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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 potemcam (1911094) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @06:14PM (#33728940) Homepage
    It was an hour long interview recorded on a handheld device, and we (basementcoders & TheServerSide) tried to get the transcription out as quickly as possible so those who didn't have the time to listen to the hour long interview could at the very least read through it. There's a few typos in there that we'll fix soon enough, but putting that aside, you really get to the heart of what's driving Gosling and what he hopes for the future of Java.
  • Times have changed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @06:20PM (#33728982)
    Back when I was in high school and java was new I was taking a comp sci class where we were given the names of important people in the IT industry and asked to write a report on who they were and why they're important. I googled his name on altavista.com (there was no google) and found nothing (no wikipedia at the time) except an email address at Sun. So I emailed him a list of everything I needed to know and promptly received a reply. Good luck reaching any IT big wig these days.
  • by PCM2 (4486) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @06:29PM (#33729060) Homepage

    I went in expecting Gosling to have formulated this whole platform full of talking points why Oracle should do this, that, and the other, but instead I got a pretty cogent assessment which jibes with just about everything I suspected as an outsider. Oracle exists to make money and is very aggressive in its tactics: true. Android violates Sun patents: true. He even goes so far to say he would have no problem with Oracle maintaining stewardship of Java if it does right by the community (though he's a little unclear what he's referring to there).

    The interviewers seem more eager to go with the whole "Oracle is the Devil" angle than Gosling. Gosling seems to more be saying Oracle has a tendency to be a bully, and who can argue with that?

    On the other hand, I wish someone could have gone through the transcript and done a global search-and-replace for "intel" and "cosign," at least...

  • The Google lawsuit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by VGR (467274) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @06:35PM (#33729104)
    Mr. Gosling feels the Google lawsuit is just Oracle's noticing an opportunity to squeeze money out of Google:

    James Gosling: ...I'm sure they were looking at the license fees they were getting from Microsoft. Microsoft .NET just smears over a huge pile of Sun patents. When they did the .NET design, they basically cut and pasted from the Java spec. The way that they did CLR, you know they swizzled the way the instruction set went but the way this thing really operated, they exercised essentially no creativity when coming up with .NET. They've done some things since then that have been kind of good but as part of the various court cases we ended up with this rather odd patent deal with them that involved them paying us fairly tasty amounts of money. And I'm sure that the lawyers looked at the Microsoft numbers and said, yeah I want that from Google

    I actually did not know, until today, that Microsoft was paying a Java patent license fee for .NET's design.

    Just before he said the above, he said this, which is probably obvious to many people, but I found it poignant all the same:

    James Gosling: With Oracle it doesn't have to make sense, it just has to make money.

  • by Seakip18 (1106315) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @06:45PM (#33729184) Journal

    I browsed through the interview and hope I can listen to the podcast soon.

    He says some neat things:

    James Gosling: Various Oracle employees have been instructed not to wear them. I've noticed this is a great tshirt(the "Free Duke" shirt) to wear in big crowds around here because the seas just parts, 'cuz people are like, 'I don't want to be near that.' Which I find really funny. And the whole free java thing is kind of a weird history with me because Sun from day zero is an open source company and this whole weirdness that we have about open source was not a weirdness open source but a weirdness about the actors and the games in the drama.

    James Gosling: Absolutely. I have this love hate thing with Google these days. They can get kind of creepy.

    Moderator: Do you use the browser plug ins that prevent the ads and block and analytic stuff?

    James Gosling: No. I mean, I sometimes do.

    Some...well...things that I don't think I can get behind:

    In the enterprise space, things like Cassandra and Voldemort and some of the NoSQL database. I've never got it when it comes to SQL databases. It's like, why? Just give me a hash table and a shitload of RAM and I'm happy. And then you do something to deal with failures. And you look at the way things like the NoSQL movement is. It's various flavors of large scale distributed hash tables and trying to deal with massive scale and massive replication, and you can't back up the database because no tape farm is big enough. And you find scale and reliability can fit together at the same time

    and some interesting:

    James Gosling: Well that's right, [they](Oracle) didn't own Java, but it just points out, and I don't know how to say it other than to say they were lying, duplicitous shits three years ago and by their turnaround, they're basically admitting that. Oracle is kind of a funny company because they take glory in that. They have no issues with being categorized that way. Some of their PR people might get a little uncomfortable with it, but up at the top, they deeply, deeply don't give a shit.

    I'm still not sure how to regard Oracle right now, but I'm comfortable with the idea that Java needs a permanent and legal separate existence from Oracle.

