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Oracle vs. Who's Next? – Press Pass

I talk with the press frequently. They thankfully whack down my ramblings into concise quotes. For those who prefer to see more, I try to dump publish slightly polished up conversations I have with press into this new category of posts: Press Pass.

I keep getting asked about the impact of Oracle’s Java and open source world moves on the state of things in those two spaces. You may recall a previous pass pass from John K. Waters seeking comment on Doug Lea departing the JCP.

Innovation happens elsewhere

Recently, John K. Waters once again asked for comment on all this, I believe for this piece. Here’s what I replied:

Coupled with Oracle’s suing Google over Google’s kinda-sorta Java runtime, Dalvick, and the stink around the Hudson project trying to move and Oracle trying to prevent them, people should now know what the expect from Oracle. They’re a very commercial software company and will use – even get involved in – open source if it positively effects ORCL revenue.

Clearly, the idea of letting members of any given “community” do things that Oracle disagrees with is something Oracle wants to prevent. And, really, I don’t hold it against them as a business. They bought Sun as an asset and, no doubt, in their eyes the more open parts of that asset are, the less control Oracle has over them, and, thus, the lower the value of that asset…and future ability to pull out profit.

That said, the Apache Software Foundation has done a tremendous amount over the years to make the Java world a better place. The web server (which is not Java), sure, but the vast array projects that implement standards and the other libraries have brought millions, if not more, in revenue to the Java world: Struts, Tomcat, and so forth. And now, many of the important and interesting projects in the Java world are housed at the ASF – Hadoop and Casandra to name two Big Data examples. Java developers and companies owe a lot to the ASF.

If the ASF, its members, and the projects withdrawal from participating in the official Java process, it’ll push Java innovation further from the control of the standards bodies and its patrons. If more people take their toys and leave, as it were, the sanctioned Java world will have less fun toys to play with. I don’t think that threatens Oracle, IBM, SAP, or any other member of the official Java world very much in the here and now. But, it does mean that some key innovators – not all – will seek new places to evolve Java (see the Spring Framework as a historic example of this occurring). That could mean less control, ironically, for people like Oracle and more hassle when they want to catch-up with and incorporate those innovations if their customers start demanding them, and are willing to pay for such innovations.

A whole lot more

Recently, in my personal podcast, (whose name should suggest to you the cursing and casual, amateurish nature there-in) I summarized the state of things and the (vague) impact I think Oracle’s moves (ASF leaving, trying to retain Hudson at is and will have. If you’re up for it, here’s about 40 minutes on the topic:

We also talk a tremendous amount about the business of enterprise software, enterprise IT, and developer relations as it relates to self-identifying (or not) with big companies like Oracle.

If you don’t want to sit here and watch the video above, you can download the audio directly, or subscribe to the podcast to get the audio.

That other guy is my old friend and co-host, Charles Lowell, of The Frontside Software.

Disclosure: the ASF is a client, as is IBM, Cloudera, and VMWare.

Categories: Enterprise Software, Java, Press Pass, Programming.

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