Java IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, William Schmarzo, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

JDJ Exclusive: First "Post-Google" Q&A With Sun About the Java Desktop

"OpenOffice Is a Huge Asset for Sun," Says Sun's Director of Java Desktop Engineering, Thorsten Laux

"As a desktop Java enthusiast," says Sun's director of Java Desktop Engineering, Thorsten Laux (pictured), "what's particularly compelling about the new partnership is the fact that Google has shown Sun that the JRE distribution channel represents an extraordinary value." The importance of that, Laux explains in this exclusive Q&A with Java Developer's Journal, is that it helps Sun to better understand the rationale for "continued and increasing investment in Java on the desktop" – creating a richer and broader platform which will ultimately drive more JRE downloads.

Q. Thorsten, thank you for talking with JDJ so soon after the historic Sun-Google announcement. We would like, if we may, to concentrate on the desktop side of things, but perhaps first you should just “position” this for us in terms of the overall announcement. How would you summarize what was announced yesterday, in terms of what was remarkable and new and ground-breaking?

Thorsten Laux: What's remarkable about this announcement is that two companies with a very consistent world view (that of network services, “the network is the computer”) but very complementary assets have partnered up in a strategic relationship:
Google has search technology and Sun has the distribution power to help bring it to every desktop on the planet. Sun has the distribution channel java.com and Google has the ability to advertise it, lets say when users are searching for “Java”. Google wants to deliver web services and rich clients, Sun has the Java platform for building and deploying them on desktop and servers. We have great hardware too, and Google announced that they're going to be buying more of it!
As a desktop Java enthusiast, what's particularly compelling about the new partnership is the fact that Google has shown Sun that the JRE distribution channel represents an extraordinary value. This realization certainly helps Sun to better understand the rationale for continued and increasing investment in Java on the desktop - creating a richer and broader platform which will ultimately drive more JRE downloads.
Q. How many people currently download the JRE from Sun.com currently; just how many extra Google Toolbars might there be in the world because of this? On what kind of scale is Sun expecting the JRE download tally to increase through the greater publicity that the partnership is bringing to its existence?
TL: The java.com download volume varies from month to month - depending on whether auto-update is currently active, whether new releases are available, etc. Recently we've cracked the 20M / month mark which is pretty unique as far as downloads go. Remember these are mainly consumers that want to run desktop Java applications like LimeWire or applets like Pogo Games or the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Collection virtual reality viewer! Now we plan to offer the Google toolbar only to consumers, so only a subset of these downloads will contain the offer.
I do expect the number of JRE downloads to increase as a result of this partnership - both through increased publicity and through other initiatives we aren't ready to talk about yet. But it's hard to gauge by how much at this point.
Q. For those who are unclear, could you briefly outline the difference between StarOffice and OpenOffice, and say which will benefit most from the new partnership.
TL: OpenOffice.org is an open source project at www.openoffice.org to which Sun is the main contributor. StarOffice is Sun's commercial product based on the OpenOffice.org source code. Our press release mentioned OpenOffice. In the end OpenOffice adoption creates opportunity for StarOffice so I believe benefits to OpenOffice will translate to StarOffice.
Q. So what should Java developers, quite specifically, be most pleased about, now that the announcement has been made and the dust is settling?

TL: What's remarkable for all Java developers is that Google is endorsing and contributing to the future of Java via the JCP. Google, as a huge technology company, is certainly a good ally to define and drive the future of Java SE with. A lot of Google's software is actually written in Java already today.
What's exciting for desktop developers is that Sun's enhanced understanding of consumer distribution opportunities like this will help us look at desktop Java as a business in addition to the strategic investment it's always been. In the long run I expect this will mean that we'll be able to go much further in this space than we previously have.
We always knew that the desktop  is very important to Java developers. In fact the latest Evans Data American Developer survey shows that Java developers spend more time developing desktop Java content than either server or mobile Java applications. And we knew that the java.com download volume was just growing at incredible rates. It's very exciting for me to see our success on the desktop turning into very tangible value for Sun and Google.
Q. Who at Google acted as point man for the StarOffice/OpenOffice dimension within the new joint partnership? And what about the Sun end, how personal was your own involvement in it all?

