There's the good Larry and then there's the bad Larry. The bad Larry -- Oracle's Larry Ellison, that is -- ruthlessly snarfs up competitors, squeezes customers, and spits out employees by the thousands. Then there's the good Larry, the elegant, yacht-racing billionaire and bold fighter against the evil Microsoft empire. We saw the good Larry at JavaOne Tuesday, trotted out by his latest conquest to reassure the Java loyalists that their cherished software has landed in good hands.
Did he succeed? Not entirely. To be sure, his talk was well-received; many of the 4,000 or so developers and IT types who packed a hall in San Francisco's Moscone Center gave him a standing ovation. But there's still a good deal of nervousness, and competitors are firing shots across his bow in an effort to show that the $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems doesn't mean that Oracle will control Java.
Is this the end of JavaOne?
"[Ellison's talk] was too vague, it didn't give me enough clues," said Verient developer Vikram Nagpurkar as the hall emptied. And he wasn't alone in noticing an interesting omission in Ellison's talk: the future of JavaOne.
In a brief Q&A on the stage, Sun chairman Scott McNealy asked Ellison if this year's show was to be the last. Though Ellison made reassuring statements ("We see increased investments in Java coming from the Sun-Oracle combination and an expansion of the overall community and we're very excited about that"), he did not answer McNealy's question. And while the show is apparently on the Moscone calendar for next year, the reservation was likely made some time ago and could later be deleted.
Developer Srdjan Pantic said he's worried about the future of Java under Oracle. "No one really know what they'll do. Maybe they'll split the code base," he said.