Oracle on OpenJDK

These are encouraging signs that Oracle will continue to invest in OpenJDK and that it won’t follow the same fate as some other Sun Open Source projects like Open Solaris. I’ve long believed that OpenJDK has the opportunity to become the Linux Kernel for Enterprise developers.

Kurian discussed the roadmap for JDK 7 and JDK 8, which will be based on OpenJDK

“In addition, Oracle remains committed to OpenJDK as the the best open source Java implementation and we will continue to improve OpenJDK and welcome external contributors.”

“Oracle will work with the OpenJDK code base and the OpenJDK community
like Sun did. We wil
l continue to develop the JDK in the open under a
GPL license
. We welcome the cooperation and contribution of any member
of the community – individuals as well as organizations – who would
like to be part of moving the most widely used software platform

Oracle’s loss could be Rackspace’s gain

I previously highlighted the fate of OpenSSO – a test case for Oracle and a living experiment for Open Source – possibly allowing us to understand how or whether a project really can outlive it’s corporate backer.

Well, it seems that another piece of the Sun OSS portfolio has floated adrift from the Oracle mother-ship. Some of the key developers have left / are leaving Oracle and have joined Rackspace. With this Rackspace essentially becomes the guardian of one of the major development branches of MySQL. It would be interesting to know what Oracle would price their MySQL assets at today.

Oracle and the Java Opportunity

I guess there’s a chance that we’ll know more tomorrow but regarding the future of Java under Oracle’s control – I’m still neutral to optimistic and sticking to what I said 6 months ago :

DZone: With Oracle’s acquisition of Sun, are you concerned at all about some of the potential changes that will come as a result, to the governance and licensing options to the OpenJDK?

Rich: I’m really not that concerned. There are all sorts of scenarios that people are suggesting. I still believe Oracle will do the right thing. They have far too much to lose, by either accidently or purposely sabotaging OpenJDK. They have a very healthy business based around Java. Creating unrest, creating any kind of distrust or fragmentation of the Java community really isn’t going to help Oracle. So I think they’ll do the right thing. I also think they probably have the ability to invest in Java more than Sun had over the last five years at least. Sun kind of had some fairly pressing financial issues. I think that, above all else, probably hindered some of the progress of Java over the last five years.

So overall, I’m coming in neutral to slightly optimistic. If things do go awry, I’m sure Red Hat the rest of the Java community will step up and help Oracle to get back on track. So, yeah, I’m pretty comfortable with it.

My only real concerns is that Oracle understands products and monetization much better than they understand community and collaboration so I think a misstep or two are more likely to occur than Oracle purposefully sabotaging Java. Harming Java will devalue their investment and their chances of getting a decent return.

On the positive side – I think there’s still huge growth potential for the Java platform – I see no reason why it can’t become the dominant standard for the enterprise – I personally think we’re at the start of the decline of Microsoft and Java is the only viable alternative to Microsoft’s enterprise foothold. Microsoft’s enterprise presence is not insignificant but neither is it guaranteed – it’s largely based on an historically well adopted OS and Microsoft’s missteps in that area are pretty well known by now .

Java needs some strong leadership, investment and a open, vibrant and growing community.

I raising my mug of tea to The Next Decade of Java !

Tab Sweep : JBoss Mostly

Over the last ten years – every year has been proclaimed the year that Java dies. And every year people are proven wrong and I think that will continue to happen for another 20 or 30 years. To put it into perspective COBOL, another fairly sucessful language is 50 (fifty) years old this month. Other popular langauges : C – 37 years old, C++ – 26 years old, Java – a mere 14 years old. People are still running and maintaining COBOL, ditto C, C++, etc. These popular languages have taken decades to reach mainstream adoption and will be viable for decades to come.

JBoss AS 5.1 GA has been released. Downloads are looking pretty healthy and it’s good to see almost monthly releases now that the MC / re-architecture work is behind us. Release early, release often

It’s Java One time again, JBoss’ presence this year will probably be larger than last year – we have a lot to talk about and show – so swing by our sessions, our booths and join us at the JBoss Party. See you there – and follow @JBossNews on twitter for the latest Java One updates.

Sun seem to be getting increasingly desperate to build a business around their Java middleware – they’re attacking companies a fraction of a fraction of their size and continuing the fire sale. It’s going to be really interesting when Sun product lines get hit with Larry Ellison’s “fiduciary responsibility” stick. Weblogic wasn’t exactly cheap – and Oracle had to pile on a pretty hefty Tax to bring it in line with Oracle’s cost model. The disparity between Sun and Oracle pricing is *huge* and is going to require something more dramatic than a a mere 30% price increase.

Although Java One hasn’t started yet – for all the folks involved in planning and preparing – the work is (or should be) done. At Red Hat we already have our sight on the biggest Red Hat / JBoss event of the year – the co-located Red Hat Summit and JBoss World 2009 which is in Chicago, Septemer 1st to 4th.