TL: This partnership involves StarOffice/OpenOffice in a couple of ways and different people were working on different aspects of it. Given that the JRE distribution opportunity was the initial spark I ended up spending a very substantial amount of my own time on this deal, but as we grew the partnership into other dimensions other folks got involved.

Q. Is this evidence of Sun having “regained its touch” with the developer community, do you think? Concentrating on the technology rather than the brand, which developers respect but cannot do their job with. (Only technology allows them to develop; not logos, version re-numbering, and all the rest.)
TL: I'm very enthusiastic about the level of dialogue we currently have with the developer community - particularly in the desktop space. If you look at the javadesktop.org community, the way we've engaged on projects like SwingLabs (swinglabs.dev.java.net) and the JDK community (jdk.dev.java.net), we have really strengthened that connection a lot. Today many developers download our weekly Mustang builds and chat with us about new features as we blog about them on java.net. Or they directly work with us on prototypes of new features within the SwingLabs project. It's this connection that ensures that what we build actually matters to developers - and with Mustang it really shows.
Q. Some commentators have said the Google-Sun partnership is a damp squib; others (JDJ among them) have suggested that this is a game-changing alliance, that the technology landscape will potentially never be the same again if the potential of the Sun-Google combo is taken to its limits. What are the limits? How far could this teamwork go, from a technological perspective?
TL: If you just take a step back to look at what the two companies are doing - from a technological perspective - and imagine the possibilities for teamwork, I agree that there is a huge potential. If you consider the progress we have made on the Google/Sun relationship over the past six months, we're on a pretty exciting trajectory. I'm not going to speculate where this will take us, but I can tell you that we're all very actively figuring out the next steps right now.
Q. Our ever-popular Java EE editor, Yakov Fain, has written:
If Google and Sun will offer a free downloadable replacement for Microsoft Office suite (see  OpenOffice.org ),  millions of people who do not use anything other than a Web browser, word processor , e-mail client and a spreadsheet will convert to their religion.  Which OS will they use?  Who cares,  Java will run anywhere.
Do you agree with him? ;-)
TL: OpenOffice is a huge asset for Sun and it continues to be a key component of alternative desktops like Linux and Solaris, as well as  alternative desktop application suites for Windows. In my view it's a little too early to say to what extent the new partnership with Google will accelerate the already very significant adoption of OpenOffice.

Thank you so much Thorsten for taking the time to answer our questions.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (5)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Atmosera delivers modern cloud services that maximize the advantages of cloud-based infrastructures. Offering private, hybrid, and public cloud solutions, Atmosera works closely with customers to engineer, deploy, and operate cloud architectures with advanced services that deliver strategic business outcomes. Atmosera's expertise simplifies the process of cloud transformation and our 20+ years of experience managing complex IT environments provides our customers with the confidence and trust tha...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
Intel is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, in the Silicon Valley. It is the world's second largest and second highest valued semiconductor chip maker based on revenue after being overtaken by Samsung, and is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most personal computers (PCs). Intel supplies processors for computer system manufacturers such as Apple, Lenovo, HP, and Dell. Intel also manufactu...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Apptio fuels digital business transformation. Technology leaders use Apptio's machine learning to analyze and plan their technology spend so they can invest in products that increase the speed of business and deliver innovation. With Apptio, they translate raw costs, utilization, and billing data into business-centric views that help their organization optimize spending, plan strategically, and drive digital strategy that funds growth of the business. Technology leaders can gather instant recomm...
OpsRamp is an enterprise IT operation platform provided by US-based OpsRamp, Inc. It provides SaaS services through support for increasingly complex cloud and hybrid computing environments from system operation to service management. The OpsRamp platform is a SaaS-based, multi-tenant solution that enables enterprise IT organizations and cloud service providers like JBS the flexibility and control they need to manage and monitor today's hybrid, multi-cloud infrastructure, applications, and wor...
The Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (MSAI) provides a comprehensive framework of theory and practice in the emerging field of AI. The program delivers the foundational knowledge needed to explore both key contextual areas and complex technical applications of AI systems. Curriculum incorporates elements of data science, robotics, and machine learning-enabling you to pursue a holistic and interdisciplinary course of study while preparing for a position in AI research, operations, ...
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and Bi...