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Alex Collins is a enterprise Java developer and currently works in the UK. He has worked in the insurance, publishing, telecoms and supply chain. In his spare time he codes in Python, Clojure and Scala (but not at the same time) and enjoys a multitude of sports. His catchphrase is K.I.S.S! Alex has posted 20 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Oracle goes postal and the rest just carry on

10.15.2010
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Unless you've been living under a rock the past few weeks, you'll no doubt be aware of the moves Oracle have made. As a developer though, do you think it's done much to harm A) the industry you work in, B) your job prospects and C) the future of the language? Let's explore the possibilities...

Oracle have done two very bold things this past month or so: sue Google and get IBM to work on OpenJDK instead of Harmony.

How is the industry affected by Oracle's recent actions?

Let's look at it from two perspectives, one of a developer like you and I, the other of an IT manager weighing up the choices for platforms for their next big project.

Your average web developer looks at the lawsuit against Google and hates Oracle that little bit more. An Android developer looks at Oracle, hates them a bit more, maybe considers jumping to iPhone development, wakes up and gets back on with coding. The same two types look at the IBM move to OpenJDK and they get excited: the platform now has two huge companies with masses of experience in Java development - both members of the JCP for a while, contributors to numerous Java projects and the JDK itself - joining forces, allowing the aged beast to gain a second wind. It's promising, if a little political in its motives. So whilst Oracle hexdump on their own doorstep as it were, we're all still making a living writing Java in the real world. No?

Now, I'm no IT manager, nor will I ever be but I'm sure I could be forgiven for making the assumption that when they look at the project they need to deliver and consider their current workforce, the state of availability for Java resources in the industry and the cost to employ them; they're not really going to give two hoots what Oracle are doing. The world's too fast-paced and there are too many other issues to take into account, such as resources, deadlines, design, analysis and testing - not to mention the everyday work that still needs to be covered.

Have you had to sell the dog, the car and re-mortgage the house?

No. And you probably won't have to for another 5-10 years.

The future of the language

When the Oracle vs Google debacle reared its ugly head, two things happened: we all felt sorry for Google and considered why Oracle might possibly want to make the Java world more unattractive than it already is. The giant that is Java - the spec, language and JVM - has been around for 15 years and it has taken a beating or two. Various releases have had their pros and cons - generics were great but implemented using erasure for backwards compatibility - and it's the modern-day programmer's target of flame and fury when their latest and greatest language makes them feel super-powerful and holier then thou. It seems, though, that Oracle couldn't care less and that this lawsuit was quite obviously more about money than it was about preserving Java. The IBM deal, sneaky and double-edged as it is, seems to have reinvigorated the community in some respects, and allowed for positivity interweaving the Java ecosystem. Coupled with the common-sense announcement from Mark Reinhold regarding the JDK 7 and 8 features, I'd say the future of Java is looking great, if not rather peachy. Wouldn't you?

It seems to me - whilst dramatic and oh-so-serious - that most of us have really just looked up, observed the rumour mill doing its thing, and then just got our heads back into doing what real people do: writing code.

Can't we all just get along?

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Alex Collins.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

Comments

Liam Knox replied on Fri, 2010/10/15 - 8:32pm

There has never been any doubt in the success of the Java language, past, present and future. I think those who think otherwise are probably living under a rock.

Cosmin Mutu replied on Mon, 2010/10/18 - 3:17am

Regarding the two individual types ... I think both of them don`t really give a sh*t of what ORACLE is doing, unless they are ORACLE employeers. That applies to IBM also...

jim_oflaherty_jr (not verified) replied on Tue, 2010/10/26 - 9:32am

I'm beginning my moving-on process: http://chaotic3quilibrium.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/how-oracles-ellison-drove-a-java-advocate-to-netc/

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