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Will Oracle Keep Funding Sun's Pet Java Projects? 234

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the money-to-burn dept.
gkunene writes "Oracle expects Sun to contribute to its operating profit right away. To make that happen, Oracle may pull funding and staff from projects such as JavaFX, Project Looking Glass, and Project GlassFish."
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Will Oracle Keep Funding Sun's Pet Java Projects?

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  • IMHO, JavaFX has been a solution looking for a problem. Applets aren't coming back (thank God), so stop trying to create an ideal Applet platform. HTML5 is meeting that need well enough, thanks' much. Pulling funding from the JavaFX project would hardly even be noticable.

    Project Looking Glass is one of those things I'd hate to see go, but Sun hasn't exactly done much with it. Oracle needs to decide that they'll support it full hog as a core product or just leave the project to the OSS community. This noncommittal attitude has been leaving the project in limbo.

    Now Project Glassfish, that's a whole other ball of wax. Oracle screwed up Orion (the BEST J2EE server back in the day) to insane levels of uselessness under the guise of Oracle Application Server. (Hey look! Oracle is almost as good at naming as Sun!) Glassfish (aka Sun Java System Application Server) is modern, scalable, easy to use, and absolutely wicked when deployed. Oracle would do well to give up on OAS and just let Sun keep doing what they're doing with SJSAS/GlassFish.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by pohl (872)

      I agree. Pulling funding for glassfish would be a horrible move.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BabyDave (575083)
      Wasn't that supposedly one of the main reasons that they bought BEA - to get Weblogic to merge with/replace OAS?
      • Ever since Microsoft got away with a slap on the wrist, Oracle has been buying their way to a monopoly. They give excuses for purchasing competitors (some of which might even be true), but their core aim is to be the big fish in the pond.

        Oracle may get some benefit out of BEA's product line or they might trash it. Doesn't matter either way. Oracle eliminated a competitor, bought a market, and is looking to reap the rewards of that maneuver. The tech is secondary.

        That being said, the Sun purchase is slightly different. Oracle and Sun have been a strong pairing on the high end of database deployments. Oracle needs Sun and their hardware to survive. It doesn't hurt that owning the business gives Oracle enough tools to hit IBM where it hurts...

        (I'll have to visit IBM sometime and see how many bloody stains I can find on the walls. There has got to be some serious head banging going on over there. ;-))

        • by D Ninja (825055)

          They give excuses for purchasing competitors (some of which might even be true), but their core aim is to be the big fish in the pond.

          I think you mean the big GLASSfish in the pond.

          What?

        • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday April 27, 2009 @02:00PM (#27733327) Journal

          Ever since Microsoft got away with a slap on the wrist, Oracle has been buying their way to a monopoly. They give excuses for purchasing competitors (some of which might even be true), but their core aim is to be the big fish in the pond.

          Buying their way to a monopoly is very different from buying their way to being a big fish in a little pond.

          Note that buying BEA still makes then only the second-biggest middleware firm (SAP still being larger in that market).

          I agree that Oracle wants to be the dominant competitor in each of the markets it competes in, BUT that is not the same as having monopoly position.

          Truth be told, aside from the Sun acquisition, most of Oracle's acquisitions in the past few years have been about horizontal growth -- getting Oracle middleware products into markets where they had little presence (finance & banking, insurance, etc). There has not been so much of them buying competitors in markets they already have a big presence in, which is where the monopoly fears should come.

        • by afabbro (33948)

          Oracle needs Sun and their hardware to survive.

          I'm genuinely curious why you would think that. Oracle is a software company. I suspect that Sun's hardware business will be the first thing Oracle jettisons.

          Oracle has a high-end database machine which is made by HP. I really don't see what owning SPARC servers (not a growing market), x86 servers (high effort, low return), or tape systems (StorageTek) gives them.

          • I'm genuinely curious why you would think that. Oracle is a software company. I suspect that Sun's hardware business will be the first thing Oracle jettisons.

            Oracle is mostly deployed on Solaris/SPARC with Linux coming in second, despite Oracle's Linux push.

            The cost of Sun Hardware is a drop in the bucket compared to Oracle licensing costs and if people are willing to pay that much they want a solution that will give them peace of mind on mission critical systems. Solaris/SPARC still has some benefits over Linux/x86.

