Now that James Gosling has left Oracle, the trend has become even more obvious: key people who have made Java a success, are leaving Oracle.
This is not news to me, but I had hopes of being wrong about my expectations. I’ve watched Oracle acquire some very capable technology firms, focusing on Java, and one by one, they disappeared from the Java world. Sure, they existed, but companies like BEA, which used to be the topic of daily discussion in the Java world, for one reason or another, slowly faded away. In an amazing way, when a company is acquired by Oracle, the pattern seems to be the opposite of what happens when other giants buy companies. When MS, or IBM or Adobe buys a smaller company, you see their products getting well known, having a larger user base. When it is Oracle, they seem to go to that magical place where all good technologies go…
JavaFX, JRuby, NetBeans etc are not core Java technologies, but these are the links of Java to staying relevant. When you start ditching these technologies, or not supporting them strong enough, you change your course to being a legacy technology company. Oracle has been the giant of db world, and they have very very very good products in that domain. However, they are expensive, very expensive. They seem to offer no interest in any layer below large scale enterprise, and no, versions of their databases with 2gb file limits is not interesting for me, when I have postgresql.
So Oracle seems to pull every technology they acquire into their own ecosystem, in a way that would only help sell more back end products, and that is it. If Gosling is leaving, this is a bad sign. His explanation gives hints about what may have been happening, which is what people like me expected from the beginning. More people will leave Oracle, you’ll see. This is not going to kill Java or make it obsolete in the near future, but the trend is certainly not towards innovation for this technology, not with Oracle. I really hope that I end up being wrong about this one..