Tab Sweep : JBoss

Another couple of super-busy months here at JBoss. If anything the pace of new releases and new projects is increasing. Here are some of the more prominent Community announcements I managed to bookmark :

JBoss App Server 5.1.0 CR1 – 5.1 is a pretty big milestone – it includes the new Jopr powered embedded console  – something you’ll like but also something we really need some early feedback on. Also a preview of Web Beans / JSR-299. [release notes, downloads]

Data Integration goes Open Source – I missed the launch of the Teiid Project you can find out more on the project page.

This has been brewing for a while and Manik has finally announced Infinispan – I predict that this is going to  be a pretty disruptive technology. [home page, quick guide]

JBoss Tattletale is a new tool that will analyze your code and produce detailed dependency reports – for example highlighting duplicate jars / classes, missing jars / classes, etc. [downloads, project]

The latest release of Jopr (2.2) is out – Jopr is the upstream project for JBoss Operations Network (see below). There are a shedload of UI enhancements, support for JBoss EWS and Performance improvements among other things.

Also a nice article on JBoss Cloud over on DZone.

On the JBoss Enterprise side of the house :

JBoss Operations Network 2.2 is out and JON receives a pretty decent makeover (see Greg’s post on some of the major enhancements) – product page is here.

One of the new capabilities of JON 2.2 is support for JBoss Enterprise Web Server (EWS) which was also released a few weeks ago – more on that in a future post.

If you’re currently stuck with Oracle Weblogic or IBM Websphere and need help getting off – here’s an opportunity you can’t ignore.

Sorry for the length of this post – I need to do this more frequently. The next couple of months are going to be even more hectic and you can follow the @JBossNews via Twitter. Finally, something from the happy news files – we’re still hiring.


I’d like to think of myself as an informed prognosticator having worked for Sun for almost 9 years; but this is prognostication nonetheless. I missed my chance to say what I thought of an IBM acquisition but I’ll start by saying – I think I preferred it – it probably would’ve been a better outcome for the things I care about.

The things I care about are the people I know who still work for Sun, the Java ecosystem, and many of Sun’s Open Source projects that I directly or indirectly benefit from – specifically MySQL (this post will live in MySQL), OpenJDK and OpenOffice.

It still seems like a strange merger – sure, Sun and Oracle have a huge shared installed based – Sun Servers + Solaris + BEA + Oracle DBMS was the killer enterprise stack for a decade – that alone gives Oracle a vice-like grip on existing customers; but that’s about the past – not the future. I think someone did the analysis and realized it’s a marginally positive move – so I don’t think this is the big technology vision realized that Oracle are trying to promote.

I’m sure a lot of people at Sun and customers of Sun are glad the uncertainty has come to an end but unfortunately it hasn’t. I’m guessing that it will take until the end of the year before Oracle tells the world what they’re keeping and what they’re dropping. FWIW – here’s my informed guess :

Storage / Servers – the press-briefing made the merger sound like it was all about the hardware (servers and storage). I just don’t see Oracle as a hardware company and they have more to loose than gain by pissing HP off. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some or all the hardware got sold off to HP, Fujitsu, etc. And I think Oracle could probably recover $3.5-4 bn of their $5bn outlay by doing so.

NetBeansI’m not changing my mind – it’s done for. Oracle has two Java IDEs already – they don’t need a third. Oracle will pick up some great tools developers to write a migration tool but that’s about it.

OpenOffice – Oracle doesn’t like M$ but I doubt they can find a fiscally rational reason to carry the torch for Open Source and at the end of the day Oracle are doing this because it makes financial sense. I think Oracle will expect “the community” to pick up the slack.

Solaris – I think they’ll milk the legacy installed base (which is huge) but the innovation won’t continue. I think there’s an interesting opportunity for Oracle to manage the migration of the last of the Solaris holdouts to Linux. They could do this by GPLing Solaris and moving some of the Solaris features to Linux; or more likely to an Oracle proprietary OS built on Linux.

Middleware – Oracle have everything Sun has – and Oracle are by and large market leaders with large market and revenue share. Sun have one or two products that might survive and certainly some components. Oracle inherit a commitment to continue to produce the Java EE RI (and others) so Glassfish *might* survive – but Oracle have demonstrated that they don’t have appetite to maintain many products in the same market (see how quickly OC4J got killed after the BEA acquisition ?)

MySQL – I think Oracle will continue to do what Sun did somewhat accidentally – namely slowly kill it off.

Java – I’m confident that Oracle won’t fix the JCP and won’t sacrifice control for the good of the ecosystem. I also think the JCP will become a battlefield for IBM and Oracle and we’ll all be the worse for it.

OpenJDK – no-body needs two JDK’s to maintain – I think Oracle would have to move some of the monitoring / diagnostics from JRockit into a proprietary OpenJDK-based platform. JRockit has a small market share but some nice features for enterprise customers.

Cloud – not that there’s much there there but I don’t expect to see Larry eating his words.

Virtualization – I don’t really understand Oracle’s virtualization strategy other than the feeling that Larry Ellison is unlikely to entertain anything that looks like it might actually save customers money on licenses.