            Oracle has a high-end database machine which is made by HP

            HP and Oracle came out with the Exadata storage server. That's not a "high-end database machine". Oracle seems particularly interested in Sun's Open

            • by afabbro (33948)

              HP and Oracle came out with the Exadata storage server. That's not a "high-end database machine".

              No, but this is [oracle.com].

              • That's just some exadata storage servers thrown in a rack with some DL360s.

                When Oracle owns Sun, they will own all the hardware necessary to replicate that in house. Which would bring down consumer costs and increase profits for Oracle.

    • by MrEricSir (398214) on Monday April 27, 2009 @12:29PM (#27731831) Homepage

      Applets are still used quite extensively, actually. And now we have webstart, which is more or less the same candy in a different wrapper.

      • by fm6 (162816) on Monday April 27, 2009 @02:10PM (#27733521) Homepage Journal

        Applets are still used quite extensively, actually.

        Used? Yes. Extensively? No. There are too many competing technology for embedding applications in a web browser, and Java's applet API is the least powerful among them.

        And now we have webstart, which is more or less the same candy in a different wrapper.

        No it's not. JWS applications don't use the applet API and do not run in a browser window. They're just like non-embedded applications, except that instead of typing "java main class" or executing a JAR file, you execute an XML file that tells your JRE the URLs it needs to download. You might use a web browser to obtain the XML file. But you can also have a local XML file that you can run without firing up a web browser.

        Even at Sun, people mostly agree that applets aren't really useful. They're probably be around as long as Java is, but if Oracle has any sense, they'll stay in maintenance mode with no more API development.
         

        • There isn't much applet specific API really, the applet class allows the applet to request a few things from the host but mostly it's just standard java APIs with security restrictions applied.

          Afaict there are two types of applet, "untrusted applets" that just run and "trusted applets" that pop up a security warning with signature information asking if the user wants to run them or not.

          Afaict the latter category can do pretty much whatever they want.

          Similar things apply to web start apps afaict, there are

    • Applets may not be great for much else, but they are great for games. I don't care about JavaFX per se but it was at least partly responsible for recent work to improve the Java2D graphics libraries, and a lot of Java games would benefit from further improvements there.

      • by fm6 (162816)

        I play a lot of games on the web, and I've never seen a really good Java game. Flash seems to dominate this market.

    • by javacowboy (222023) on Monday April 27, 2009 @12:44PM (#27732105)

      HTML/CSS/JavaScript is an insufficient platform for Rich Internet Applications (RIA). Why do you think Flash is still so widely used? It's not just video. It's complex charting, graphics, animations, etc.

      If you think Flash and Silverlight are just going to go away, or that IE and its non-standard compliance and lack of SVG are just going to go away, you're dreaming in technicolour. Web standards will eventually hit a wall.

      I don't disagree that a lot of functionality (including video) can be implemented by all browsers that implement that new web standards, but it won't enough.

      Besides, JavaFX has distinct advantages over Flash and Silverlight. It integrates seamlessly with server-side Java code. It also shares the same APIs with JavaFX Mobile, which allows mobile and RIA apps to share the same code.

      Besides, do you really want the rich web to turn into a battle between two proprietary frameworks? Parts of JavaFX are already open source, and Sun is planning to open source the rest.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AndrewNeo (979708)

        Besides, JavaFX has distinct advantages over Flash and Silverlight. It integrates seamlessly with server-side Java code.

        So does Silverlight with ASP.NET code, doesn't it?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) *

        HTML/CSS/JavaScript is an insufficient platform for Rich Internet Applications (RIA).

        There's a reason why I specifically mentioned HTML5. Video, Canvas, Audio, SVG, Networking, Storage, multi-threading, etc. The platform meets and even exceeds the Flash and Silverlight platforms.

        This ain't your grandma's HTML, boay!

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by javacowboy (222023)

          There's a reason why I specifically mentioned HTML5. Video, Canvas, Audio, SVG, Networking, Storage, multi-threading, etc. The platform meets and even exceeds the Flash and Silverlight platforms.

          Which browsers have fully implemented these? And how many corporations do you think will deploy intranet webapps that specifically omit support for IE?

          • by Glonk (103787)

            Firefox 3.5 implements the majority of those. IIRC Webkit and Safari are almost there too, and even MS is making a sprint to HTML 5 -- IE8 has started implementation there.

