My expectation of Oracle has been that it will bring pragmatism, gumption, focus, better organization, more resources and a faster development pace to the Java world with some short-term sacrifices to openness and community involvement that can be mitigated in the long-term through collaboration with the greater Java ecosystem. So far, Oracle's decisions on SPARC, NetBeans, GlassFish, MySQL, OpenSolaris, etc bear out that expected pattern of decision making. Although I think the Oracle-Google lawsuit is bad for the Java community I can even see the reasoning behind that decision if you factor in the dangers of fragmenting the Java platform down the line.
I really wish I could say the same of JavaOne 2010 wholeheartedly.
There is no question that the technical content and organization was just as good as the previous years if not a little better, even despite Google's notable and regrettable absence. The technical detail of the Oracle keynotes was impressive as were the decisions on OpenJDK, Java SE 7/8 as well as JavaFX - they were all by and large the right calls to make. The Mason Street Tent idea was a nice touch. I also highly applaud Oracle’s plans to globalize JavaOne.
Despite all of these positives, I could not help but feel that JavaOne has undergone an unmistakable scaling down. I still remember the first time I went to JavaOne. As a Java enthusiast, it felt a lot like going to a well-earned pilgrimage. There was simply an inexplicable electricity in the air that made you realize how large, diverse and vibrant the Java world really is. Here were people gathered from all corners of the world doing myriad different interesting things in myriad interesting ways - all sharing a common identity as Java developers in the same narrow slice of time/space. I simply did not feel that electricity this year…
JavaOne felt like an important side-show to the "real" event - Oracle OpenWorld. Instead of being united under the roof of the Mascone center, Java developers were carefully navigating a maze that was comprised of several hotels including and around Hilton San Francisco. It's not that the Hilton was so bad per se; it is just that it is not where I envision the most important conference for seven million some Java developers world-wide to be taking place. It felt like a serious downsizing for an event that is and could be so much more. I really hope Oracle realizes this and decides to restore JavaOne back to Moscone as an event separated by time from Oracle OpenWorld. From what I understand, that is still under consideration…
On the flip side, perhaps there is room for a new beginning here. With JavaOne becoming decidedly a smaller conference, events like TSSJS, QCon, Devoxx or JAX could certainly take up the slack. I tread very carefully here as someone who contributes to TSSJS in several ways and knowing many good people in Sun/Oracle who I count not just as colleagues but as friends and even comrades. I also do not wish to be an ingrate or a hypocrite – personally, JavaOne 2010 was very fruitful as a speaker, exhibitor and attendee. In fact, I am not even sure TSSJS, Devoxx or JAX really can be a true contender to JavaOne. In order to have enough credibility, a true contender to JavaOne would likely need an alliance of existing Java tech publishers, conference organizers and vendors and be hosted in a venue like Moscone or even at Moscone itself. It would be fantastic if such an alliance even included Oracle as the most important stake-holder of Java.
While I’m not sure I really support James Gosling’s “Free Java” initiative quite yet, perhaps I am indeed supportive of a “Free JavaOne” initiative…
Who am I?
I am an independent consultant specializing in Java EE with clients across the greater Philadelphia and New York metropolitan areas. These days I am focused on the Resin EJB 3.1 Lite/Java EE 6 Web Profile implementation. I am the co-author of "EJB 3 in Action" from Manning Publishing. I was a member of the Java EE 6 and EJB 3.1 expert groups. I am also a frequent speaker at seminars, conferences and Java user groups including JavaOne as well as an avid contributor to TSS.
The opinions here are solely my own and not the Resin team’s, Manning Publication’s or TechTarget’s.