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Father of Java, James Gosling Unloads 337

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the java-and-java dept.
javab0y writes "The folks over at basementcoders did a podcast with James Gosling, The Father of Java, last week at a coffee shop in San Francisco during the JavaOne conference. In a raw and no-holds-barred interview, James let loose on Oracle, the Google Lawsuit, and his experience with IBM. You know its going to be good when he starts out saying, 'I eventually graduated in '83. Went to work for IBM which is, you know, is within the top 10 of my stupidest career decisions I've made.' The podcast was fully transcribed."
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Father of Java, James Gosling Unloads

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  • by syousef (465911) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @06:19PM (#33728978) Journal

    I have plenty of respect for the guy's technical prowess. He was definitely also in the right place at the right time but also undoubtedly technically brilliant. And yet he runs his career like a schoolboy. You just don't go around openly rubbishing former employers like that as it makes prospective employers wary. After all you'll probably rubbish them when you're done too. I wonder how many opportunities he's missed acting that way.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @06:28PM (#33729050)
    Pft, I suspect given his reputation he doesn't have much to worry about. I'm more amused at how people react with horror at someone actually being open and honest. It's one of the reasons I'm glad to be self employed. I might not make as much as if I sold my soul to the highest bidder, but at least I still have it. I see cubicle drones constantly horrified by the idea of people who aren't owned and bought. What the fuck happened to you to make you like that!
  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @06:33PM (#33729094)

    You just don't go around openly rubbishing former employers like that as it makes prospective employers wary. After all you'll probably rubbish them when you're done too. I wonder how many opportunities he's missed acting that way.

    I'd like to think there are employers who are more concerned with "What can he do for us?" rather than "OMG, what will he say about US in a few years?!? He might hurt our feeeeeellliiiinnngs!!!" Employers who fret about things like that are employers I don't really want to work for.

    I don't work on computers, but I find it hard to believe that in his field, you could be brilliant and find yourself unemployable because you said working for X company was a mistake.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @06:34PM (#33729098)

    I bet he missed none he wanted. He is at a point where he does not need to worry about that.

    I find it really sad that you are saying this, true but sad that speaking the truth is so startling. One reason why I refuse to work at any big company.

  • by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @06:35PM (#33729106)
    1. He invented one of the most popular languages of all time.
    2. This isn't your typical dime a dozen BSCS or BSEE cubical wage slave that be easily replaced.
    3. Unlike the folks in #2, he can say, "I created billions of dollars worth of revenue for x,y,z"

    Of course he'll get hired - even by big unimaginative corporations who like their cookie-cutter employees.

  • by sootman (158191) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @06:39PM (#33729134) Homepage Journal

    I skimmed the whole thing, and read a few good chunks of it, in about 5 minutes. Much better than listening to a full hour-plus of audio. Thanks to whoever did that!

  • by HeloWorld (1014739) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @06:41PM (#33729152)
    Your posting is rather humorous given that you are talking about one of the major icons of the technology world. James Gosling doesn't have to worry about finding a "job". Having been a vice-president at Sun for many years I think he is well beyond needing someone to give him a job. And, having been one of the major contributors to the industry he is very well situated to criticize the industry for it's many mistakes.
  • by RichardDeVries (961583) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @07:00PM (#33729326) Journal

    I don't know how to jolt myself into seeing what each moment could become. But I do know one thing: the solution doesn't involve watering down my every little idea and creative impulse for the sake of some day easing my fit into a mold. It doesn't involve tempering my life to better fit someone's expectations. It doesn't involve constantly holding back for fear of shaking things up.

    Some xkcd's become clichés for a reason. This is one of them. xkcd 137 [xkcd.com].

  • by pavera (320634) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @07:01PM (#33729340) Homepage Journal

    amen! #1 reason I've never understood podcasts... Reading is sooo much faster and more convenient.

  • by blair1q (305137) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @07:01PM (#33729348) Journal

    Java needs a permanent and legal separate existence from Oracle.

    Won't happen, for reasons Gosling pointed out: it's too big and too widely deployed to be maintained without huge test expense for even the smallest code changes.

