Here I am, in San Francisco again, after more than a year. More than a year, because, instead of choosing May or June as it used to be when JavaOne was Sun’s, Oracle went for a joint conference in September. Yes, this year’s JavaOne is a joint conference organized with Oracle Develop. I have nothing against September. They even say that in San Francisco they have late summers. And it is true that this first day is a very pleasant one: 21 C (70 F) degrees and partly cloudy. Much better than most days of late May or early June.
This year’s JavaOne is a big question mark in my mind and I’m guessing that I’m not the only one. Even the fact that Google pulled off the biggest Java conference alone would be sufficient to raise more than a few eyebrows. Most developers wouldn’t care who own or control Java. They’d like to do their jobs with the best tools on the best platform. They couldn’t care less who is at the driver’s seat. However, it gets very worrying for everybody when the platform that millions of developers are using to develop millions of systems all around the world is used as a tool during the technology giants’ arm wrestle contests. I understand that from a company’s point of view, it’s important to raise a leg on a few trees to mark the territory but Oracle shouldn’t forget that Java is the biggest thing they control now. This gives them a tremendous power. And as the saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility”. I, just like everyone else, am hoping that Oracle is going to do a better job than Sun in guiding Java. If nothing else, I was very disappointed to see some very interesting sessions cancelled at the last minute. Some of these sessions are JavaOne regulars, like Joshua Bloch‘s Effective Java. As an organizer, this is a huge failure. You cannot afford to loose presenters like Google in the world’s biggest Java conference. You just can’t! The community doesn’t want to see Java fragmented. This means that Oracle should cease to act like a control-freak from day one. The Java community loves Google and I’m afraid if we have to choose, most of us would choose Google over Oracle. So alienating Google from Java is not in the best interest of Oracle either.
I was also worried about the venue. JavaOne was traditionally held at the Moscone Center. However this year, the sessions are taking place in Hilton and Park hotels. Even though I can see some positive points in the new venue (being just 20 yards from my hotel instead of 5-6 blocs – Hey! I’m not lazy! I enjoy walking in San Francisco. It’s just when you have a long day that starts at 8am and ends at 11pm, I can tell you that 20 more minutes of sleep are precious) I am wondering how this is all going to hang together. I am afraid that it is going to be hard to appreciate the size of and the participation in this year’s JavaOne.
Oracle also blocked Mason street just next to the Hilton and created a tented area for developers. Mason Street Tent covers the whole block length of the street and it looks like it is going to be the busiest place of JavaOne 2010.
The registration process went very smoothly. Typed the e-mail address and showed a picture-ID, everything was done in less than a minute. All around was Oracle’s red & black colours, which I like. The conference material looks also very nice. At least we have a nice notepad to take notes unlike the recent years.
Yes! It is this time of the year again. Downtown San Francisco will be invaded by people strangely wearing their badges all the time (in the streets, in the bed, under the shower…) and in all the coffee shops, bars and restaurants there will at least be a corner where tech talk bubbles up.
Let there be Java!