            As for editors, yes -- they are under development.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by javacowboy (222023)

              IE 8 has specifically omitted support for SVG. Seems Microsoft has a conflict of interest in regard to Silverlight. There's no way an RIA application will be deployed if it doesn't support the browser with a 70%+ installed base.

              • by lahvak (69490)

                Lot of RIA are used internally inside companies. We are just migrating to a new webmail software, and we were told very clearly "if you use IE, install firefox, the application currently does not support IE".

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by javacowboy (222023)

          There's a reason why I specifically mentioned HTML5. Video, Canvas, Audio, SVG, Networking, Storage, multi-threading, etc. The platform meets and even exceeds the Flash and Silverlight platforms.

          P.S. Do development tools exist for these features? Flash/Flex, Silverlight and JavaFX already have development tools and IDEs.

        • by squoozer (730327)

          ...and we will get good cross browser support for all those features in 2196, until then the world will be running Flash, Silverlight and JavaFX in that order (shame beause I think JavaFX actually has quite a lot to offer). Even if cross browser support isn't required getting those features into IE in a reasonable time frame is not likely.

      • by pallmall1 (882819)

        Besides, JavaFX has distinct advantages over Flash and Silverlight. It integrates seamlessly with server-side Java code. It also shares the same APIs with JavaFX Mobile, which allows mobile and RIA apps to share the same code.

        The JavaFX "advantages" are promises [java.net] that don't yet exist (read the comments in the link).

      • by Jack9 (11421)

        I agree, but JWS gives you deployment of proper RIAs. Even flash is not enough, that's why there's AIR. JWS is better than AIR in many ways.

      • do you really want the rich web to turn into a battle between two proprietary frameworks?

        Hell no, I want mine to win, and the sooner the better.

        Parts of JavaFX are already open source, and Sun was planning to open source the rest.

        Fixed that for you,

                  Larry.

      • JavaFX has distinct advantages over Flash and Silverlight. It integrates seamlessly with server-side Java code.

        Yes, but use of standardized protocols such as SOAP almost makes this point moot.

        It also shares the same APIs with JavaFX Mobile, which allows mobile and RIA apps to share the same code.

        That is pretty cool

    • Yeah, I don't know how Glassfish got lumped in with the "pet projects" moniker. I think whoever wrote the summary doesn't know what it is.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by arthurp (1250620)
      I'd be really sad to see JavaFX die. I know people hate applets and although I don't agree with them I can't really blame them. Applets have done some serious sucking over the years. But I think times have changed a lot. And especially with all the new JVM languages popping up I'd be really sad to see Flash continue to be the goto technology for interactive graphical web apps. This is partly because I hate flash though.
    • by msobkow (48369) on Monday April 27, 2009 @01:11PM (#27732527) Homepage Journal

      More to the point, Glassfish has been sold with support to a number of companies. Unlike JavaFX (which has virtually no market share), a significant number of paying customers have bought into the Sun Application Server/Glassfish.

      In other words, Sun has contractual obligations to continue with Glassfish, and Oracle has inherited those obligations. They can't just drop support.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Chyeld (713439)

        In other words, Sun has contractual obligations to continue with Glassfish, and Oracle has inherited those obligations. They can't just drop support.

        Wanna bet?

        Dear Valued Customer,

        As you may already know, Sun has recently been acquired by Oracle. As part of this process, Oracle also inherited the service contracts you held with Sun. However, due to the current economic climate, some of Sun's less profitable product lines need to be discontinued or consolidated into existing product lines Oracle already has.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          Dude! I hope you didn't reply to that message and give any personal information. It's clearly a phishing attempt, and a poor one at that!

          First, the Sun/Oracle deal hasn't been finalized.
          Second, you can see their form message software screwed up and didn't replace the variables X, Y and Z with real products. I see that happening a lot in spam lately.
          Third, they didn't sign it with a full name, title, and contact information.

      • by greg1104 (461138)

        They can't just drop support.

        Sure they can, the only question is how long it will take before they can do it cost-effectively. Sun's normal sales terms [sun.com] talk about how they can pull out of their side of a support agreement in section 5.5. Typically Sun's contracts are executed for some number of years at a time, with even their Perpetual Entitlement Contracts [sun.com] having a renewal date in them. So Oracle could announce an end-of-life date effective a couple of years out, probably 3 years, and start tapering do

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rbanffy (584143)

      I am astonished to hear Project Looking Glass is still around.

