It's not often that I can honestly say I'm looking forward to a trade show, but this year's JavaOne, held September 19 to 23 in San Francisco, sounds like it's gearing up to be the most interesting event in the show's history. Not only is this the first JavaOne to be hosted by Oracle following its acquisition of Sun Microsystems last year, but it's also become the focal point of lively debate among the Java community.
Last week, Google announced it was backing out of this year's JavaOne, citing irreconcilable differences with Oracle management. Oracle filed a lawsuit against Google in August, alleging that the Dalvik virtual machine at the heart of the search giant's Android smartphone OS violates Java-related patents. That move inspired much chatter among the Java faithful, who worry that this legal action indicates a shift toward more heavy-handed governance of the Java platform under Oracle's wing.
Among the malcontents is no less a presence than the father of Java himself, James Gosling, who last week launched a T-shirt campaign urging Oracle to stick to Sun's vision of a free Java. In a blog post, Gosling said he hoped JavaOne attendees would wear the shirts, "just to let Larry [Ellison] know you care."
Whether Oracle's legal wrangling will inspire other attendees to follow Google's lead and skip the show is unclear, but at least one company is using the hubbub around JavaOne to its own advantage. Software & Support Media (S&S), a sponsor of tech magazines and conferences based in Frankfurt, Germany, is reportedly launching a U.S.-based version of its JAX (Java Apache XML) conference. Like JavaOne, that conference will also be held in the San Francisco Bay Area, although a location has not yet been finalized.
Reports of JavaOne's death have been exaggerated
This is not the first time JavaOne's viability as the nexus of all things Java has been called into question. Some attendees even speculated that last year's conference would be the last, citing uncertainty following the Sun acquisition.
Instead, this year Oracle has combined JavaOne with its annual Oracle OpenWorld conference -- easily one of the largest tech conferences in the region, if not the largest. Each year OpenWorld takes over all three wings of San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center, in addition to some nearby hotels, and routinely closes down a few city blocks to traffic in order to host its extended parties and events. This year's conference will stretch as far as Union Square, five blocks away, where the Hilton will host JavaOne alongside Oracle's own Oracle Develop sessions.
According to reports, the star attraction at this year's OpenWorld will be Oracle Fusion Applications, which the company says will combine the best features of its own current business applications with those it gained from the acquisitions of JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, and Siebel. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has promised that the long-awaited Fusion Applications will ship this year.