James Governor's Monkchips

JavaOne: Peace breaks out between IBM and Sun

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And not a moment too soon.

Both companies can achieve so much more by Participating and Sharing than whining and sniping.

RedMonk noticed Bob Sutor saying good things about Sun lately. But at JavaOne the ice was melting fast.

Sun and IBM created Java in the first place. The Java ecosystem could not have happened without the participation of both companies. Others such as BEA contributed greatly, but IBM and Sun were the necessary conditions for success.

Seems like there are some adults in charge after all. Hats off to Steve Mills, IBM software group supremo, and Jonathan Schwartz, Sun COO. But also operational props to Robert LeBlanc, WebSphere GM. He did a great job of internal politics at Tivoli, improving relations between IBM’s management software division and the eServer folks. He has apparently worked the charm from an external political perspective, working with Johnny Loiacano, Sun software executive vice president, to get things moving.

So IBM and Sun are signing a new 11 year deal, bringing some Spinal Tap to the relationship. Its no exaggeration to say that a deal between the two could, and probably should, propel Java forward for the next ten years. Certainly IBM’s participation is a major shot in the arm for the Java Community Process. Of the major dissenting voices, arguing for a major change in Java stewardship, one has just been effectively neutralized. Maybe a managed transition to more open sourcery is a good idea after all.

Sun’s server sales folks got something rather spiffy out of the horse-trading too. IBM formally announced support for Solaris 10 on x86. This deal would have happened sooner rather than later based on customer pressure, but for enterprise planning horizons just got a little easier. Ah the sweet smell of maturity, rather than the sweet smell of manurity…

Today doesn’t seem like a great day for Microsoft, even if it is participating in JavaOne this year. After all – anything that divides the Java tribes is a good thing from a Redmond perspective. The last thing the empire wants to see is a unification of Java tribes, and a resurgent JCP.

Having said all that, one of the most intriguing elements of news was that Sun is explictly targeting and tracking the Avalon graphics subsystem in Longhorn with its next major Java Standard Edition release: Mustang developers will be able to build apps with native Longhorn look and feel. This move may even serve to push back a little against the Eclipse advantage of native platform look and feel. A shrewd move on Sun’s part then, the kind of thing to ensure its relevance going forward.

Sun also announced it is open sourcing some of its ESB componentry. This announcement comes soon after the news that the Objectweb consortium is moving ahead with Celtix. Everyone else is apparently validating JBoss’ business model, but in doing so they are ready to ratchet up the competitive pressure. JBoss has plenty of runway left with customers ready to engage on its service model, but it is less unique in its approach now, and sees competitors making more noise around open source ESB.

But as Simon Phipps says, the savannah is big, and there is more than one watering hole out there.

If this blog seems overly positive maybe there is something in the water hole. IBM as a platinum sponsor and unabashed supporter of the JCP- whatever next?

I am looking forward to some beers at the Thirsty Bear, another capacious watering hole. A good day – if i was a news reporter i could have filed like five or six stories. I am glad i am not under that gun any more.

[Note to Simon on Java Bloggers– Calvin gives you a 404, and Gerald is blogging about installing Whidbey!]

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