    • by tcopeland (32225)

      > JavaFX has been a solution looking for a problem

      There certainly was a lot of energy poured into it, though. I feel bad for folks like Josh Marinacci [java.net], who has been working on it for a while. Seems like every other Java Posse [javaposse.com] episode had some mention of JavaFX and its progress (or lack thereof).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      According to this blog post, Oracle is the biggest user of applets [andrejkoelewijn.com] in their Oracle Forms. The author thinks that moving oracle forms to javafx could be a big plus for Oracle and I think there are merits to what he says.

      The popular alternative is Adobe Flash. It's been a while since I tried programming in actionscript but last time I did, I had lots of bumps and bruises from knocking my head against the wall.

      The last release of Project Looking Glass was in January of 2007. I don't think there's been much goi

    • Applets are no worse than anything else. The only difference is the price tag on Flash stops more people (at least those with a conscience) from making any old piece of shit and tossing it up on the web. Professionally done applets are excellent and the best solution to web apps so far.

      http://www.wordle.net/ [wordle.net] is rather popular despite using an applet but that's because it's done right. It loads nearly instantly and it's not some awful collection of graphical effects tutorials thrown together.

      JavaFx is
    • by Sir_Real (179104)

      They'll can Glassfish because they're committed to Weblogic, and it would be very not good to release 3 different J2ee servers in 5 years. OAS is an absolute rotting turd. Weblogic is probably going to suffer the same fate unless they manage to write some awesome tooling. There's a ton of potential to create a painless j2ee development stack with Oracle and Weblogic eclipse plugins. They've never managed to do this. Eclipse + OAS is a friggin nightmare. OAS + Oracle DB works fine if you don't do anyth

      • Glassfish may continue to live on as the reference implementation for the JEE stack. It's open source so it's not just going to vanish. It already uses TopLink (from Oracle) as its EJB3 persistence implementation and already plays very nicely with Eclipse and especially NetBeans (which they now also own). If Oracle was smart, they would build an enterprise Java development stack around NetBeans, Glassfish, ADF Faces, and Oracle DB and reap the benefits of a massive installed user base and the contributio

    • by glwtta (532858)
      Glassfish (aka Sun Java System Application Server) is modern, scalable, easy to use, and absolutely wicked when deployed.

      Shit, I must've been using some other Glassfish, because I found it to be an overcomplicated, cumbersome beast to set up and administer.

      Every time I start thinking that I need Glassfish instead of Tomcat, I slap myself really hard in the face and go back to the drawing board - it's actually done wonders for keeping "Enterprise-iness" at bay in my projects.
    • The only thing wrong with applets is that they were hatched in 1995 with two serious limitations.

      1. They had no effective way of caching code or data on the client machine (in a safe sandbox) and so had inherent performance limitations and interminable initial download waits for anything serious.

      2. Microsoft successfully killed them by refusing to properly support (and default-install in the OS) a Java runtime environment.

      If those two facts had been different, we would be living in a world of powerful rich-

    • They are now AJAX and flash driven.

      Java was not ready while flash and shockwave were. I am hoping javafx takes off. The problem is that many new computers sold do not have a jre installed but come with flash.

      Javafx should have come out back in the late 1990s when flash was starting to gain attention.

      I am hoping Java will come back as Microsoft is slowly taking over java in the server room and adobe flash/air is all the rage. Silver light may take off in a few years after it becomes standard with new compute

  • Looking Glass (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Monday April 27, 2009 @12:24PM (#27731745) Homepage Journal

    They're spending money on Looking Glass? I just went to the web site and they're still featuring the five-year-old demo video.

    -Peter

    • Re:Looking Glass (Score:5, Informative)

      by Unending (1164935) on Monday April 27, 2009 @12:49PM (#27732167)

      It's worse than you think.
      I worked on the project 3 years ago and it was a horrible mess.
      They don't have any sort of 3D desktop concept all they have is a 2D desktop with 3D windows.
      The underlying 3D system is impossibly complex and non-nonsensical.
      Mouse clicks go through so many layers of checks that response time is ridiculous.
      They are using Java3D, which is incredibly slow anyway.
      To top all this off it doesn't look like they have changed anything in the last three years.
      I might have a slightly tainted view and I haven't looked at the code in three years, but I'm still highly unimpressed.

