It's obvious that James Gosling did not feel at home inside Oracle. I'd rather avoid terms like "disgruntled", because there is some merit to many of the problems that he highlights, even if (IMHO) he misunderstands the underlying reasons for those issues. Please keep in mind that James was instrumental in creating and building both Java and Sun Microsystems itself, and thus he cared deeply for both the cultural values of that organization and for the people he worked with there, so having to see and deal with any of these issues would have been particularly painful for him.
Things have improved significantly since the acquisition. I met with a number of the managers of the Sun Java team this week, and all were up-beat about where we are and where we're headed. That doesn't mean that we have fixed all of the issues that came up in the acquisition, and Sun did lose some great talent (both before and after the acquisition) that we all wish we still had, but we are moving in the right direction, and are working to both continue and accellerate that.
Regardless of any of this, James' contributions are timeless, and Java is thriving.
Cameron Purdy | Oracle Coherence
Thanks Cameron for the insider info on the Java happenings over at Oracle.
Don't get me wrong, James Gosling is a legend in my eyes, and deserves all the necessary acclaims for his contributions to computing that can be conferred upon him.
Also, please note that I am in no way trying to belittle and disrespect James. I'm just putting the question out there based on all these things he's been saying that's happening over at Oracle which I am wondering if it's either true or is he just upset at the position he was thrust into via the Sun acquisition.
I've always thought that there would be culture clashes encountered with some Sun employees now placed in a position to work for Oracle and to toe the line in Oracle's business managment way of life. For example, things like the dress code (please note that I am just assuming), in regards to the old days of seeing Sun engineers at conferences decked out in their Jeans and T-shirts, compared to the nice, clean, and well tailored business suits worn by the Oracle guys. Then there's the environment in which some Sun folks seem to be used to working in, which seemed to be more inclusive of the engineers and their opinions, and which maybe allowed them more space in which to think and work without feeling the presence of management watching their every move with an immediate profit motive in mind.
In other words, it seemed as if the engineers were the primary leaders of the organization over at Sun in terms of the vision and direction in which technology was to be developed with management providing a supporting role. Over at Oracle, James seems to be implying based on my interpretation, that things are the other way around - where business folks lead and the engineers are supposed to follow/support. I can see where this would frustrate the heck out of a distinguished engineer such as James who is not used to this situation and who may not want to adapt.
Remember, Oracle already had its business culture in place that was always working for them and that they see no reason in changing as long as it keeps them profitable.
In regards to the pay issue James mentioned, I can see where that would bite, but Oracle could have done worse and not keep him from the onset.
Also, the lackof a "senior engineer" title/position that James mentioned, as he said, was not present over at Oracle, and again, I can see where that would bite as well. But the fact is, Oracle didn't have that position in the first place.
So after the acquisition, some Sun employees stayed, and some left. Maybe the ones that stayed adapted to Oracle's business culture, or maybe they were offered better compensation packages - we don't know for sure except that they stayed.
Now we are here and Oracle having bought Sun, which by right means that they should at least have some say in how things should be run. Whether those decisions eventually turn out to be good ones or bad ones, the fact is that they paid billions for Sun, which should give them some say.
As I have mentioned before, some big fans of Sun, including me, were almost instantaneously thrust into the Oracle camp, and it was basically without our approval. So we feel the pain that is being expressed by James, but the reality is, history may judge Sun a little more harshly than Oracle, and as mentioned earlier, I would love James or some former senior member at Sun to provide some details, in some interview as to where Sun fell down in them ending up being bought for a "paltry" 7+ Bil.
I guess the only thing that the former Sun fans can do like myself, is to try and voice our concerns about some moves Oracle might be making that would seem to vivisect some of promising techs that Sun was developing. But I fear that voicing our support/concern is all we can do, while we watch Oracle play in their sanbox of acquired Sun tech, Java included.
I really hope it works out for us Java folks in the end. If Oracle puts a wrong foot, the backlash may be unforgiving from the Java community - as for example, I sure wouldn't want to see what happened to Open Solaris happen to other important, open/collaborative Java projects/initiaves out there.
What I am trying to take comfort in is that Oracle has lots of cash to keep Java strong, and futuristic. But I hope that they somehow aquire and foster a mindset of promoting an open, and colloborative Java community/environment that the participating groups/members can feel fairly safe in.
For James, I wish him the best and that he somehow moves on and settles down in working for a company that has projects that are compatible with his current technology passions/areas of interest.