    Which is kind of interesting, because all along I've kind of had the supposition that one of the things Sun had done with Java is to streamline that so that the propagation of the effects of changes was no longer unpredictable. I guess they didn't. In fact it sounds like the opposite happened and it's just another unmanageable bowl of spaghetti.

    Time to sell it to someone who thinks it's a cash-cow and start over on the thing that will obsolete it.

  • by codepunk (167897) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @07:10PM (#33729422)

    You should have been using "webcrawler" instead.

  • by melted (227442) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @07:39PM (#33729626) Homepage

    He needs to focus less on freedom, and more on achieving some semblance of feature parity with .NET. Microsoft is so far ahead with C# and CLR it's not even funny anymore. Dear James, why the fuck can't I new up an array of fully specialized generic objects in Java in year 2010? I mean, this is just bizarre crap. And this guy just keeps going around and telling everyone how much of a genius he is.

  • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @07:46PM (#33729672) Homepage

    Go to school or not. Go to graduate school or not. Go to IBM or not. Go to Sun or not. Stay at Oracle or not.

    It looks like he's had under 10 career moves total, so by definition aren't all of them in the top 10 worst? (And also all are in the top 10 best).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @08:05PM (#33729804)

    In one line you've shown everything thats wrong with computing today.

  • by codepunk (167897) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @08:13PM (#33729844)

    I am far from a Java fan boy but not oblivious to the fact that it is a much easier task to create a language and vm designed for a single platform.

  • by RichardDeVries (961583) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @08:22PM (#33729888) Journal

    Pah. I raise you ONE Edgar Allan Poe (worth at least FOUR demotivators): "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night."

  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @10:30PM (#33730448)
    I see nothing in there about the .NET CLR having Java related patent issues. Nothing. That settlement was about Microsoft's Java implementation.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @10:32PM (#33730456) Journal

    I noticed that quote, too, but it goes deeper than it seems from the first glance. Just think about it: you may be sued by Oracle for violating JVM patents if you use Mono!

  • by SplashMyBandit (1543257) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @10:38PM (#33730480)
    So far ahead?

    How many platforms does .NET run on? [answer: 1 - Windows]. If you customer is big (bank, government department, military etc) they simply aren't running their biggest systems on Windows and .NET is not even a contender.

    What approximate percentage of the development market (projects, jobsm tools, conferences, books, etc) does C# have relative to Java? [answer: approx 25% according to Tiobe.com; even PHP is a more popular development tool than C#]
    http://www.tiobe.com/index.php/content/paperinfo/tpci/index.html [tiobe.com]

    What development platform has had no epidemics of vulnerabilities when deployed to be the Internet? [Answer: Java; contrast the ASP.Net platform that is was discovered to be *very* badly remotely exploitable in the last few days so much that Microsoft had to issue an emergency out-of-band patch]

    Which development platform is conservative adding features (not worrying about 'trendy' features that get deprecated on the next release) so that massive investments on code are not deprecated by the need of a vendor to sell you a new IDE version every two years? [Answer: Java, not .NET]

    You can keep your shiny new features that affect 2% of your codebase and survive for two years before something replaces them. I'll stick to saving myself time, my customers money, all the while keeping their systems safe. .NET is good for the desktop, it blows in the enterprise (fortunately most enterprise developers know this; only folks with less than a decade of enterprise development experience seem to be under the delusion .NET is a better strategic choice [although it certainly has tactical advantages, but only n00bs get excited about them]).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @11:01PM (#33730610)

    Dear James, why the fuck can't I new up an array of fully specialized generic objects in Java in year 2010?

    Dear asshole,

    You're a programmer. How about you do some fucking work for yourself?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @11:09PM (#33730640)

    I can't help but be reminded of something I overheard in a coffee shop recently. A grey-haired gentleman, I estimate to be mid-50s, was being interviewed by a slightly younger man. The interviewer was asking the interviewee about his recent "time off". The older man was plainly successful--had worked for a major tech firm in the Valley, etc. He still felt compelled to go through the speil about how he traveleld, etc. You could tell he was justifying himeslf to the interviewer. I thought, really? You're at that level, you were a director or some other exec position, you walked with enough dough to travel, but here you are having to justify yourelf? What if you didn't travel? What if you really just wanted to be a bum for a while? Is that so wrong?