    • As far as I know, that proyect is dead. The last time I read something about it, it was about some X.org extensions that were added to the core.

  • Better fish to fry (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bogaboga (793279) on Monday April 27, 2009 @12:31PM (#27731877)

    I think Oracle should just strike agreements with *all* PC OEMs to have Java shipped with whatever OS these OEMs are loading on PCs. I know Java is Open Source Software and that those who need it can download it free of charge.

    What troubles me is the exercise of having to repeat the installation procedure on so many machines. I recently installed 47 systems, six of them Kubuntu 9.0.4 systems with KDE 4.2.2. and the rest were Windows XP systems. It was not fun.

    So to Oracle..."You have better fish to fry...now do the needful." It will not hurt you (Oracle) in any way.

    • Ah, but you still won't be able to get in the *buntu machines, because the ubuntus have backed themselves into a corner with the whole, one CD at all costs thing. The JRE is just too heavy to come on the CD.
  • One would hope that if the Open Source projects like Project Looking Glass, are worthwhile... they will be picked up by people who are using them. If they can open-source others rather than just killing them at least some can stay alive without showing up on the bottom line.

  • History (Score:4, Interesting)

    by UseCase (939095) on Monday April 27, 2009 @12:37PM (#27731977)

    I remember thinking the same thing when Adobe bought out Macromedia. I think there is hope for some of the larger more useful pet projects but Oracles primary is making there a new acquisition profitable. Anything not strong enough to adequately monetize will probably be Open Sourced or shelf-ed.

    So what observations can be made from other companies in our industry that have acquired companies with a strong library of technologies? What has lasted and what has fallen by the wayside historically speaking?

  • Unlikely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Monday April 27, 2009 @01:16PM (#27732617)

    Pulling funding from JavaFX would probably be a bad idea since JavaFX is meant to keep Java competitive with .Net and Flash platforms which are rapidly taking over web and application markets. There is a big market in content design so it seems ridiculous to cut funding to those projects and they would shoot themselves in the foot. I see it more likely that MySQl is in danger, since this is heavily overlapped with oracles own database applications.

    • The .NET and Flash platforms represent an enormous market.

      But Oracle and the JavaFX community have their work cut out for them if they expect JavaFX to gain a real foothold in this market. Flash is ridiculously dominant.

      I suspect the best we can hope is that competition from Silverlight and JavaFX forces Adobe to make Flash fully open source. I wouldn't be upset if JavaFX makes significant inroads, but I honestly don't see it happening.
    • I see it more likely that MySQl is in danger, since this is heavily overlapped with oracles own database applications.

      Just like they did with BerkeleyDB ... oh, wait...

    • Pulling funding from JavaFX would probably be a bad idea since JavaFX is meant to keep Java competitive with .Net and Flash platforms which are rapidly taking over web and application markets.

      Java was never competitive with Flash when it came to Web clients, nor was it competitive with .NET when it came to desktop applications (setting aside cross-platform issues). You'd have a point if they had a foothold to preserve, but as it is, JavaFX is struggling uphill all the way, and not even against Flash, but against Silverlight for the position of the "better Flash". And, so far, it's losing.

  • by mpapet (761907) on Monday April 27, 2009 @01:19PM (#27732673) Homepage

    I would argue hardware is where Oracle saw the value in Sun. IMHO, there should be a home for Solaris at Oracle simply because it's a strong, viable server OS.

    History has shown Sun has terrible problems running open source projects larger than their own paid contributors. I don't see Oracle improving or even interested in this.

    Most of Sun's software projects will fade into oblivion as GPL'd abandonware because nearly all of them are also-ran projects started as Sun's version of things like Flash.

    • Oracle has been pushing Oracle on Linux for more than several years. They have made it their preferred OS. Oracle's stated goal is not just to own the server, but the desktop space. In server space, Linux is now more prevelant than is Soliar. In addition, it has more in-roads into the desktop than Solaris.

      But you think that Oracle bought Sun for its hardware and will now switch to Solaris, and drop Linux? Is that correct?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mpapet (761907)

        Oracle's stated goal is not just to own the server, but the desktop space.

        Sun doesn't have a more useful desktop in any way. Who knows though, there have been plenty of dumb decisions in corporate America, thinking Sun's desktop is viable may be one of them.

