Can Oracle take the reins on Java? Maybe it doesn't really have to.
Java founder James Gosling, to whom I had PR-free access at the recent Hadoop Summit 2010 conference, was very frank in his assessment of Oracle's stewardship of Java, now that Oracle has bought up Java creator Sun Microsystems.
"The core VM on enterprise hardware, that's the core of their business. They understand that," Gosling said. "They will execute really well on that. Outside of that, when it comes to the desktop stuff and the cell phone stuff, they find it very confusing."
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As I've reported, Gosling left Oracle after just a few weeks working for the company, under apparently less-than-friendly circumstances. Also departing since the announcement of the acquisition have been JRuby gurus Charles Nutter and Thomas Enebo, who shepherded development of a version of the Ruby language for the Java Virtual Machine.
Oracle has expressed commitments to Java and the JavaFX client-side multimedia platform, a latecomer to the rich Internet application space. Under Oracle's watch, a new release of the NetBeans IDE was released in June with JavaFX capabilities. Oracle officials, including former Sun official Jeet Kaul, have expressed intentions to keep Java interesting with the planned Java 7 release, with plans to add capabilities for multicore programming.
Oracle also has set its sights on attracting young developers to Java, a worthy goal since the 15-year-old platform must share the spotlight with a multitude of dynamic scripting languages, as well as Microsoft's .Net development technologies.