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My new role in the Java industry

Posted by monsonhaefel on July 19, 2004 at 7:52 AM PDT

This is probably the last blog entry I will be making here on Java.net. I plan to move my blog to my own Web site and maintain a lower profile in the industry. In fact, this blog entry is to announce a change in my relationship with the Java community. Although I will remain a very intersected observer and occasional commenter, I will not continue to be a Java activist.

As I reported in a previous blog I accepted a position as Sr. Analyst for Burton Group. I’m still pretty new to that organization but I’ve never failed to be impressed by the level of integrity they demand from their staff. Shortly after signing on I was asked to sign an 8 page document agreeing to maintain neutrality in the industry. Many analyst firms engage in dubious pay-to-play projects with vendors, such as writing “white papers” that are essentially vendor marketing materials falsely presented as independent analysis. Burton Group doesn’t do that kind of work (and never has); their customers are predominately end users companies, not vendors. In fact, vendors that do subscribe to their analysis services do so to learn more about future trends –Burton Group never writes vendor reports for hire.

Anyway, this desire for neutrality is pervasive through out Burton Group. In fact, when I was discussing working for them they told me that their analysts tend avoid active involvement in organizations that might bias their opinions. In my case, it was thought that my position on the JCP Executive Committee and my work on various JSRs (including EJB and J2EE) was a conflict of interest. How can I fairly analyze an industry for which I am a booster, advocate, and active participant? Burton Group didn’t require me to resign from these activities as a condition of employment, but the question they posed gave me pause. Before I joined them, I decided that it was in the best interest of our clients that I maintain independence.

Originally, I had planned to send a letter to each JSR, the JCP EC, and open source projects announcing my resignation. I still plan to do this, but it occurred to me that my allegiance belongs first and foremost to the end user community, so I’m announcing my resignations in a venue that is public rather than private. (The exception is the EJB 3.0 (JSR 220) expert group from which I resigned a couple weeks ago.)

As of today, I am resigning from the JCP Executive Committee, all JSRs in which I’m involved, and the Geronimo and OpenEJB open source projects. I will no longer participate in these organizations, except as an outside analyst, and I will not join any other organizations that may be perceived as a conflict of interest.

I believe, in my heart, that I’m taking the high road. That I’m being true to my mission for Burton Group. I know that there will be a lot of people who will second guess my motives – we live in an industry in which the truth is, well … often ignored in favor of FUD and self-advantage. That’s fine, but for those who know me know that I’ve been truthful in this blog entry.

Thanks to everyone who has read my books, e-mailed me their opinions, and have supported me throughout my Java career. Thank you also to those who do not agree with me: In most cases you have given me a different perspective on issues and have had a positive influence on my thinking.

Although I’m changing my involvement in the Java community, I will continue to voice my opinions on things that I, and my clients, feel are important. I’ll be writing reports on J2EE and Java as well as other topics. Hopefully, my industry experience will provide value to our customers … time will tell.

Thank you,

Richard