Someone moved my coffee…”


‘Father Of Java’ resigns – Not every resignation at top level causes so much unrest among the developer community. Its not like deputy chief minster of Maharashtra resigning and you’re shrugging it off as it happens”! “बडे, बडे शहरों मे ऐसी छोटी, छोटी बातें होती रहती है!” 😉

James Gosling

Anyway! As reported on his blog on Friday, 10th April, James Gosling, the creator of the Java programming language, has resigned from Oracle. Of course, James Gosling will remain “father Of Java”, irrespective of whether he works for Sun/Oracle or not. Apparently, he resigned on 2nd April and hasn’t accepted any offer yet. As he mentions, he will move on and definitely it would be interesting to see what he takes up next!

However, what really sounds disturbing is this statement on his blog –

“As to why I left, it’s difficult to answer: Just about anything I could say that would be accurate and honest would do more harm than good.”

People at his level don’t usually speak in that tone when they leave, they are far more diplomatic & politically correct. Though, I admire him for being blunt than usual stereotype exit interview answers, I am equally concerned, rather worried when someone like him puts statement like this on his blog. And when you extrapolate that with news on 8th April 2010 about top management at Sun India quitting, one wonders if this is just tip of the iceberg. It has been a stupendous grown from Oak to where Java stands today. James Gosling is *NO* Bill gates and as you’d know what it means; one really starts to wonder what it means for Java now. Maybe, it’s just difference in perception – a conflict between what Oracle wants to do with Java Vs. what Gosling wanted it to be. Probably, Java would never be the same again. We will have to wait and watch what plans Oracle has for Java and how JCP shapes up in the next few months, years…

There are two aspects to it. One, for Java programmers/developers these are probably early signs to explore and get actively involved in other technologies. (I am experimenting with Ruby & RoR myself!) After all, you’re a programmer first and then Java/.NET/Blah..Blah programmer.

Likewise, it’s also time for organizations to rethink their product technologies keeping in mind Java’s future. And not to forget that Oracle now also owns MySQL. Obviously, there is huge industry support for Java and it’s not going to die, at least not so soon. But what Java and relate technologies shape into ultimately is unclear now and probably Oracle doesn’t seem to have clear vision about Java, or at least they have failed to communicate that effectively since their acquisition.

Second, and more disturbing aspect I foresee with latest events is emergence (or rather prominence, or is it dominance? I am confused here with choice of words!) of two giants in the form of Google & Oracle besides the known devil Microsoft. To me, their strategies seem…rather unfriendly to put it mildly at this point. here is enough criticism against Microsoft already and let’s not even discuss history with their OS & IE. Google has been criticized often for spying too much and it’s often scary to see how accurately the advertisements are delivered when you’re reading your mail in GMail. Oracle probably will grow into an enormous giant soon…only time will tell how friendly or hostile it turns out with its strategies and whether it enjoys love of developer community like Java did.

I don’t really understand law much, but I often wonder how thin is the line between capturing large market share and trespassing ‘Antitrust Laws’ . One can’t help but recall Microsoft with Windows & more notoriously with Internet Explorer.

Only time will tell what latest events ultimately imply in the long run. I hope, Oracle will treat Java with the love it deserves, but maybe they didn’t treat Gosling too well. Perhaps it’s premature to be gloomy, and in fact it could be totally uncalled for. But James Gosling’s resignation, especially with the cited quote certainly puts a doubt in every Java lover’s mind.

For some unknown reason, I am feeling low after reading this news. That’s the kind of feeling I experienced when I left my very first Job in the organization that I loved so much. It doesn’t happen often. I am up late tonight, just recollecting first commercial Applet game that I coded with Java 1.1, the duke logo I painted on my T-Shirt, the excitement to see my work getting included in Khalid Mughal’s Java book and that Sun Certified Logo on my older business card. Hmm… I am getting nostalgic & sentimental…Like I said, it doesn’t happen often these days!

Anyway! Things change, and someone moves your cheese… or shouldn’t I say coffee? 😦

© Manish Hatwalne

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