James Governor's Monkchips

Wherefore Java at Java One. Microsoft and OSS: Increment or Tipping Point?

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“The Future is already here. Its just unevenly distributed”

– William Gibson

“Its easy to live in the future when everyone else is living in the past”

– James Governor

Over the last couple of years I have watched as Microsoft has made real and substantive changes in its approaches and attitudes to open source software, licensing and IP protection. But every time Microsoft makes an announcement I get the same calls from the same clients and reporters, seemingly surprised that Microsoft could do such a thing. The fact is people have a view of Microsoft that is hard to change. Its a lot harder to gain a good reputation than to lose a bad one. And Microsoft, more than any other company in the industry, has been the anti-OSS lightening rod.

This is partly by its actions, and partly by its words. Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates have both talked more FUD about open source, or at least been reported doing so, than.. well, anyone else in the world I guess.

But suffice to say the facts on the ground have changed a lot and the reality is ahead of perception right now. Good work has been done, but not recognised. It might as well be so much noise from a dog whistle, going in one ear and out the other.

I think I probably freaked a few people out by how gung-ho I was a while back when I twittered announcements from OSCON concerning Microsoft’s sponsorship of the Apache Software Foundation.

today feels kind of like the day ibm open sourced eclipse

Microsoft is an industry king maker and today it finally crowned open source

While I am obviously not saying Microsoft is going to open source all of its code, or even a large proportion of it, certainly open source is now part of business as usual at Microsoft. Which brings me to Java One next week.

Microsoft is keynoting. That’s right- Microsoft is to give a keynote at Java One. Now first off I have to say I have no idea what the content of the announcement will be, but I am led to believe there will be real news. This will not be a content free keynote. Given how much Microsoft and Sun have jointly invested in interoperability there hasn’t been that much news.

So what could it be?

  • Silverlight JavaFX interoperability? Certainly Adobe is in the sights of both technologies.
  • Something around the Sun JVM and distribution of same? This one seems likely, given how hard Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz has been pushing the Java distribution and volume story. IE through through the Java downloader? [nah that just crazy talk. ed.]
  • Azure to support Java? The spectre of Google App Engine running Java looms large. From a Microsoft perspective the last thing it wants to see is the entire Java community swanning off into the arms of Google’s cloud. Enemy of my enemy and all that.

I could speculate all day. Like I say – I don’t know what the announcement will be. But I won’t be surprised by it. Even if Microsoft is contributing some source code to Sun and its Java stack.

update: It wouldn’t be Java related per se, but this speculation has it that we could see news about Microsoft’s Geneva Identity and Sun OpenSSO.

disclosure: Microsoft and Sun are both clients. I will be at Java One, with Sun paying my T&E, so I will know more next week and report back to you, friends.

Not sure how the illustration suits the story, but its great, so I used it.


  1. what are the chances we’ll see Java on Azure announced next week? http://bit.ly/16eB0P
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  2. speculation on what Microsoft might announce at Java One from @monkchips http://is.gd/J7cZ (now with URL, apologies!)
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  3. Hi, James. Technically, MS already announced it is supporting Java with Azure. I say “technically” because when I last asked about it, they seemed reticent to admit the extent to which they are doing so. Though they didn’t want this piece of information to be public, they are funding the development of a Java SDK for .Net Services (one of the pieces of Azure). More here:


    Mary Jo

  4. @nickHodge wtf .. M$ Keynoting Java One??? http://bit.ly/ZYee0
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  5. worth reading: Wherefore Java at Java One. Microsoft and OSS: Increment or Tipping Point?:
    “The F.. http://tinyurl.com/n5sxgc
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  6. glassfish interoperability with/through Azure blammo! that’s the Microsoft keynote. http://bit.ly/16eB0P #communityone #azure #cloud #metro
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  7. “Its a lot harder to gain a good reputation than to lose a bad one” @monkchips #microsoft #whuffie #opensource http://bit.ly/4KyC1
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  8. […] acceptance of PHP as a language and a tool of the web can be seen PHP SDK for Windows Azure. The addition of Java in the Azure […]

  9. We’re excited about the FTW! showdown, and the game lounge. FarCry2, FTW!
    This comment was originally posted on David Crow

  10. Java is toast.

    Eight or so years ago there was a whole section, six shelves high with at lest 15 books on a shelf, at the Border’s Bookstore in Mt. Kisco. All were about Java.

    When I last checked, there were perhaps ten it total.

    This mirrors, more slowly, what has happened to Notes. When I went in 2004 for a book on writing a Notes app, there was only one. It wasn’t very good, but it was the only game in town.

    Java isn’t good, and it isn’t the only game in town …

    I recently bought an Ultraspack station, circa 1999, for under $100. It cost $30,000 a decade ago. It is an amazing piece of hw. Sun also had Java a decade ago.

    1) Java bytecode was needed then when bandwidth was low, and then only for browser apps.

    Otherwise Java should be directed in machine language for the target platform. IBM and Sun wasted well north of a hundred million dollars on dynamic compilation, when then should have harnessed the s/w to Moore’s Law by going directly to machine code.

    2) Since almost all computers then — and now — run Windows, Sun should have made MS their friend and not their enemy.

    Sun is history. I’m amazed Oracle even bother to host JavaOne.

    It should have been a wake, and thus should have been called


  11. […] wasn’t sure if I had read this correctly from James Governor’s blog post, so I reread it. Yes there it is, here I’ll quote it for you, if you don’t believe me, […]

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