Friday, December 10, 2010

Stop blaming Oracle on Java

With Apache joining Doug Lea in walking out on the JCP the talk has been all about how this is Oracle's fault.

I disagree, the stagnation of Java and its issues very much started under Sun as the JavaSE 6 debacleshowed. The problem that Oracle have actually made is in leaving the same mentality and people in charge of Java rather than actually looking to refresh the leadership and focus it more on the Java market rather than an internal view of what that market should be.

So I don't blame Oracle for this debacle in the same way as I don't blame Oracle for putting JAX-WS into JavaSE or the massive amount of time that JavaSE 7 has taken. The reality is that Java lost its direction and started chasing "Joe-sixpack" and while Sun paid lip-service to Open Source they actually meant "their" open source when it came to Java rather than opening up to Apache.

As someone who championed, and still champions, Java as an environment it has been sad to see how intellectually stunted Java has become in the last 5 years and how myopic its leadership has been. That leadership appears to have made it through the acquisition pretty much unscathed and the attitudes have if anything become more hardline and more myopic due to the protection of a larger parent company.

Java needs new leadership, the current fiasco and the comments on the votes show that the current Java leadership in Oracle has the same problems of consensus building and intellectual direction as they had 5 years ago. Oracle has some fantastic intellectuals and some great leaders who can build consensus in the Java community but the bravest thing for them to do now would be to open up the door and appoint a leadership team from outside potentially one that included real representation from the major players and industry.

Oracle aren't the problem, they've just inherited the problem child and let the bad behaviour continue

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The stagnation in Java has been because of the philosophical war between Sun and Apache. It's the war between open source and closed source. Because Sun refused to openly license the TCK, Apache kept throwing roadblocks up because it was the only option they had given the rules of the JCP game. Now that Apache has decided to take their toys and go home, you should see faster movement on the Java side.

Unfortunately, you're also going to see a Java fork from Apache. And that, in turn, will pull some of the drive away from the Oracle Java group. This is quite a shame because there's no real alternative for cross-platform business development.

The only alternative I see that's even close is C#. But it'll be difficult hiring anyone with Mono experience (yes, the environment is different enough that pure C# isn't enough) and then there's the implied threat of patent issues if the market place gets large enough to interest Microsoft.

It's all very depressing.