Bye bye Sun, what about Java?

Well, if you now to to www.sun.com, you are redirected to www.oracle.com. After the OK of the European Committee by Neelie Kroes, Oracle is free to take over Sun completely. So it did. A lot of sadness to the people working there and supporting there. A technology company is merged into another and disappears off the radar.

So what does this mean? A commercially very successful company bought a very inventive (yet not commercially successful) company.  Just look at the list of acquired companies. So Oracle bought a company with 3 key products: Sun hardware & OS, Java and MySQL. The hardware business was suffering from the biggest losses. Premium hardware with excellent software and support, but expensive and outran by cheap X86 hardware + Linux. Still, if you need one machine to serve your big and battered database, a Sun Solaris box running Oracle (!) is your best bet. MySQL caused the biggest concern for the EC to deeply investigate the merger. Their fear was that Oracle would be come a too big player on the database market. I don’t know how, but somehow the EC now thinks this is not a major concern so that their approved of the merger. I am still concerned, especially after the original creator of the open source database wrote that the world should object. However, MySQL is still open source and has been for some while, so buying the company that bought the company that offers support (and yes does a lot of development) should not hinder the further development from MySQL too much.

So what about Java? Ha, this is a matter that is important to me. As everybody else, I think that Java was the one reason for Oracle to buy Sun. Why? Because apart from its database all other products are running Java, and Java is used a lot by its existing clients. And controlling Java, well… Fortunately a lot of Java parts are already open source, mainly through the Java Community Process. But, yes, I agree with Douglas Allen’s post on TheServerSide , Oracle has always been about big businesses and this will become true for Java. Arrived, big businesses, as banks, telco’s, 10 billion + companies that have a lot of politics and can shell out hundreds of thousands or euros to pay licenses and consultants.

So what about the smaller more agile new web 2.0 startups that do not need ESB, 2PC, JTA, or EJB?  Yes, Java (J2ee or JEE to be more precise) is used in internet companies like Linkedin.com, Facebook’s Cassandra, Amazon, Google’s Ajax framework GWT that is used for Gmail,  Ebuddy but a lot of new companies are using script languages like PHP , Python or Ruby on Rails. I think this is partly because of perception, partly because of the promise of productivity. Yes, Java has a lot of things you need to learn (strong typing, packages, runtimes) but for bigger projects this helps you to organize things. So yes, I hope the open source part of Java will become stronger, and products like Spring, Tomcat, Jetty, ActiveMQ, Eclipse will form a separate open source ecosystem besides Oracle’s business oriented Java family.