JavaOne drew the short straw
JAX-Chairman Sebastian Meyen comments on the status of this years JavaOne and talks about the changes the conference has undergone since Oracle´s acquisition of Sun.
Sebastian is Chief Content Officer at S&S Media. He has been actively involved with the IT industry for more than 10 years. As a journalist he is constantly in touch with thought leaders in software development and architecture. He is editor in chief of the German speaking Java Magazin and program chair of the JAX conferences since 2001. Prior to joining S&S Media, he studied philosophy and anthropology in Frankfurt, Germany.
JAX-Chairman Sebastian Meyen comments on the status of this year’s JavaOne and talks about the changes the conference has undergone since Oracle´s acquisition of Sun.
JAXenter: You’ve regularly
been to the JavaOne conferences since the 90s. Are you attending
JavaOne this year?
Sebastian Meyen: Actually, I’ve not been to San Francisco all that regularly, but it’s true that since 1999, I have attended JavaOne many times, just not every year. This year it didn´t fit in with my schedule, so I’m following the most important keynotes online – fortunately you can pretty much watch most of it almost live.
JAXenter: It’s now the second JavaOne under Oracle’s stewardship. What are your impressions?
Sebastian Meyen: JavaOne and the Moscone Center, this huge underground conference complex in San Francisco, have always formed a single unit. Inconceivable to the traditional Java community that JavaOne would one day not take place there anymore. But then, Oracle decided last year to organize JavaOne in parallel to its Oracle Open World. JavaOne drew the short straw, and the Oracle Conference occupies the Moscone center as of last year, while JavaOne has been relegated into a nearby Hilton. Unsurprisingly, many Java fans don´t like this very much.
JAXenter: What did you think of yesterday’s opening keynote?
Sebastian Meyen: I found it very sober, but let me explain why I say this. JavaOne has always been a bit of a myth for the Java community. Every year at JavaOne since the mid-1990s, Sun has evoked a fantastic team spirit, which the Americans in particular, are especially susceptible to. It all goes back to a time when Java developers could truly feel the better man via-à-vis the Microsoft developers; Java was more than a technology, it was an idea, almost a worldview. Java was not proprietary like the evil world of Microsoft, Java was a joint project that unified many players in the IT world and, last but not least, Java promoted open standards. It may sound silly today, but at a certain time Java stood for a better world.
Having in mind this pathos factor of former JavaOne events, what we saw yesterday was just a tired imitation of the legendary JavaOne keynotes. No live music before the session and a very sober speech by Adam Messinger, who somewhat quickly handed over to the sponsor, Intel.
No invocation of the spirit of the Java community, no appreciation of the Brazilian Java fans who year after year, showed their appreciation with noise and applause; gone are many of the much loved show elements.
Less show, but more substance – that wouldn´t be such a bad thing. However, in times of transparent roadmaps and release plans there shouldn´t be many substantial surprises anyway. On the contrary, I would be annoyed if there were surprises of a technical nature, because this would be proof that there is a problem with transparency in the community.
And yet I think this continued silence, of how it actually is with the Java Community Process, how relations with Spring, with the OSGi Alliance, with Android, are etc., is inappropriate. If there’s nothing to report in terms of technical sensations, then JavaOne would be at least a place to present new alliances, new concepts for innovation, collaboration, etc. This has been, unfortunately, entirely lacking yesterday, and because of this, I found the keynote very boring.
JAXenter: Were there any big announcements?
Sebastian Meyen: Not many. Intel has unveiled a couple of benchmarks that show how fast Java is running on its latest processors. Oracle provided info about Java 7 and 8 and the next Enterprise Edition, which will be dominated by PaaS. All of this has already been said several times, for example, almost verbatim at our California JAX Conference in late June.
One session had the GA version of JavaFX 2.0 and the JavaFX 2.0 Developer Preview 2.0 for Mac OSX. At some point during this presentation there was a brief moment of wonder and enthusiasm as the 3D animations that were being shown on the basis of JavaFX 2.0 were quite cool and ran smoothly across the stage. However, whether the world really needs JavaFX, remains to be seen. JavaFX was announced to get a direct support for HTML5, this could give the JavaFX technology, which has been announced repeatedly over the last four years, a bit more up-to-dateness.
Unfortunately the announcements in the domain of mobile technologies were very thin – a couple of new partnerships with telephone companies, some revised APIs, but nothing along the lines of the trendy multi-touch world, which one sees at most conferences nowadays. It’s a real pity that the Android topic, which is so important for the Java ecosystem, is virtually nonexistent.
JAXenter: What do you expect in general from this year’s JavaOne?
Sebastian Meyen: This question is difficult to answer. Oracle may have another ace up their sleeves and will announce an important message for the Java world, or maybe nothing else of note happens.
In any case, JavaOne won´t be comparable any more to what it has previously been, but I don’t want to comment here on whether this is good or bad, as a technology community probably needs an epicenter in order to celebrate certain things.
Technically speaking, JavaOne is largely an Oracle conference – which again is not bad – but needs to be taken into account, as about half of all sessions will be held by Oracle speakers. Even if JavaOne is trying to be more open under Oracle in comparison to the Sun times – e.g. Eclipse, OSGi, Spring, being adequately addressed in the conference sessions – the program still clings to something political. We should not forget for example that the word “Android” appears just once in a catalog of hundreds of lectures.
But everything else is mere speculation, I’m looking forward to the rest of the keynotes, which are always transmitted at 17.30 clock our time (German time), as well as the personal reports of the many friends and partners who are on site.
JAXenter: Thank you for this interview!