Who Would be Brazil In The Java World Cup?

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Not Sun or Oracle, but SpringSource, according to their CEO Rod Johnson; a recent survey and work on java specs with Google supports his opinion

In an interview with eWEEK at the JavaOne 2009 conference in San Francisco, the fun-loving Johnson, also dubbed the “Angry Man” of Java for some of his strong stances about the direction of enterprise Java, said he believes competition for the Java crown can be likened to the World Cup. Indeed, Johnson said he could picture the World Cup tournament with Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Brazil among the top teams left in the tournament. “So there are all these teams playing in the tournament, but Albania is making the rules.” he said, noting that Sun represents Albania, a team nobody expects to have a chance at the title.

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In Johnson’s view, that scenario is indicative of how the Java world has been run, with Sun in control of the Java Community Process (JCP), which sets the rules for the governance of the Java platform and decides which new specifications, Java Specification Requests (JSRs), get the go ahead, and what they essentially contain. “But no one viewed Sun as a serious competitor” in the middleware space, he said. “Who cares about Albania?” he asked.

Concerns About Oracle

Now enter Oracle as potential owner of Sun and leader of the JCP. That puts a real software powerhouse in the driver’s seat. “Now, I don’t know what will happen with Oracle in charge,” Johnson said. “Oracle is like Germany; and no one particularly likes the way the Germans play football,” he said. “IBM would be like Spain (at least until their recent defeat at the hands of the US national squad). So if Spain and Germany get to the finals, do you trust Germany to make the rules?” he asked sportively.

What Oracle would do at the helm of the JCP has been a concern of Java developers and companies that base their technology on Java ever since the database giant announced its intent to acquire Sun in April. Many observers have expressed concern over how aggressive Oracle might be, not only in running the JCP in a way that benefits Oracle and its products over other companies, but also in directly tweaking the Java platform itself to do so.

However, a source close to both the JCP and Oracle dismissed those concerns as misguided. “You have to realise that folks like Thomas Kurian [senior vice president of Oracle Product Development] and Steve Harris [vice president of the Java Platform Group at Oracle] will be closely involved with this,” the source said while asking for anonymity. “And these guys have been doing this kind of thing for years. They have loads of integrity and I really don’t think there’s really any reason for concern.”

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