Sebastian Meyen on the status of JavaOne

JavaOne drew the short straw

Hartmut Schlosser

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.

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

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

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,

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

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!

Hartmut Schlosser

Hartmut Schlosser

All Posts by Hartmut Schlosser

Harmut Schlosser is the editor and online coordinator for Software & Support Media’s portals, Windows Developer and PHP Magazin. He is a specialist in Java Enterprise-Technologies, Eclipse & ALM, Android and Business Technology. Before working at S&S Media he studied Music, Information Studies and French anthropology.
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