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JavaOne - X - The Age of Participation

Posted by dmax69 on June 27, 2005 at 3:26 PM PDT

The Age of Participation.

That's was the focus of the Jonathan Schwartz keynote this morning. The Age of Participation ... presumably not named for the book by the same name, published in 1995. Is it a coincidence that the title of a decade old book emerged as the theme for the 10 year anniversary of Java? Hmmmm.

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Okay. So it's a new age. I didn't know. I guess I was supposed to be thinking that we were still mired in the Information Age .... not.

Talk about lame. I can't believe a marketing machine as savy as Sun's couldn't do better than "The Age of Participation." Not only is it lame, it seriously begs the question. Beneath the Age of Participation nonsense is a not-so-subtle message that everyone, each and every unique soul on the planet, has something of value to offer in this wonderous new age.

What crap. First rate baloney. Despite rumors to the contrary,the "it's all good" ethic that seems to permeate just about everything we are fed in these interesting times is a blatant lie: it is most assuredly NOT all good. Some things are just plain bad. But I digress. The politically correct smell of "The Age of Participation" and the rhetoric supporting it was offensive to at least one blogger this year.

One thing Schwartz said was fascinating – something to the effect that all Sun's software assets would become open source in due course. Now THAT would be real news ... not the social awareness handwaving that Schwartz spent way too many slides professing. Last year I heard a Schwartz that was Lord of the Ring Tones, exclaiming the money-making virtues of the Java Platform – which is the only really sound social engineering strategy that actually works anyway. The crap this year is either a red herring or a New Age apologetics that just doesn't work in the forum in which it was played. Where is Ayn Rand when you really need her?

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At least John Gage was back as chief father-figure – he was MIA last year. Alas, he seems to have fallen prey to an out-of-control bottle of Grecian Formula, but his staid presence was sorely missed in 2004 and most welcome this year regardless of apparal.

Lots of lines at JavaOne ... there are more of us this year than last. The economy must have improved. Perhaps it's the 10 year thing that brought the crowd this year --- or perhaps interopererability with Microsoft is the thing, with McNealy having finally buried the hatchet with Ballmer and company. Or maybe it's just me. But there does seem to be more in attendance this year than last ... still not as many as the hey-day, pre-bubble-pop 2000 JavaOne. But more than 2004.

Last year Sun employees working the event wore red shirts. This year they are back in a yam-like orange and a light blue. Now I'm wondering if last year's colors were a subtle nod to the red states in what was destined to be a compelling Bush victory. And now that the race is decided, it's back to the old blue state zeitgeist that has long been the hallmark of Sun propoganda, with a touch of yam, just to keep it interesting.

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It seems the Kool-Aid (from nearly a decade in Sun's direct employment) has finally worn off.

Somewhere between a plitically correct political convention and a theme park with coding seminars is what JavaOne has become in this tenth instantiation of JavaOne.

I've seen a number of people I knew during my time with Sun – I probably have even more regard for them now that enough time has passed for me to remember those days with a touch of meloncholy. Friends and acquaintances are, in the end, much more important than technologies or markets in any event.

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