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Sun+IBM ==> What does it mean for Java?

Posted by robogeek on April 4, 2009 at 8:44 PM PDT

I've been gone from Sun for a little while now but of course I'm still interested in Java, and thankfully still have access to this blog. Anyway the recent news about IBM pondering buying Sun has piqued my interest.

To me the potential hookup seems like a bad idea. Sun plays a useful role in the computer industry as an independent company, that would be lost if woven into IBM. And the tremendous overlap between Sun+IBM leaves me scratching my head over what they could be thinking. Unfortunately Sun has run into some more serious trouble than they were already in.

Whatever the business stuff is being done.. the real puzzle is whether IBM will be a better steward of Java than Sun has been.

I really don't know.. Wonder what is on everybody's mind.

Here's a few items I'm finding in recent blog/news searches..

Dana Blankenhorn talks about The failure of McNealy's ponytail strategy .. the enterprise storage forum thinks IBM-Sun Merger Appears Near (with an announcement on monday) .. In JavaWorld they interviewed a bunch of folk about If IBM owns Java ... James Gosling is quoted warning of James Gosling warns of ‘culture clash’ if IBM buys Sun ... is predicting IBM And Sun: There Will Be Blood ... And C|NET's staff have written several articles about Envisioning Sun on IBM's horizon

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El Reg also carries the news, but quotes the WSJ rather than the NYT...

Hmm, Maybe the IBM deal has fallen through... makes for interesting reading, especially seeing Ashlee Vance's name there as I had been accustomed to seeing him writing for The Register.

Hi David, I agree that it would be nice for Sun to go on as independent company. However, I am not sure if that is still possible given recent events. Regarding Java, it's hard to predict what kind of steward IBM intends to be, but I can see some pros and cons. On one side, IBM may be less protective than Sun, which I believe is a good thing (e.g. the Harmony problem may go away). Also, some of the division that exists in the Java world today may disappear (Swing vs SWT, Netbeans vs Eclipse, OSGi vs Jigsaw). On the other side, it's unclear if IBM will invest as much as Sun in the platform (particularly when it comes to client-side technologies like JavaFX). Interesting times, for sure. Best, Ismael