JavaOne 2009 is officially underway. The conference opened with the general session, in much the same way as previous years. With an array of assorted customers and patners – primarily of the sponsors such as Sony Ericsson, Blackberry and Intel – showing off their particular use of Java. The session took an expected yet surprising turn near the end, as Jonathan Schwartz called James Gosling and Scott McNealy on stage to reminiscen about the history of Java, thanking them for their courage in coming up with something as new as Java – in an almost emotional way. Scott McNealy then took over control, thanking Jonathan for his stewardship of Java (not necessarily of Sun??) and his guidance of Java into the open source domain.
Schwartz then left the stage – quite literally but maybe also in a more permanent way as it seems unclear at the least what his future will be in the Oracle-Sun combination. It all felt very much like a farewell. Followed by a big welcome: Scott McNealy invited on stage "the next leader of the Java community: Larry Ellison [Mr. Oracle]". The chemistry between McNealy and Ellison is pretty good, clearly visible for everyone in the room – they have been long running friends and discussed close collaboration between Oracle and Sun 20 years ago.
The appearance of Larry Ellison in the general session seemed primarily targeted at assuaging the fear, uncertaintity and doubt in the community: "Is this the last JavaOne. Will we close down the community?" Larry: "Look at the past to see the future. We will do more of the same, no large changes, more investment and enthousiasm coming in from Oracle". This earned him a big round of applause from a up till then somewhat reluctant audience.
Larry stated: "we [Oracle] invested more in Java than anyone on the planet! (since buying BEA & Sun did not come cheap). He also declared that all Oracle’s products – apart from the database itself – are Java based (that seems somewhat overstating though fact is that Oracle has been strongly committed to Java since the late 90’s and many Oracle products indeed are created using Java, run on J(2)EE infrastructures and/or offer Java APIs. Our next generation of Enterprise Applications (ERP/CRM) [Fusion Applications?] is built on Java (open and extensible). The Oracle middleware strategy is entirely based on Java
An interesting statement by Larry: ‘Oracle-Sun will be producing Mobile Devices and NetBooks, powered by Java and JavaFX that will compete with Android based devices.’
Another statement that was received with clearly mixed feelings by the audience (and one that Larry seemed somewhat confused about himself): let’s hurry up JavaFX so that developers do no longer have to do AJAX-programming. He predicted accelerated investment/development JavaFX. Clearly Oracle sees a lot of value in that technology. Which (again) begs the question how JavaFX and JSF might work together – as so far JSF is the main View-technology within Oracle.
Larry on several occasions during his contribution paid hommage to James Gosling and the work of Sun’s staff in creating Java and building up the Java community. He showed himself appreciative of those efforts and results and seemed to want to make it clear that legacy is safe at Oracle.
The session concluded with Scott McNealy handing a string of signal flags to Larry for one of his boats (one of which is called ‘Rising Sun’- so we all could have seen this deal coming from miles away); in between two Duke flags the signs read ‘J-A-V-A’. Larry then left the stage and hurried out of the room. McNealy said his goodbyes to the audience and received a minute-long standing ovation. Jonathan Schwartz by that time was finding his way out of the room – apparently somewhat lost in thought – or just somewhat lost.
All in all it seems that by this time next year:
– Oracle Sun will be a reality (I suppose one division within Oracle could be called Oracle-Sun; I do not expect the name Sun to disappear altogether)
– Oracle-Sun will have stepped investment in certain areas of Java – especially where Oracle’s enterprise applications will benefit (and there is competition to fight), including JavaFX
– Oracle-Sun may have started producing handheld devices running Java and JavaFX; devices that will be used as frontend for business users of Oracle’s enterprise applications
– JavaOne will still take place – the community continuing just as before; Oracle’s products (WebLogic, SOA Suite, Database(?), COherence,..) probably will have somewhat more visibility and the stage during the general session may have a slightly different cast.