Insider: Oracle has lost interest in Java

New sources are stepping up questions about Oracle's stewardship of the Java development platform

Insider: Oracle has lost interest in Java
Liz West (Creative Commons BY or BY-SA)

There has been a lot of scuttlebutt lately about Oracle and a supposed de-emphasis on Java within the company. The rumblings are getting louder.

From the apparent dismissal of Java evangelists to an email alleging a shrugged-shoulders attitude about Java, Oracle’s commitment to the platform has come into question. This is happening despite a road map that commits to a modular Java 9 release in a year and a planned emphasis on enterprise Java at next month’s JavaOne conference.

The email, sent to InfoWorld on Tuesday by a former high-ranking Java official, claimed to feature details from inside Oracle. It said the company was becoming a cloud company, competing with Salesforce, and "Java has no interest to them anymore." The subject line cited "Java -- planned obsolescence."

Oracle is not interested in empowering its competitors and doesn't want to share innovation, the email further alleges. The company is slimming down Java EE (Enterprise Edition), but it also doesn't want anyone else to work on Java or Java EE and is sidelining the JCP (Java Community Process). "They have a winner-take-all mentality and they are not interested in collaborating," said the email. "Proprietary product work will be done on WebLogic, and there'll be a proprietary microservices platform." WebLogic is the Java application server Oracle acquired when it bought BEA Systems in 2008.

The email suggests that JCP members publish open letters to Oracle customers to warn them of what is being done to Java. Oracle, the email said, will never cooperate with any "Java Foundation" and will not release its IP. Java, though, has been open source for nearly nine years, with interested parties able to access code.

When contacted by InfoWorld, Oracle did not comment on these allegations.

This latest ranting against Oracle and its Java stewardship follows online discussions of the apparent dismissal of Java evangelists early this month. Another email circulated recently that cited the departures of prominent Java personnel, such as Arun Gupta, who is now at Couchbase after a stint at Red Hat, and Nandini Ramani and Adam Messinger, both now at Twitter. Of course, personnel changes will happen regardless of controversy; it would be a surprise if high-ranking Java officials from Oracle were not in demand by other companies.

While there has been much concern about Oracle’s Java intentions lately, the company publicly plows forward with a revamping of Java. The upcoming JavaOne conference in San Francisco has Oracle personnel figuring prominently as scheduled speakers. Perhaps we will know from what transpires at JavaOne what, exactly, is Oracle’s commitment to the prominent enterprise software development platform it inherited from Sun Microsystems nearly six years ago.

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