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Is Gosling Overshadowing Java Stewards?

Unless you were coding under a rock this week, you probably heard that Java's progenitor James Gosling held forth at TheServerSide Java Symposium in Las Vegas on the state of Java under Oracle. His comments were widely reported, including this one posted on TheServerSide.com:

"It's in [Oracle's] own self-interest to not be really aggressively stupid. But it's been clear that it's been something of a learning experience. It's been clear that they didn’t understand what they bought, what it meant to deal with communities and people and all the arguing and discussion and consensus building that’s involved in communities."

Receiving less press was a keynote by Steve Harris, Senior VP of Oracle's Application Server Development Group, and Adam Messinger, VP or the Oracle Fusion Middleware Group. The title of their talk was "Java in Flux: Utopia or Deuteronopia?"

Notwithstanding the unexpected coolness factor of using the title of an episode of the "Aeon Flux" anime series, or the many trips to a dictionary it undoubtedly triggered, Harris and Messinger covered well-trod territory: We've made some mistakes…we're sticking to our roadmap…converging the JRockit and Hotspot JVMs is a priority…look at all we've done with JDK7… we're working on Lambda…Java EE needs to be tenant-aware and service-enabled to support the cloud…Java ME is still important…we love the Java community, etc.

But here's the thing: Harris and Messinger are in the belly of the beast, so to speak, managing an awful lot of Java activities at Big O, so shouldn't the press be paying closer attention to what they're saying?

Harris joined Oracle in 1997 to manage development of the Java virtual machine for the Oracle8i release. He's the guy who called Java "the crown jewel" of the Sun acquisition. Messinger manages Oracle Coherence, JRockit, WebLogic Operations Control, and other web tier products. He lists his job on his LinkedIn profile as "Hacker."

"Oracle has a tradition of saying a few things and sticking by then, in contrast to Sun who was much more open," Messinger told conference attendees, according to TheServerSide. "We laid out the Java roadmap and are executing on it, and we hope that speaks to our commitment."

"Developers are restless, they want cloud functionality from their own IT department" Harris added. "With the cloud, the scope of problem has expanded to include the data center itself, with multiple tenants. To move forward, existing APIs in Java EE need to be updated to be tenant-aware, service-enabled, and EE needs to support various styles of deployment. The goal is to get all that done in Java EE 8."

Please note that I'm not implying that you shouldn't be following Gosling's activities. If you're not following his blog, NightHacks, you should be. But he's a big presence, literally and figuratively, and he shouldn't overshadow the current crew of Java stewards. Be sure to keep Harris and Messinger on your radar.

We certainly will.

Posted by John K. Waters on March 18, 2011