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AWS Gets Gosling

James Gosling, the Father of Java, is on the move again. This time, according to a public post on Facebook, it's Amazon Web Services.

"It's time for a change," Gosling wrote. "I'm leaving Boeing Defense (nee Liquid Robotics), with many fond memories. Today I start a new Adventure at Amazon Web Services."

He also updated his LinkedIn profile with a generic AWS job title: "software engineer." He described his new gig this way: "Now I'm wandering around at Amazon Web Services."

Gosling, who was unavailable for comment as of this writing, has had a lively career since Oracle acquired his long-time employer, Sun Microsystems, back in 2010. The former Sun Fellow signed on briefly as CTO of Oracle's client software group, but left the company later that year for a short stint at Google. In 2011 he landed at Liquid Robots, a maker of "autonomous, ocean going platforms" acquired by Boeing last year. In 2014 he joined the platform development advisory team of Java/PHP Platform-as-a-Service provider Jelastic.

Gosling, who is credited with inventing the Java programming language in 1994, was one of the highest profile former Sun employees to leave Oracle following the $7.5 billion acquisition. CEO Jonathan Schwartz, chairman and co-founder Scott McNealy, director of Web technologies Tim Bray, and open source evangelist Simon Phipps never made the transition.

I asked around about Gosling's latest transition, and one Java watcher expressed what I found to be a consensus among those who care about such things: "Guys like Gosling will stay at a place only so long as they're able to do 'their work' (whatever that work is at the moment). When they start running into barriers -- orgs, funding, culture, etc. -- they find more welcoming venues and carry on." Another one put it this way: "The guy is semi-retired and jumping from one interesting thing to another."

From the company's point of view, Redmonk analyst Stephen O'Grady suggested, hiring Gosling could be about courting enterprise Java customers, leveraging his IoT expertise from Liquid Robotics, or just giving him room to experiment.

"Whatever the reality," he said in an e-mail, "it's an interesting and high-profile hire for AWS, one that will have PR benefits beyond whatever he can contribute technically."

Posted by John K. Waters on 05/23/2017 at 7:16 AM


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