        But you think that Oracle bought Sun for its hardware and will now switch to Solaris, and drop Linux? Is that correct?
        It's not that simple. Solaris has more features for big iron. For commodity hardware, Linux absolutely rocks. IMHO, they can easily

        • Sun's desktop strategy has moved from creating a desktop OS, to creating an OS that developers would prefer and their thin client and application delivery system.

          SunStudio and DTrace for developers and Sun Ray for other people's desktops. In addition to remote desktops to thin clients they have technology that allows you to run linux and windows applications servered remotely within you Solaris session.

          Desktops in the corporate world are more than just the physical machines and OS's these days. Sun's Identi

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        They day they announced the merger, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said that Solaris/SPARC was still the biggest place where Oracle was being deployed.

        With all the pushing that Oracle has been doing towards Linux, their customers don't seem to be following. The question must have been raised whether Oracle should be leading their customers in OS choice, or following.

        Oracle won't drop Linux, but they'll probably do more what IBM does. They'd rather sell you on AIX but if you want Linux you can have it.

        • I think that you are a lot closer now than you were the other day. Back then you were indicating that Oracle would drop Linux. I give ZERO chance of that. I also think that there is ZERO chance that they will drop Solaris. So as I said before, I think that Oracle will order the sales ppl to start supporting Linux. Sun's current crop HATE Linux and only support as about to lose the sale. In my humble swag, I think that Oracle may favor Linux, but, I think that they will offer up both willingly.
          • I think that you are a lot closer now than you were the other day. Back then you were indicating that Oracle would drop Linux

            I never said that what I said was "They will support Linux but will likely push Solaris". Being their second most popular OS, it wouldn't make sense to drop Linux

            I think they might decide to switch their development platform back to Solaris though.

            Right now for Oracle, it seems to be Solaris/SPARC and Linux/X86 but I think it makes more sense now to support Solaris/x86 more than they have in the past as a platform for Oracle and I hope they keep Solaris/x86 releases of Oracle up to date.

            In the last thread,

  • by nurb432 (527695)

    They will pull funding on all of the projects.

    Got your copy of the code you need yet? Better do it soon.

  • Project Kenai (Score:5, Informative)

    by multipartmixed (163409) on Monday April 27, 2009 @01:40PM (#27732987) Homepage

    I just hope they don't go pulling the plug on Project Kenai [kenai.com].

    Kenai is Sun's version of SourceForge/GitHub/Google Code. I'm hosting a project there and it works well enough, a few minor tweaks and it will be fantastic. I chose it because they had bugzilla, mercurial, forums with feeds and a rudimentary wiki with syntax I didn't hate. And a low-barrier to entry (I am more than capable of setting all that stuff up myself, but I'd rather spend the time hacking code).

    Funny, though, I only just realized why I must have received that "please evangelize Kenai!" message in my inbox this morning...

    • by greg1104 (461138)

      Does it make a profit? Doesn't look like it could, so expect Kenai to get canned. The discussion of the merger over at The Register [theregister.co.uk] has a good intro to the per-project profit focus of the very well managed Oracle.

  • OpenOffice (Score:3, Interesting)

    by crow (16139) on Monday April 27, 2009 @02:03PM (#27733381) Homepage Journal

    It's all speculation at this point, but the project I'm concerned about is Open Office.

  • That's like saying Oracle is going to pull Java. The very reason we all have to use Java for our day jobs is because Sun keeps pumping money into odd projects & promoting it. Everyone likes designing Java API's but Sun is the only one making progress on implementation. How many API's would get implemented if Sun didn't spend the money? Android still has just 1 implementation.

  • by ManWithIceCream (1503883) on Monday April 27, 2009 @02:16PM (#27733617)
    I'm so happy that Sun managed to release Java under the GPL before it was bought. I can't imagined what would happen if Oracle got a hold of Java without the community being able to fork it if nessecary.
  • Natural monopolies (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pseudorand (603231) on Monday April 27, 2009 @02:51PM (#27734181)
    I think that the entire computer industry is a Natural Monopoly [wikipedia.org]. Think about it. Intel, IBM and Sun basically duplicate a heck of a lot of work trying to do the same thing: make silicon add faster. Microsoft and the Linux community likewise do the same thing with operating systems. Flash/Silverlight/JavaFX/GWT: redundant. PHP/Rails/J2EE/.Net: redundant. And it's not just the companies that duplicate efforts. All their users and those who develop for these platforms duplicate efforts as well.

