Word on the street is that Oracle is getting rid of their evangelists.
There's no official statement yet from Oracle, so it's impossible to know exactly what is going on, but according to a bevy of Facebook updates and Twitter messages from people on the inside, it looks like a number of popular Java, Cloud and IoT evangelists have been let go and not reassigned to other positions within the company.
Is evangelism dead at Oracle?
This shouldn't imply that every Java evangelist at Oracle is now looking for work somewhere else. Oracle lists people like Stephen Chin, Brian Goetz and Henrik Stahl as members of the evangelists team, and it would be difficult to believe that those people have been asked to leave Oracle, as they are stalwarts who are more than just evangelists with the company - it would be hard to see Oracle just releasing such seasoned professionals. But it does appear that some very talented members of the evangelism team, including Simon Ritter, Mark Heckler and Jim Weaver are being let go. So is Java evangelism dead at Oracle?
A shout out goes to Infoworld's Paul Krill for publishing a story on this on Friday, September 4th. I was watching a few tweets, and seeing if any of the Java evangelists I know were going to push out anything on social media, but not seeing anything affirmative, I was coy to publish anything. Infoworld certainly took the lead on this one, as did the Register:
Sources: Oracle releases Java evangelists - Infoworld
Oracle laying off its Java evangelists? Er, no comment, says Oracle - The Register
This is a bit unsettling...
The first indication I'd seen of the news was Kirk Pepperdine's tweet on the topic on Friday. Pepperdine is a JVM performance expert, a definite go-to expert for TheServerSide, and his status as a Java Champion gives him access to private online forums not available to those of us who have not been bestowed with such an honor. Since many Java evangelists are also Champions, the inside scoop was likely dished out in there:
"Unsettling event at Oracle. All of the Java evangelists have been let go. Sad this happened to a great dedicated enthusiastic group" - Kirk Pepperdine Tweet
As a quasi-confirmation, Mark Heckler, one of Oracle's developer evangelists, had Tweeted on September 2nd that he was looking for work, and a Reddit thread on the topic indicated that a September 3rd, public Facebook post by cloud evangelist Simon Ritter stated that he would be soon "joining the ranks of the unemployed" along with members of his team who had not seen the dismissals coming.
The cynical are suggesting that you only evangelize when you have new ideas, and this is simply an indication that Oracle has run out of them. The .NET developers are suggesting that Oracle is getting rid of the evangelism team and replacing them with Java apologists. And everyone else is just shaking their heads at Oracle, thinking that perhaps they could learn a thing or two about timing, as making such a move with the community getting geared up for JavaOne just demonstrates a complete lack of vision in terms of what it means to support a development community.
If you have any more information on the topic, please post a comment, message me on Twitter or email me at cmckenzie at techtarget dot com.
Follow Cameron McKenzie on Twitter: @potemcam