SAN FRANCISCO—In his first JavaOne keynote since conceding the CEO slot at Sun Microsystems Inc., company chairman Scott McNealy spoke of goals beyond Sun and exhorted Java developers to help bridge the digital divide.
In a speech on May 19 at JavaOne here that was at times self-deprecating and also big-picture focused, McNealy said the industry is now in what he has referred to as the Participation Age, where more than “three million new people are being added to the network each week.”
But even at that rate the digital divide will continue because “wed still have three out of four folks on the planet not connected. Its an enormous tragedy, but also a huge opportunity,” McNealy said.
“Youre cursed with the opportunity to really make a difference on this planet,” McNealy told the audience of Java developers.
McNealy said that the elimination of the digital divide can happen through Java technology. “Were going to solve it through Web services, thin clients and network computing. And with Java and some of the new scripting stuff, weve now made it a participative network.
“The goal is to get everybody on the network. And in my new job Im spending a lot of time working on this and talking to governments around the world.”
McNealy spoke of the challenge and opportunity to bring Java even further into the consumer environment, noting that more than 200 million Java phones are produced each year, and eight out of 10 new phones have Java on them.
“The Sony Playstation 3 is coming out with Java on it, and there are 1.5 billion Java smart cards out there,” McNealy said.
Meanwhile, James Gosling, the creator of Java and a Sun vice president and fellow, followed McNealy onstage and introduced a video commemorating McNealys days as Suns CEO, co-founder and day-to-day leader.
In the video Gosling credited McNealy with making Java happen. “Without Scott McNealy, theres no way Java would have happened,” he said.
Some former Sun executives also spoke out on the video, including co-founder Bill Joy and Eric Schmidt, now CEO at Google.
But absent was Ed Zander, CEO of Motorola and former vice president of software at Sun. However, Zander shared the stage earlier in the week with current Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz.
Meanwhile, McNealy called on the crowd of developers to get involved and to join Java user groups and other Java-related organizations.
“Become part of the community,” he said.
McNealy also said security and privacy have become among his key interests and Java has done a lot to ensure security in systems, but more is needed.
“There are 3.3 billion Java devices out there, and name a Java virus,” he said.
“Were trying to do an end-to-end security model,” McNealy said. “Security and privacy [is] going to be my number one focus in my new role as head of Sun Fed [Suns federal government-focused division].”
McNealy stepped onstage as his usual jocular self, though this time he poked fun at himself rather than at Suns competitors.
“Im rested, I lost a few pounds and Ive been working out,” he said. “Some of you may know Im not CEO anymore,” he said jokingly, adding, “I had to wear my badge today” to get into the conference.
The clean-cut McNealy also joked that now all the Sun executives are “trying to grow ponytails,” referring to the signature ponytail worn by new CEO Schwartz.
Not to be outdone on what could be his last JavaOne, McNealy delivered one of his famous top 10 lists. This one was “The 10 best things about not being CEO.”
10. I dont have to apologize for stuff I say to Wall Street.
9. No longer on the most overpaid CEO list.
8. I just say “See Jonathan on that.”
7. I read “Hockey News” without guilt.
6. I shave even less.
5. No more SOX certification.
4. I have someone to blame.
3. I can sell my last business suit.
2. Jonathan doesnt golf so I guess I have to do it.
1. My new office is very close to the mens room.