Hi Matt -
1) To start with, it's disconcerting seeing all the Oracle branding (already?) replacing the previous comfortable Sun/Java branding.
That is a natural result of an acquisition. Oracle acquires 10+ companies a year, and while some branding remains (e.g. product names), the company brands tend to disappear over time.
2) My experience 2 years ago was punctuated with speeches from the "fathers" of the language. Will they be there this year?
In the case of James Gosling, the only information I have is from his blog, in which he states:
I won't be officially attending, but I'll probably cruise the disreputable bars in the neighborhood looking for interesting parties.
3) The general sloppyness of the signup / registration / application and experience. As far as I can tell, no where does it say it will be at the Moscone center. Until recently, they had the Hilton hotel as the location.
I don't know anything about the registration, other than all large conferences seem to outsource the conference organizing to companies who have never heard of the interwebs and whose programmers learned UI design from the back of a cereal box.
There was a decision to co-locate JavaOne with the existing Oracle conference (Oracle OpenWorld), which is a gigantic conference (as many as 85,000 people). I do not know the reason behind the decision; perhaps the Moscone did not have another week available with relatively short notice, or perhaps it was purposeful to subsume the conference into OpenWorld. Either way, it is disappointing, if for no other reason than the logistical challenges of adding 5,000-15,000 more people to a conference that already uses up every hotel in the city.
4) Everyone that went to Google IO got a free Evo and Droid. What is Oracle doing this year to create that kind of excitement or buzz? Or is it possible they are doing nothing except pissing off their biggest supporters so they don't show up?
You are judging conferences by the quality of the tshatshkes? Oy. I can't see this ending well.
Google is using their exit from JavaOne as a PR exercise (that you are obviously obliging to swallow). It is indeed unfortunate that they are taking their toys and going home; I will certainly miss them at the conference.
Cameron Purdy | Oracle Coherence