JavaOne 06 DayOne
- By John K. Waters
The streets of San Francisco teem with orange-and-black, belogoed backpacks,
and a couple of short guys are waddling around the Moscone Center dressed as
It must be JavaOne .
Today is the opening day of the 11th annual migration of Java jocks to the
City by the Bay. For my money, the biggest news of the day—though not the
biggest surprise—was newly anointed CEO Jonathan Schwartz's official revelation
that Sun plans to open-source Java. Schwartz made the announcement during his
conference-opening keynote. ''The question is not whether we will open-source
Java,'' he told a cheering crowd of conference attendees. ''The question is
And when. When?
Later, Schwartz was nearly as forthcoming during his post-keynote press
Q&A. Open-sourcing Java ''grows the tent,'' he said. ''It grows the market
opportunity. With respect to what happens next, that's the beauty of
open-source: you just don't know.''
We'll, we just don't know, because you just won't tell
Still, I get it. Sun is the guardian, but there's a community to consult. Sun's new EVP of
software, Richard Green, who rejoined the company earlier this month, joined Schwartz onstage
and talked about two ''battling forces:'' the demand for Sun to open up Java,
and the Java community's concerns about future compatibility. ''This is
something for us to go figure out,'' Green said.
Frankly, I've never been 100% convinced that Java needs to be open-sourced. I
mean, it's inevitable and all that, and I'm all for openness, given the
indisputable advantages of that remarkable model, tapping as it does so
effectively into what author James Surowiecki so perfectly dubbed ''the wisdom of
crowds.'' And I, too, have often asked why it's necessary for Sun to maintain
proprietary ownership of Java. But I also have to ask, what exactly is broken
about the Java Community Process? Aside from terminating the hectoring
entreaties of certain IBM execs, what exactly does open-sourced Java get us?
Speaking of whom: Rod Smith, IBM's VP of emerging
technology, issued a statement following the Schwartz announcement, which I
received via email: ''IBM applauds Sun's action to commit to open sourcing Java,
as the technology can thrive from collaborative innovation,'' Smith said in the statement. ''For more than
10 years, Java has grown in popularity, but the rate
and pace of innovation has been limited by the degree of
openness Sun was then willing to embrace. IBM's offer from two years ago still
stands to help Sun open source Java.''
Nice that Big Blue wants to lend a hand to move the process along. Very
But in truth, we're well on the road to OpenSourceJavaville. Big hunks of Java
have already been released under Sun's Common Development and Distribution
License (CDDL). There's OpenSolaris, for which Schwartz is largely responsible.
And Sun announced today that it is contributing even more of its software to
open source, including Java Studio Creator, NetBeans Profiler, NetBeans
Mobility, NetBeans Matisse, Web Services Interoperability Toolkit, BPEL engine
(open sourced into Open ESB), and Sun Java System Portal.
Other stuff from DayOne:
Buzzword of the show: AJAX—by a mile. Lot's of
had a whole conference on AJAX about a week ago. Everybody's talking about it,
and everybody's using it or planning to. (It's even buzzing next door at the
Best new acronym: EPIC, which stands for Eclipse
Plug-in Central, and which, to be completely accurate, isn't exactly new. EPIC
is a Web portal created in 2004 by the EPIC Alliance, which consisted of three
Eclipse Foundation member companies: Genuitec, Innoopract, and Instantiations.
At least one report I saw suggested that EPIC was now ''merging'' with
eclipse.org, but the Eclipse Foundation's executive director, Mike Milinkovich,
explained to me that, in fact, EPIC is simply coming under Foundation
''Those three companies have long been leaders in the add-in provider
community,'' he said, ''and they've been shouldering the burden of keeping the
portal up and alive for two years. Both they and we thought that this seemed
like a good opportunity to enlarge the Eclipse ecosystem and make more
capabilities available to everyone in it.''
The portal provides a central repository where developers, vendors, and
enterprises can find open-source and commercial plug-ins, tools, and add-on
services to enhance their Eclipse development. The two extant URLs—EPIC's www.eclipseplugincentral.com and
the Foundation's www.eclips.org—will
Subtlest in-your-face fashion statement: JBoss CEO Marc
Fleury's bright red beret. Fleury wore the chapeaux as he took the
stage during Schwartz's conference opener to announce that JBoss (recently
acquired by Red Hat) would be joining the NetBeans community. Schwartz presented
Fleury with a T-shirt that read ''I love NetBeans.''
See, it was a beret, not a fedora, which is Red Hat's symbol, and Fleury is kind of
an independent guy and French. Too subtle?
Most disappointing presentation: John Gage's conference
opener. Gage, who is Sun's venerable Chief Researcher and Director of the
Science Office, has been opening these shows forever. He has always served as a
kind of Obi-Wan Kenobi, gently admonishing attendees—many of whom, let's face
it, find social situations somewhat challenging and need a little nudge—to get
out there and meet people and make the most of the conference. (My favorite Gage
advice: ''Eat lunch with people you do not know!'' A simple, powerful strategy
from one well acquainted with the dark forces of the tech conference.) But this
year, Dr. Gage spent so much time on the online Schedule Builder that he began
to devolve from conference guru to cruise director. I know... I know... Standing
room only at the sessions, pre-registration necessary, blah-blah-blah... But
come on. Gage's best advice this year: ''Always carry a pen,'' for making
last-minute additions to that freakin
Best thing at the show for well-insulated reporters: The
AC in Moscone is cranked. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached