where I'm gone. And I can imagine future histories where I'm not. Right now, no data."

However, Gosling weathered an initial transition period as Oracle began the work of integrating the Sun portfolio into its cache of software booty, which includes the industry's dominant database platform.

And in March, Gosling delivered a keynote at TheServerSide Java Symposium (TSSJS) telling the audience that Java was in good hands with Oracle and would continue to enjoy its position as one of the preeminent enterprise IT platforms well into the future.

Gosling's face became synonymous with Java. And while he enjoyed accolades from Java's success, he also took the brunt of criticism from developers on points of discontent -- many of which he had no real decision in implementing. Still, Gosling realized near-rock star status amongst the "geekerati" and could fill venues throughout the world with developers and users eager to hear what he had to say.

But, obviously, something did not fit with the Oracle move. Perhaps Gosling ran into one of those situations he could simply not "put up with."

Gosling, the Sun logo, the Java coffee cup icon and the Duke mascot all immediately come to mind when you think of Java. Oracle owns Sun, the cup and Duke. But Gosling has moved on.

He is by far the biggest defection from Oracle of the former Sun staff to date. Tim Bray, a co-creator of X M L, and Zack Urlocker, who ran engineering and marketing at MySQL also left early in the transition of Sun into Oracle.

But where will Gosling wind up? I hear IBM is looking for some smart engineers with serious Java talent. And Microsoft could always use some proven software architects. Then there's Google. Of the three, Google seems a likely best bet. But I just don't see that just now.