Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Should Java be free from Sun/Oracle?

There was an interesting blog from SAP CTO “Freedom of Java”! He has a very absurd comparison of freeing Java from Sun/Oracle’s clout with falling of Berlin wall. Should we free Java from Sun? My answer is an emphatic No! I have been a Java enthusiast for about a decade. Although I never liked Sun’s control over Java/JCP, I have to admit that Java flourished under Sun’s stewardship. I hope Sun/Oracle will continue the leadership in taking Java to the next level. Oracle once claimed they support 300% Java! As an ex-employee of Oracle I know that Oracle’s business is completely dependent on success of Java, all of fusion middleware, applications, management products (enterprise manager) developed in Java. Oracle cannot gamble or bungle on Java. SAP’s concern seems to be too unjustified and seems to be politically motivated.

They are suggesting that Java/JCP should be freed from Sun/Oracle and controlled by some independent consortium (Java foundation) and have volunteered to throw money, time and energy behind Java. I don’t think SAP has contributed much to Java community in the past 15 years, besides furthering its own NetWeaver platform to attract developers to their proprietary application platform.

Interestingly enough they claim to have Java EE 5 certification for past two years. Note that Java EE 5 was finalized about two and half years back. I think they still do not have a production version of application server that supports Java EE 5. I could not find in their website about their production support even for J2EE 1.4. Their website still claims support for J2EE 1.3 as shown below:

They still have a developer preview for Java EE 5 at http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/downloads?rid=/library/uuid/00846edd-355b-2b10-f38c-df94ec96eb74

How can we believe that SAP will pump millions of dollars to an open consortium to support Java’s future growth when they have not invested money to build an application server that supports latest Java standards? I think they are just playing a devil’s role here to complicate matters with Oracle’s pending acquisition of Sun.

Without strong leadership, Java will perish. If we leave it to open source then it may fork and we will end up with several Java flavors and that will be a death blow to Java. Sun has invested billions of dollars on research, development and building the community around Java and should control it. If Oracle’s acquisition of Sun succeeds then Oracle should control Java/JCP, if it fails for some reasons then who should take over Sun (if SAP does!) should own Java!

That’s my 2 cents!