Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

"No Sun Is An Island," Says Javalobby Founder

Rick Ross responds to ESR's Open Letter to Scott McNealy

  • Read Eric Raymond's Open Letter to Scott McNealy: "Let Java Go"
  • Read "Letting Java Go" - James Gosling in 2003 on Open-Sourcing Java

    As if driven by the cycles of the moon, it seems like the Java community gets a monthly visit from that special topic that divides and angers us more than any other: the question of whether Sun should "open source" Java? Most recently a top open source advocate named Eric Raymond (author of  The Cathedral And The Bazaar) published an open letter to Sun urging them to "Let Java Go." I have huge respect for the achievements of the open source community, but I tend to stay away from the pissing contests that these discussions about open sourcing Java often devolve into.

    I think the issue is something of a bugaboo, anyway. The source code for Java is readily available to anyone who accepts the Sun Community Source License (SCSL.) You can fix problems and submit patches to your heart's content. You can freely use the source code to better understand where problems in your own code are occurring, and you can also look to the Java source for useful examples and implementation patterns which you can emulate in your own code. Most of the technical benefits of source code availability are present to developers under the SCSL, and they are a very significant set of benefits. Furthermore, the Java Community Process (JCP) does a fine job of driving Java technology innovation in a balanced way that meets the needs and serves the interests of many vested participants. The problem definitely isn't that the source code to Java is unavailable or that the community has no voice in the platform's ongoing evolution.

    What you cannot get from the SCSL and JCP is any reason to trust Sun regarding the disposition of the Java brand, their ultimate lever of control. I hope I am not the only one who cringes every time I hear Java described as a product of Sun Microsystems. Java has long since transcended it's origins at Sun to become a globally preferred platform, an industry and a community powered by the tireless work of countless individuals and organizations. Java today is not much more a product of Sun Microsystems than the telephone is a product of AT&T. But the ownership and control of the Java[tm] BRAND is 100% firmly and resolutely in the hands of McNealy and crew, and that's why they are so utterly alone and without allies in the platform-level marketing of Java.

    Sun's over-insistence on total control of the Java brand has created a situation where nobody else is willing to help them with the general platform marketing of Java. Although this technology is useful and attractive to many strategic industry leaders, very few of them would be so naive as to place any trust in the goodwill and beneficence of Sun Microsystems, Inc. Why should Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Sony, Apple, Oracle, BEA or IBM expect Sun to do anything but look out for itself? Why should they invest valuable resources in the consumer marketing of Java platform advantages when they reasonably fear that Sun could turn a cold shoulder on them at any time?

    The simple answer is: they won't! They don't trust Sun, and they won't engage cooperatively as long as they feel that their resources would be invested for the benefit of a Sun-owned and Sun-controlled product brand name. I don't blame them. As long as they feel the risk that Sun could perform an about-face on key positions and start to charge usurious licensing fees (or even revoke licenses!) they will not invest in helping to increase the consumer appeal of the platform and drive its adoption. I have personally spoken with the CEO's and heads of marketing for dozens of Java industry players, and virtually none of them is willing to shoulder any of the load for marketing the benefits of the Java platform as long as they feel disenfranchised and powerless where strategic marketing decisions are involved. If Java is merely a product of Sun Microsystems, and the benefits of owning that product accrue exclusively to Sun, then why should any other company or organization devote any resources to helping with the consumer marketing of Java - marketing which Sun is apparently unable or unwilling to do?

    So there's no place where all the many interested parties invest and work together to ensure that our Java industry is strategically well-positioned against competitors. That's the real heart of the problem. Isolated Sun lacks the consumer marketing skills and budget resources to promote Java at the platform level the way the vastly more successful monopolist in Redmond promotes Windows. The core messages of Java, the ones that attracted most of you years ago, are no longer being marketed to the general public by anyone at all! Nobody is telling average people about the benefits of WORA and platform independence, freedom of choice in vendors, community-driven innovation, or Java's ease of learning and use. Without these core messages forming a foundation for consumer acceptance, we really don't have to worry about whether people will buy their Java products from Vendor A or Vendor B - they won't be buying Java products at all.

    Most consumers (you know, those people who will gladly pay $8.95 for funky little dolls that say "Intel Inside") do not have a clue what Java is or how it benefits them. Their lack of awareness is hurting you because average consumers are much more involved in the economic big picture than we typically give them credit for. It's making it harder for you to get a good Java job. It's making it harder to sell your Java-based products. It's increasing the risk that the Java job you now have will be gone in two years. Today, more than ever, we need to organize ourselves as an industry and engage in marketing efforts to cooperatively protect, sustain, and grow the market share of the Java platform.

    Eric Raymond has focused on the wrong issue. Making Java "open source" might placate a vocal contingent in the software development world, but it would not significantly raise consumer awareness and acceptance of our platform. I simply don't care all that much whether Java is "open sourced" because I don't consider that to be the central problem. I do, however, very much want to see the Java platform more competently and competitively marketed so that this great industry and community can grow and provide all of us with a foundation for thriving prosperity.

    The only way that will happen is for Sun to yield some control over the Java brand in the same way it has yielded a great deal of control over the platform api evolution. Sun needs to learn from its own success with JCP, and it needs to learn quickly. They simply cannot continue to go it alone on platform marketing. If McNealy can be shrewd enough to trade a modicum of control now in order to drive the formation of a Java industry marketing coalition, then the tide would rise for everyone in the Java world, and his shareholders would profit greatly. If Sun continues to doggedly insist on total control, then it will never be able to enlist the allies needed for success in such a daunting marketing challenge. Sun may retain 100% control, but everyone knows 100% of a marginalized market can be a lot less than a lion's share of a mainstream, successful industry.

    There's powerful magic in the Java platform, but we need more powerful resources than Sun alone can muster if this industry is ever to reach its full potential. I hope you'll join me in urging Sun to provide meaningful incentives to rally this industry into action and to create a cooperative industry alliance for Java platform marketing. Just as the dairy industry jointly funds the "Got Milk?" campaign, all of us in the Java industry need to work collectively to promote key messages that lay a foundation for consumer acceptance of Java and for our long term economic success.

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Rick Ross
    [email protected]
    AIM or Yahoo Messenger: RickRossJL

  • To go to Javalobby to leave a comment at the Javalobby forums click here

  • More Stories By Rick Ross

    Rick Ross is the founder of Javalobby (www.javalobby.org). He is a frequent speaker at Java-related events and a well-known advocate for Java developer interests.

    Comments (21)

    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
    Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
    Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
    René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
    If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and...
    In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
    Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of San...
    When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
    Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
    Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
    Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.