September’s news that Oracle has begun dismissing its Java evangelists has raised questions about the company’s dedication to the Java platform. Now, a former Java official has anonymously opened up about Oracle’s nonchalance about the lack of Java innovation.
The source alleges that Oracle is cutting back on Java EE, but that it does not want to allow other companies to help out on the Java platform. Proprietary product work will be done using the Java app server WebLogic, and there will also be a proprietary microservices platform. The email also dashes any hopes of Oracle collaborating on a ‘Java foundation’ with other companies, let alone ever relinquishing its ‘ownership’ of the Java platform.
It’s clear that Oracle cannot contain the spread of negative rumours around Java since the recent layoffs, with the internal source stepping up just as contracts of Oracle’s Java evangelists begin to run out.
Java’s stagnating innovation
Although the community has enjoyed some excitement around new features arriving in next year’s Java 9 release, there are dark clouds looming over Java ahead of this year’s JavaOne conference.
It’s been commented many times before that Oracle has struggled to do anything for Java but simply inherit what was undoubtedly Sun’s biggest achievement and give Java a bad name for the rest of the world with sneaky Ask toolbar adware. Since the takeover, JVM releases have frequently been pushed back, along with numerous features – the latest being Java’s planned JSON API, dropped from next year’s release. In fact, Java modularity – now Java 9’s headline feature – was initially meant to appear in Java 7, meaning a whopping eight years from proposal to release.
It’s possible that Oracle sees few other ways to make money with Java than by suing Google, who many might argue have boosted the Java community with is arguably one of the biggest Java-based innovations in years – Android. In the words of InfoWorld’s source: Oracle “has a winner-take-all mentality and they are not interested in collaborating”.