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Oracle's JavaOne Underway: Mixed Reviews So Far

At last year's Oracle OpenWorld, Oracle co-president Charles Phillips promised that the annual JavaOne conference, a touchstone event for Java jocks around the world, would continue as a stand-alone conference, though it would be co-located with OpenWorld. A year later, here we are at the annual Oracle show, and I'd have to say that Big O's idea of "co-located" differs a bit from mine.

Renamed JavaOne/Oracle Develop, the event is underway this week in San Francisco, but instead of its traditional Moscone Center home, the show has been shifted to the Hilton San Francisco off of Union Square half a mile away.

I think Robert Mullins described the event and its implications aptly in his blog: "Holding a separate event at a different venue makes it seem like Oracle is seating JavaOne at the equivalent of the kids' table and could feed the concern of skeptics who wondered how well Oracle would support open source software that would be competition for its more profitable licensed software."

The Twitterstream was burbling with mixed reviews of Day One of the new JavaOne event.

John Rizzo of San Rafel, California wrote: "At JavaOne. Even though we have been pushed to a side show Oracle is still spending more on JavaOne then Sun has in a long time." But Palo Alto, California-based attendee Dion Almaer wrote: "JavaOne at the Hilton, not Moscone, is painful. At least it exists, but I will go Devoxx instead :)"

Organizers of the main event, Oracle OpenWorld, are claiming the largest turnout ever, with 41,000 attendees. The annual Oracle show is taking up all three wings of the Moscone Convention Center, not to mention Howard street between Moscone North and South.

Although  none of the top Oracle execs will be speaking directly to JavaOne attendees -- Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and co-president Safra Catz spoke Sunday night at Moscone, and new co-president Mark Hurd is scheduled to speak later this week -- Oracle EVP of Product Development Thomas Kurian will be speaking at JavaOne later this afternoon (Monday). His topic: "Java Strategy and Directions." He's scheduled to "share Oracle's vision for strengthened investment and innovation in Java and describe how Java will continue to grow as the most powerful, scalable, secure, and open platform for the global developer community."

And the content planned for this year's JavaOne… I mean JavaOne/Oracle Develop… looks good. Lots of sessions on Java Enterprise Edition, the MySQL database, the GlassFish Server and other Java tech. And inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil will be giving a special JavaOne keynote on Thursday morning.

IDC analyst Al Hilwa, who's in San Francisco this week for the event, offered me some perspective on the combined conferences: " I think Oracle's strategy will evolve over time," he told me. "While it's not convenient to be in a separate location, there's just so much you can do at the Moscone. OOW was already the biggest thing happening here and way overstretched even before JavaOne, so it's clearly not an ideal situation. Oracle has to figure out how important for them it is to have these things at the same time. In my opinion, the developer audience deserves their own JavaOne developer events, however, it is clearly a tradeoff, because the atmosphere and energy generated by the scale of OOW is almost unique in the industry."

I get that the choice to hold JavaOne at the Hilton is probably about logistics. Both events are biguns and they can't occupy the same space without ripping a hole in the space-time continuum. But it still sucks a little.

More later. Stay tuned.

Posted by John K. Waters on 09/20/2010 at 10:53 AM


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