I have spent this day in the warm embrace of Oracle. Due to their recent acquisition of Sun Microsystems they hosted a fluffy suit event this afternoon and then sponsored the more stuffy Javaforum tonight. Naturally the acquisition is a big event in the computer world affecting everyone writing software in Java and making Oracle into another IBM. Suddenly Oracle not only have the full suit of software needed to run a business - they also have Suns outstanding hardware. This means - as the suits pointed out over and over again - that they can deliver integrated solutions with extreme everything (seems like the pool of superlatives is running out - the word extreme appeared more than once). Still they vow to continue supporting open standards so that the result is not another vendor look in alá Microsoft. In practice though it may effectively leave customers with the choice of buying the full Oracle stack or spending lots of money integrating parts of the stack with products from other vendors. This is probably not a good thing for the diversity of software business. Some other sightings that may or may not scare you:
- every Oracle presentation starts with a legal disclaimer slide - kind of nicely sums up the corporate culture
- new elevator message: "Software. Hardware. Complete." - as usual with engineers they forgot about people. I like the dots after each word though.
- "There will be no forced migrations" of current Sun customers. Great I guess but there will on the other hand be new no development on a wide range of Sun products. Just a bit of support....
Martijn Vlek - the middleware suit - said: "We are very proud of sort of 'own' Java now."
This fluffy event was repetitious and not very dense so I slipped away for some Rails coding and a geocaching walk before the stuffy event.
The JavaForum stuff started with Dan Bergh Johnsson
talking about future performance problems and how we should solve them with event driven architecture. He probably meant JMS on the server side. I agree that we have a problem with performance when integrating all our systems but I am pretty sure that JMS isn't the way forward. This whole issue may call for another blog post actually. We'll see. Then Adam Messinger
who works as Vice President Development Fusion Middleware at Oracle talked vaguely about Oracles strategy for Java. It was pretty much the same message as during the fluffy session. Everything will be supported for a while but in most overlap cases the Oracle solution will be the strategic product of the future. It feels a bit like they want to sound like the good guy now but they might do whatever in the future. The serious part of the evening ended with a panel of mostly oraclers taking questions from the audience. Some really interesting questions were brought forward but the Oracles reps didn't really answer much of them.
My personal feeling about the merger is that I couldn't care less. I don't care much for the Java world anymore. Long gone are the times when I looked forward to new interesting articles in JavaWorld. Java is a nice language but there are far superior languages to use in most cases. Java - or rather the JVM - as a platform for other languages is really cool. The enterprise thingie is just a big mess of stuff without real value to the business. And I don't think Oracle will make it much worse. Java could have gone worse places.