Mr Bray continues to have a positive impact on Sun, and his latest important contribution is to help consolidate and crystallize the company’s thinking on languages other than Java. The status quo was not an option. The context is dynamic language support.
Java is not just a language–it is way more than that. And Sun really needs to reach out to the dynamic language crowd. Tim points to .NET’s multilanguage support as an obvious differentiator over Java. The same could be said of Eclipse, which has become a place for IBM to instantiate Cobol, for example.
When you hire an outsider and give ‘em enough rope sometimes they tie loose ends up rather nicely, rather than hang themselves. Tim is evidently using the extra rope to make a lassoo. If he can corral some of the dynamic language crowd with it Sun’s life will be far easier. For one thing, the OReillyverse might be less critical of Sun’s strategy and approach. That is, the kind of folks solidly behind Parrot, PERL, Python and so on are a vocal and influential minority. With Sun’s client and web interaction ambitions it makes great deal of sense to start a dialogue with these exponents of the flow…
And its getting really boring hearing how Sun is “against” this that and the other development platform. Like somehow Apache is not a Java platform. Tim can help head this frame off, and he is getting buy in from management too.
Java is a set of connected ecosystems and set of associated runtimes. It is an architecture of participation. And now Tim is trying to get the dynamic folks to join the club…
So here is the inside skinny
“Even if Sun didn’t approve of other languages on the Java platform, they’d happen anyhow. I approve, and when I started going around Sun asking, it turned out that everyone I asked did too. So I asked Graham Hamilton, who’s kind of at the centre of the Java universe, if he thought it would be a good idea to bring in a roomful of dynamic-language experts to help us figure out how Java could be made a better home. Graham did, and also pointed out that since we just shipped the 1.5 “Tiger” release and are early on in the planning phase for the next, right now would be a good time.”
One particularly interesting idea put forward is a JSR for a managed Java to dynamic language binding. J2SE 7.0 could start to get really interesting. Whatever next–Sun to endorse Mono?
Sometimes it takes an outsider to really clarify the situation.
TB: “I confidently predict that as time goes by, more and more of the code written in the Java ecosystem won’t be in Java. This is a good thing.”
Amen Brother. Actions speak louder than blogs.