Could next week's JavaOne be the last?

Oracle's plan to buy Sun could raise doubts about the future of the event

Will next week's JavaOne conference be the end of the line for the annual Sun Microsystems-sponsored, week-long tribute to all things Java?

This year's conference will begin Tuesday, June 2, at the usual place -- the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Held since 1996, JavaOne attracts about 15,000 attendees per year.

But with Oracle set to buy Sun for $7.4 billion, will Oracle put an end to JavaOne and perhaps replace it with a Java emphasis at the massive Oracle OpenWorld conference? OpenWorld will be held in October at the same place as JavaOne.

[ One of Sun's co-founders sees great database possibilities in the Oracle-Sun deal. ]

Asked what the future holds for JavaOne, representatives from Sun and Oracle declined to comment on Tuesday. A glance at the Moscone event calendar running from January to June 3, 2010, however, does not list JavaOne as a scheduled event. A Moscone representative Wednesday said JavaOne was on the Moscone schedule for June 22-25 of next year. An austere Web page does exist for JavaOne 2010, stating the event runs June 21-24. The page invites submission of presentations.

Observers Tuesday offered varied perspectives, with Gartner analyst Roy Valdes speculating there might indeed be an end to JavaOne at some point. But for Oracle to suddenly pull the plug on JavaOne might give out the perception that the company does not care about Java. Over time, however, JavaOne could disappear, Valdes reasoned.

"Oracle may take a more hands-on approach to Java than Sun did," Valdes added. "However, this does not necessarily imply a single broad-scope conference on Java."

A prominent Java developer predicted a future for the conference.

"I'd be surprised if it's the last JavaOne," said Rod Johnson, creator of the Spring Framework for Java, who will give a presentation at next week's event on the 3.0 version of Spring. "I think in order for Oracle to succeed, they need Java as a language to continue to be successful."

"Assuming that they believe that JavaOne is a good thing for Java, and I think it is, I would expect [the event] to continue," Johnson said.

JavaOne will highlight Sun's JavaFX technology for rich media applications. Also featured will be a keynote by Microsoft Corporate Vice President Dan'l Lewin, who will talk about the company's software and services partnership with Sun that spans on-premise and cloud computing. Lewin's appearance will be the first time a Microsoft official has given a keynote speech at JavaOne. It might be the last, too, regardless of JavaOne's future, given that Oracle and Microsoft have not always gotten along.

Lewin also will cover interoperability between Java and Microsoft's .Net.

Meanwhile, fragmentation in the Java ME (Micro Edition) space will be the subject of a panel discussion featuring representatives from Sun, Sony Ericsson, and Orange.

Sun's Robert Brewin, vice president and CTO will discuss the pervasiveness of Java in a keynote talk. IBM, a longtime Java supporter, will discuss "extreme transaction processing" and "Smart SOA" at the show. James Gosling, Sun vice president and considered the father of Java, will detail Java-powered toys.

Topics covered in the many sessions at the event include:

  • Java programming for real-time systems
  • Script Bowl 2009, focusing on scripting languages that run on top of the Java Virtual Machine, including Groovy, JRuby, Jython, Scala, and a new entrant, clojure
  • Eclipse Foundation technologies; Sun has long declined to join the open source Eclipse group, but Oracle is a member
  • The Google App Engine cloud platform, which now supports Java
  • Semantic Web programming

In conjunction with JavaOne, the CommunityOne West conference pertaining to open source software runs from June 1-3 also at the Moscone Center. Cloud computing will be a major emphasis at this event.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.