    These technologies aren't identical. They each have some nice features that appeal to some small subset of the user and developer bases, but the majority of uses can be implemented on whatever technology stack is available. The differences either force developers to learn multiple ways of doing things and learn about multiple sets of quirks of each tech stack, or get tied to one particular stack and risk having major parts of their skill die if that platform looses support.

    That said, I think Oracle should probably dump as much of Sun's crap as possible. A platform either needs 110% support, needs to implement lots and lots of features, needs to fix bugs as if the earth itself depended on it, needs to be cheap and easy, or needs to not waste everyone's time in the first place.

    Think about the PC. Microsoft and Intel got the 10% right that did 99% of what 99% of potential customers needed. It was affordable, it worked well enough, and it was easy to use. Since then, they used their economies of scale to take off, and now, for all the academic imperfection of i386, it's a really good, really stable platform. Even Windows (save some Visa graphics drivers) is a pretty stable platform by this point.

    True, competition from AMD made Intel get of their ass with x86_64, multi-core, and virtualization, but AMD did it all while maintaining 100% backwards compatibility with x86. i386 is like an open standard that anyone can try to do better than Intel. If they do, they make money and Intel plays catch-up. If they don't KEEP doing it better... well, they they can just get some dumbass CEO to buy a shitty GPU maker.

    True also that perceived competition from Linux has probably made Microsoft work a bit harder and cleaning things up. But in reality, Linux just proved that the *nix market really IS a natural monopoly and killed the other *nixes. Linux hasn't truly provided competition to M$ yet because it's not trivial to port an app from Windows to Linux. Wouldn't it be nice if there was just one OS to worry about (or better yet, one browser).

    The true problems with technology today are: 1) Providing fast, reliable (read: clustered/redundant) full-featured (no limited SQL or proprietary database access methods) access to server-side data without compromising security on the server and without bumping into firewalls while forcing the end-user application developer to have to learn as little as possible about how that works. No specifying port numbers. No knowledge of http caching. Transparent (to the developer) statefullness. Minimal, simple interface for handling failed requests that uses the programming language's own error-handling mechanism (i.e. exceptions).

    2) Full-featured client-side programs (read: 3D, video, multiple windows, local filesystem with appropriate security and space limitations) that can be written in any language, work on any client platform, don't compromise security on the client even though you're running untrusted code and don't require deployment of a browser plug-in or other runtime environment.

    Oracle should aim big and do that, and keep it simple and easy instead of trying to tie developers to their language (Java) and/or platform (.NET).

    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Monday April 27, 2009 @04:13PM (#27735627) Homepage Journal

      ``Intel, IBM and Sun basically duplicate a heck of a lot of work trying to do the same thing: make silicon add faster.''

      But the competition between Intel and AMD is what has been driving CPU speeds up.

      ``Microsoft and the Linux community likewise do the same thing with operating systems.''

      Again, there is a lot of progress being made because of competition between the various camps. Good features are being cloned, new features are being added, and performance and security are being improved.

      ``Flash/Silverlight/JavaFX/GWT: redundant.''

      Perhaps. Or maybe we'll see some good come from it yet.

      ``PHP/Rails/J2EE/.Net: redundant.''

      Rails gave a major boost to the web development landscape. Competition from .NET has caused Java to improve massively.

      ``And it's not just the companies that duplicate efforts. All their users and those who develop for these platforms duplicate efforts as well.''

      This is true, and a lot of time and effort has been wasted. On the other hand, one has to wonder if we would really have been better off if that hadn't happened.

      The trick is that having multiple projects that cater to the same market allows evolution to occur. Each project can move in its own direction, and the world will vote with its feet and cause the projects that make the best choices to thrive. This functionality can then be incorporated by the competing projects, or not, as they see fit. I do believe we end up with better results this way than if we wanted to always avoid duplication.

  • by KZigurs (638781)

    Hallelujah?

  • I think web developers and /.ers would take up their pitchforks and the future of the internet could be at stake itself.

    Java does have potential and I think someone at Sun should explain to Oracle that raising hte costs and putting up barriers to make higher RIOs would actual hamper Java as many hobbiests and college studnets will learn c#.net instead of java.

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