  • as an ex-sun guy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @06:47PM (#33729194)

    I have to laugh at his comments about oracle. and the oracle view of 'The Tee Shirt' (tm).

    speaking of tee shirts, while at sun there was a 'java anniversary party' and mr java himself was there. some cute photos from the event, a few years back (when sun was still kind of fun to be at):

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/221/472512518_4f70840cd2_z.jpg [flickr.com]
    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/19/121342959_449ed7dea0_z.jpg [flickr.com]
    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/202/472513502_682f02afc2_z.jpg [flickr.com]
    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/19/121338473_07823a9da0_z.jpg [flickr.com]

    RIP sun. we all miss you.

    and, duke, please turn out the lights when you leave, okay?

  • by blair1q (305137) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @06:52PM (#33729230) Journal

    I can't believe that's an hour of audio.

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @07:22PM (#33729502) Homepage Journal

    Sometimes it pays to have a reputation for telling it like it is. I have been training customers when I did that and my employer didn't like it but sometimes a relationship needs to be repaired and the only way is to open the books so to speak so I get to do that.

  • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @07:40PM (#33729630)

    On the other hand, without him I wouldn't have to try to juggle the fun of "Application x runs only on Java version y, Application xx runs only on Java version z, and Java y and Java z don't get along too well."

    I was angry about this as I started typing, but then I realized that maybe this keeps me employed as well. Damn. :(

  • by luis_a_espinal (1810296) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @07:40PM (#33729632) Homepage

    @RightSaidFred99 I would take Gosling's word over you who did some Google searches .. these agreements aren't public and you won't just find them by typing in a search engine. So it really doesn't matter what you believe .. unless you were AT Sun or AT Microsoft when this went down .. your opinion means just a little less then gum on the bottom of a shoe.

    Yes, they are (as so any litigation that might lead to these agreements.) These are publicly traded companies. It would be extremely, extremely rare that something of such magnitude would be hidden away from public eyes. In fact, anything hidden like that would typically be considered un-kosher and suspect of investigation.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @08:25PM (#33729902) Journal

    I thought he either defecated or ejaculated.

  • by Gorimek (61128) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @09:38PM (#33730192) Homepage

    "IBM's been kind of weird on the whole topic because on the one hand they do everything they can to try and screw Sun over, I mean they didn't name Eclipse casually"

    Never crossed my mind but once pointed out it's obvious that an Eclipse is what can defeat the Sun!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @11:28PM (#33730728)
    that's like saying "without einstein relativity wouldn't have been discovered", which is ridiculous. In fact, it's not even that strong of a statement, because there are competing languages. You get the idea, right?
  • let me unload, too (Score:5, Interesting)

    by yyxx (1812612) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @02:42AM (#33731526)

    Ok, since he's unloading, let me "unload" too.

    Mr. Gosling, the only reason Java is any good at all is because large numbers of technically competent people (many of them at IBM) fixed up the bad design decisions you made and patched up your horrible implementation. Unfortunately, there are limits to how much one can fix if a language is as broken as Java 1.0 was.

    You have some gall criticizing Dalvik, which runs efficiently, unbloated, and apparently quite securely on millions of phones. The sandbox on your Java design and implementation on the other hand was insecure and buggy both conceptually and in terms of implementation, as a never ending stream of published problems showed. Of course, since Java failed for applets, hardly anybody cares anymore; nowadays, Java's sandbox is just bloat for most users.

    And all the while you were promoting Java as an "open" language, you knew that it was covered by Sun patents that made any independent implementation impossible, what a cynical and evil thing to do.

    Fortunately, its awful UI libraries kept Java from achieving any significance on the desktop or web, and for most server side software, people have developed alternatives based on less bloated platforms that are easier to develop for.

    And of course, it's Java that sucked up all the development resources at Sun without yielding much in terms of revenue; it's the reason Sun eventually went out of business. And mobile Java's poor performance, poor compatibility, and horrible user interface killed mobile applications development until Apple came out with iPhone. What is Java going to kill next?

  • Re:Java is crap (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Vintermann (400722) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @02:44AM (#33731532) Homepage

    And amazingly, no one has thought of calling a programming language Crema yet.

  • really? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by yyxx (1812612) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @02:47AM (#33731552)

    Python, Perl, Tcl, Lua, and CLR all run on many platforms. 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.

    I don't know of any mainstream language or VM other than the old VisualBasic that ran on a single platform. Gtk+, Qt, and wx all are cross-platform toolkits, better than anything Java has ever provided.

    (Besides, Sun didn't even design or develop Swing, they bought it.)

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray

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