Return of the king

James Gosling makes surprise appearance at JavaOne Community Keynote

Elliot Bentley

The “father of Java” helped close JavaOne with a bang, making his first onstage appearance at the conference since 2009.

JavaOne finished with a bang with the Community Keynote, which was light on announcements but heavy on big names – including a surprise appearance from Java father James Gosling.

The keynote was opened by Oracle Principle Product Director Sharat Chander, who praised the community for their support of Java and JavaOne, then followed by Oracle Director of Product Management Donald Smith and Gary Frost of AMD with a discussion of upcoming GPU utilisation projects Sumatra and Aparapi.

Next up was an expert panel of several prominent names, each pledging their allegiance to the big J, including Twitter Open Source Manager Chris Aniszczyk, who stated that the microblogging service is “built on the JVM”. Also present was Eclipse Director Mike Milinkovich, who produced the mind-boggling statistic that 99% of Eclipse projects use Java.

Duke’s Choice Award winners London Java Community were congratulated once again, with co-leader Martijn Verburg joking to the San Francisco audience that “if the presidential elections don’t work out… the queen has agreed to take you back as a colony”.

However, the best was saved for last as the surprise guest turned out to be none other than ‘father of Java’, James Gosling. In his first appearance at JavaOne since leaving Sun Microsystems in the face of Oracle’s acquisition, Gosling spoke mostly about his work at his new employer, Liquid Robotics, Inc.

The company are producing autonomous, wave-powered robots designed for marine data collection – a topic far removed from the majority of presentations at JavaOne.

Keeping energy use and data transfer to a minimum are two of the largest challenges Gosling’s project faces: when in the “middle of a storm in the arctic”, there’s little opportunity for a robot to recharge, and not much of a 3G signal either: instead, satellite connections cost $1 per kb. “We don’t have a Big Data problem,” said Gosling.

Gosling hasn’t abandoned his own baby just yet, though. He also showed off a Java Swing application for detecting positioning of robots, adding: “One of the cool things about Java that most people don’t really think about is it’s really good at doing AI kinds of things.”

He also praised PaaS provider Jelastic and commented on the recent trend of moving logic to the client side, saying “I love jQuery. But some things shouldn’t be done in HTML!”

You can watch the JavaOne Community Keynote 2012 in full on Oracle’s website. 

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