As the Java turns….another era ends in high tech….
Having been involved with or watching Java for….a decade (yikes!) I am watching the Oracle/Sun announcements with some extreme curiousity. Disclaimer – these are my views over a 10 yr period of watching the ups and downs of Java – not those of my current employer.
One of the interesting things about Sun and Java was the “sort of open, sort of not” license. They were happy for anyone to contribute….as long as they had complete control & sole licensing benefit. I wonder if this is what will turn out ot be the ultimate difference between Java and Linux. Linux may face a difficulty in any company figuring out how to really profit from it without pissing off the community in doing it – but at least you can clearly show the community does benefit from it. In Java, like the movie Highlander “there could be only one“
Another observation about this deal after personally experiencing the end of an era from the inside of Digital Equipment Corporation: corporate altrustic innovation and contributing generously towards the greater good of technology development seems to be similar to the development of philosophy in Greco-Roman times. As the empires crumbled, the artists were replaced with merchants (or farmers). Only a few Irish monks were left to try to keep the manuscripts together that documented the higher principles between the time the barbarians sacked the gates and new empires/kingdoms emerged from the dark ages. Only one institution remained in Rome when the senators and the rest of the government fled. When the question is art vs sustinance or philosophy vs survival, survival wins in the end. The real question is who in high tech takes up the mantle to continue to fund groundbreaking software innovation where the outcome, profits and benefits are not clear before the work has really begun? Is Google the next PARC, or the next pope? (please forgive the analogy)