Gosling: Oracle's self interest requires good Java stewardship

Java founder sees a mixed bag in how Oracle has handled the technology but notes that much of Oracle's business is Java based

Although Java founder James Gosling left Oracle last year after a short, dissatisfying experience with the company following its acquisition of Sun Microsystems, he nonetheless sees Oracle as having no choice but to do a good job in its stewardship of Java.

In discussions Wednesday morning at the TheServerSide Java Symposium in Las Vegas, Gosling stressed that a large faction of Oracle's business is based on Java. For example, Oracle Fusion Middleware, including the WebLogic application server, is based on enterprise Java. "It's in their own self interest to not be aggressively stupid," said Gosling, who was a prominent Sun engineer and has been called the father of Java.

[ Oracle is suing Google over alleged Java patents in the Android mobile platform, but Android developers last week were unfazed. | Keep up with the latest Java developments with InfoWorld's JavaWorld Enterprise Java newsletter. ]

Oracle has stumbled with Java, falling short in dealing with Java user groups, he said. On the positive side, Oracle has made peace with IBM and Apple over Java, enlisting IBM's support for the OpenJDK open source version of Java and taking over the implementation of the Java Virtual Machine on the Apple Mac, Gosling said. Apple also has signed on to OpenJDK. Additionally, Oracle has moved forward with Java platforms themselves, Gosling acknowledged. (The Java Community Process unanimously approved the Java Platform, Enterprise Edition 7 specification this month.)

But Oracle was duplicitous in seeking formation of an independent foundation to oversee Java when Sun was in charge and not following through on this after buying Sun, Gosling said. "They basically admitted that we were doing the right thing," said Gosling. He described his brief stint at Oracle as presenting "an extremely unpleasant environment." These days, Gosling has been working with different projects and is not employed, he said.

Gosling also stressed the importance of the JVM -- it makes the Java language possible and enables multiple languages able to coexist, he said. "In the non-JVM world, being able to go back and forth between languages is just about impossible, whereas in the Java world, it's remarkably straightforward," Gosling said. Java also has fostered the concept of garbage collection, in which programming objects no longer in use are disposed of automatically, Gosling noted.

Also this morning, Gosling emphasized the prominence of the Web, the establishment of SOA and REST, and overhyped, but still important, cloud application deployments. "The Web has become the face that everybody sees pretty much for every enterprise," he said. Even having offices for an enterprise is almost irrelevant, he said.

SOA and REST have become bedrock technologies, Gosling said. "It's become almost pointless to talk about them because they are everywhere," he said. But there has been a drawback in high-volume service proliferation, said Gosling. "The big problem for me with SOA [and] REST these days is some people get [so] service-happy they'll start building thousands of services that really ought to be coalesced into a smaller number of services," he said.

Cloud, Gosling said, is a buzzword. "The word 'cloud' has become really annoying," because of different spins on how it will do everything, he said. But clouds do offer benefits in management and dynamic capabilities, he noted.

SaaS, meanwhile, is making obsolete the need for integrated application suites such as what Oracle offers, he said. "The necessity for these huge, integrated suites is kind of going away," Gosling said.

This article, "Gosling: Oracle's self interest requires good Java stewardship," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in business technology news and get a digest of the key stories each day in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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