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Does Java Speak for Itself?

October 21, 2009

At Oracle OpenWorld last week, it was suggested that, with regard to the Oracle and Sun merger, "Java speaks for itself." I wasn't at Oracle OpenWorld myself, but, for example, Josh Fruhlinger reported Sun's Scott McNealy as saying that Oracle's existing use of Java "speaks for itself."

Meanwhile, Java Champion Bert Ertman, in his Impressions from Oracle OpenWorld: "Is Oracle good for Java?" post, wrote:

the official statement being made by Sun’s Scott McNeally and Oracle’s Larry Ellison is: "Java speaks for itself."

However, Bert finds something a bit awry in this statement, as he goes on to say:

But does it? In fact, I seriously doubt that it does so within Oracle. So far the people from Oracle that I met express a friendly, almost fatherly interest in Java, but they compare it to integrating the Hyperion Query Language into the Oracle stack. They see Java as just another ‘product’ from Sun and not as the Java platform and ecosystem that it is. So, if Java is speaking for itself within Oracle, than it’s no doubt sending them the wrong message!

JUG leader Abdelmonaim Renami, who was also in attendance at Oracle OpenWorld, sees things differently. In his post Oracle/Sun Merger: A Community Perspective, Abdelmonaim writes:

In the key note, Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle, hit the bull’s eye when he was quoted as saying that “Java speaks for itself”. I have to admit that many people didn’t like his answer and considered it ambiguous and unclear, but a deeper look would reveal that it is, indeed, a well-thought-of statement. Java has truly become in the hand of its community; be it the JCP or the contributors to the OpenJDK project. The decisions about the future of the platform are now made uniformly by literally whoever is interested developing it. Doesn’t that mean that it speaks for itself?

It's an interesting question. Does Java in fact "speak for itself" within the context of the Oracle acquistion of Sun? What's your view?

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I have no idea if Oracle is

I have no idea if Oracle is good or bad for Java. I hope it's good, but dragging out the merger forever is doing real damage. What scares me is imagining what would happen if the deal falls through. Sun's existing customer base is running for cover. Who can blame them? I wonder what Java is worth on it's own. If the deal falls through, I think we'll find out.

I don't think Oracle is

I don't think Oracle is dragging out the deal. The problem is the European Union has not approved the Sun acquisition. They opened an antitrust investigation in September, and that may not be completed for several months. Few commentators that I read are of the view that the deal will fall through.

I'm not sure what financial value could be put on Java. It's a mature language today. There's an enormous amount of operational code written in Java out there. It's not going away no matter what happens. My guess is that the intent behind saying "Java speaks for itself" was to tell Java developers not to worry, because Java is "bigger" than Sun and Oracle, Java is beyond any single company (like C++, perhaps?).

But, Java has traditionally been most fully supported by Sun, so... there are a lot of possibilities, I think.

It's definitely not Oracle's

It's definitely not Oracle's fault, but buying MySQL has got to be the worst business decision made by Sun in the last 10 years.