    Followed by, are you really a success if you're still feeling all that at your age?

  • by syousef (465911) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:57AM (#33731018) Journal

    I'm more amused at how people react with horror at someone actually being open and honest.

    There's honesty and there's honesty. For example if your spouse puts on weight and asks you if she has you might be able to honestly answer "Yeah you've turned into a real pig honey. Lay off the chocolate and get off your arse" or "Yes, you've put on a little weight, but it's nothing you can't fix, and I still adore you". Which one do you think is better for your relationship?

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @02:15AM (#33731422) Journal

    "A Java ripoff now with enhancements"

    Well, it's better than "A Smalltalk ripoff with deficiencies", which is what Java is. Oh, some people rather argue that it's "C++ ripoff with deficiencies", but that's even worse. ~

    On a serious note, though, the entire history of computer science is "ripping off" someone, and even more so when it comes to languages. Ultimately it's all a rip off FORTRAN, Algol-60 and Lisp, since everyone else came after and mostly rehashed those same ideas, sometimes adding little bits in between.

    If you want something more specific, well - I believe you can thank C# and VB specifically for bringing functional programming to mainstream (see LINQ). More broadly, I dare say that it's much more pragmatic than Java is, with design decisions that generally aim at reducing the amount of code written and improving its clarity (properties, delegates & lambdas, LINQ, "dynamic"), even at the cost of theoretical purity (e.g. compare C# delegates with Java classes-or-interfaces-only attitude).

    What's worse though is .NET programs machine translated into Java running faster on JVM than CLR... ouch.

    A reference would be well advised for such a claim. Particularly so as, given that CLR instruction set and type system are both richer than JVM ones (custom value types, unmanaged data and function pointers, reified generics with variance, tailcalls... the list is long), I don't see how such a conversion would be generally possible in the first place - so that seriously smacks of bullshit.

    Then again, I can easily write some trivial .NET code which will be significantly faster than the nearest equivalent Java code. Hint: non-reified generics and autoboxing...

  • by yyxx (1812612) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @02:54AM (#33731582)

    Are you kidding? Java was a big step backwards compared to the state of the art in the mid-90's. Java still hasn't caught up with languages like Smalltalk (Java's collections are a poor rip-off of Smalltalk's).

  • Re:really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by peppepz (1311345) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:21AM (#33732186)

    Python with Gtk+ or Qt is a much better cross-platform environment than Java: easier to develop for, with better desktop integration, and nicer looking UIs.

    It depends. Gtk+ is "better integrated" only if you're using Gnome. On Windows or even KDE, Gtk+ applications don't look much less "alien" than Java applications using the native toolkit. You can use Qt from Java, too, if you really want to - Qt is not more "native" to Python than it is to Java.

    Also, Java is orders of magnitude faster than Python.

    Gtk+, Qt, and wx all are cross-platform toolkits, better than anything Java has ever provided.

    Java provides a standard library comprising a lot of stuff out of the box: collections, string handling, math, network access, serialization, 2d vector graphics, data compression, reflection, internationalization, accessibility, text encoding, an opentype renderer, multimedia, a document editor with html rendering support, image I/O, a midi wavetable, a javascript interpreter, xml I/O, a compiler interface, fullscreen graphics. All of this is available with identical functionality across all of the supported platforms (there are no second-class citizens). I don't know any other single development platform that provides *all* of this.

  • by peppepz (1311345) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:42AM (#33732290)

    Well, it's better than "A Smalltalk ripoff with deficiencies", which is what Java is. Oh, some people rather argue that it's "C++ ripoff with deficiencies", but that's even worse. ~ On a serious note, though, the entire history of computer science is "ripping off" someone, and even more so when it comes to languages. Ultimately it's all a rip off FORTRAN, Algol-60 and Lisp, since everyone else came after and mostly rehashed those same ideas, sometimes adding little bits in between.

    While I somewhat agree with you and I think that "ripping off" is normal and should even be encouraged, let's give the credit where it belongs. While Java reuses Smalltalk concepts (bytecode and object orientation?), Java and Smalltalk are two completely different languages, with diverging philosophies and incomparable syntax. Can you say the same about Java and the original C#? Some code could be converted between the languages with a battery of regexp substitutions!

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