Ben Evans and I recently spoke at the Scandinavian Developers Conference on Java 7 and polyglot programming on the JVM. We also had a fun afternoon on a panel discussing "Whether the community or the corporations will control Java in the future". That discussion probably deserves it own blog post, but more interestingly we spent a long time talking to Henrik Stahl from Oracle.
Henrik is Oracle's director of Java platform strategy - and an official spokesperson from Oracle, able to pronounce on behalf of Oracle regarding Java. Henrik was able to give us the following insights (some of which you may have heard before):
- Oracle is very committed to Java and sees it as essential to their future.
- An open, vibrant community is an essential part of that future, in fact it's the community that'll determine what standard technologies and techniques should go into the std platform (SE/EE).
- The JVM will remain open and free _forever_, and additional technologies will be incorporated and open-sourced as appropriate.
- Oracle is looking for willing partners in the community to engage and be part of the conversation - and they are listening.
Some other points:
- Oracle is a much larger company than Sun and will not rush out any communication which is "half-baked". This leads to *much* longer response times, and so the community should not jump to conclusions just because Oracle hasn't responded yet. They're aware of the problem here and are trying to fix it.
- Oracle are trying to unify the licensing position around all Java products. This is taking time because Oracle do not have as many lawyers per capita as Sun did. Sun used several different licenses and disentangling is hard. Oracle are trying to simplify and be more open. The fun quote here was that "Oracle does not have enough Lawyers."
- Oracle want the JCP to be more open than Sun did - the current form is being revised so e.g. all Expert Group discussions (except for the procedural arrangements of who's free at what time / place for physical meetings) must be conducted in public.
- A lot of *really* neat JRockit technology is coming to OpenJDK. It's going to take time, but some of the stuff which is coming is going to make the VM better than ever.
- Oracle are hiring in a number of areas, including people to work on the core language, VM and overall strategy.
Hopefully that helps you understand some of Oracle's strategy going forward.
We're hoping to get Patrick Curran (JCP Chair) to come and speak at an LJC event and kick off a practical program where _you_ can get involved in determining the future of Java and its ecosystem and help influence Oracle to make decisions that will benefit all of us in our weorking careers.
Martijn & Ben