My Oracle Pronouncements for Java
style="float: left; margin-right: 1em;" />As everyone knows from yesterday
morning's news, Oracle has made an offer to buy Sun Microsystems, Sun has
accepted, and the acquisition is expected to go through by the summer.
The Java blogosphere seemed pretty happy when IBM was rumored to acquire
Sun. IBM has made many contributions to the Java infrastructure, embraced open
source well before Sun, and, with the release of Eclipse to a independent
foundation, showed more confidence in open governance than Sun. Everyone
expected them to be a good steward of Java. With Oracle, the mood seems less
optimistic. Of course, Oracle has made contributions such as the EclipseLink
JPA implementation and the href="http://wiki.apache.org/myfaces/Trinidad">Trinidad JSF library, but
they pale in comparison with IBM. And some developers are clearly weirded out
by Larry Ellison... alt="" src="http://weblogs.java.net/blog/cayhorstmann/archive/larry-ellison.jpg" width="111" height="101"
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There have been many questions and guesses what will happen to various
pieces of Java and other open source technologies that Sun has. Here are my
guesses. It will be interesting to come back in a year and see how many of
these I called right, and where I was way off.
MySQL. There has been a lot of talk how this is surely the
end of MySQL—Oracle will just let it wither on the vine or kill it
outright. Well, I don't think so. Suppose someone can't use MySQL any longer.
Would they say “aw shucks, then I'll just have to fork over the money for
an Oracle database”? No, they'd first have a look at a MySQL fork or
PostgreSQL. I think Oracle will be smart, keep MySQL as an entry level product,
and use it to get consulting revenues and an upsell opportunity. MySQL actually
seems a better match for Oracle than Sun because Sun never had that upsell
Java 7. There have been
that Sun is busy working on a JDK 7 without moving forward on a JSR
for Java 7 because they don't want to get into a fight with IBM and
Apache about TCK licensing. Will Oracle see the light, let Apache use the TCK, and
then go back to using the JSR process, which despite its flaws is a lot more
transparent than what is currently happening with JDK 7? I would like to see
that happen, but I don't think so. Oracle just paid good money for the right to
do whatever they want to do with Java, and I fear it will take some time until
they understand that the best thing they can do is to let go.
seem to think that Netbeans is a goner too. After all, Oracle has its own IDE,
JDeveloper. Come on, people. Have you ever used JDeveloper??? I am sure Oracle
realizes that developers have stayed away in droves, and that you can't force
the unwilling to use it. If Netbeans were to die, Eclipse would be the winner,
not JDeveloper. Instead, this is a golden chance for Oracle to get rid of the
JDeveloper albatross and switch to Netbeans.
Glassfish. The conventional wisdom is that Oracle just paid
a bundle for BEA, so they don't want Glassfish to succeed. I am not so sure.
Oracle wants Java EE to succeed, and Glassfish is the reference implementation,
so they can't very well ditch it. In the past, Glassfish acquired high-end
features such as clustering, and I would expect that trend to stop. Still, it
is in Oracle's interest that people use Glassfish and not JBoss for their
entry-level Java EE projects, and I expect that it will remain a viable
JavaFX. I predict it won't survive. The beancounters will
want to cut something, and this is the obvious candidate. It's not making
money, it isn't making visible inroads against Flash or Silverlight, and in
general Oracle doesn't have much interest in client-side software. I am not the
only one with this brilliant insight, so if Oracle does intend to keep it
going, they really need to make some reassuring announcement very, very soon. What worries
me is the state of client-side Java in general. Sun has done a rather poor job
with the thankless and expensive task of building a reliable Windows
installer/updater. Is Oracle committed to putting more resourcees behind that
effort? If not, the future for client-side Java is bleak.
OpenSolaris. Oracle has said that they want to integrate
Solaris and the database products and deliver an integrated solution with
hardware, OS, app server, and a database. Solaris makes a lot more sense for
Oracle than for IBM. Do they want to keep it open? I am afraid it's not a high
VirtualBox. Your guess is as good as mine. I really like
VirtualBox, but I don't understand why Sun bought it in the first place.
OpenOffice. As an OpenOffice user, I am grateful to Sun for
having it brought along this far. I hope it gets more love and attention in the
future, but I see no reason why it should, except that Larry might want to