Oracle OpenWorld Day Zero

Aaron Houston, the fearless leader of the Java Champions, got me a blogger pass to Oracle OpenWorld. Here is what I learned on the opening night.

If you thought Java One is big, Oracle OpenWorld seems bigger. The keynote was packed—and that on a Sunday night! The party afterwards was not in the cavernous Moscone center, but in tents on Howard Street and around Yerba Buena Gardens. The food was better than at Java One, and drinks were free, just like in the good old days of Java One.

But, and that's a big but, you've got to love red. Red was everywhere. Scott McNealy presided over the evening keynote, and even he wore a maroon sweater, the closest he could come to red, he said.

After a not-very-funny top-10 list that I will not repeat, he listed what he considered the top ten innovations that happened at Sun. Here they are:

10. NFS. 9. SPARC. 8. #1 Open Source Contributor. 7. Solaris. 6. Java. 5. E10K 64 way Sparc Chip. 4. ZFS/Open Storage/Flash (Exadata). 3. Data center in shipping container. 2. SunRay. 1. “Cool threads” chip multithreading.

Hmmm, that puts us Java folks in perspective...

He reminisced that in his years at Sun, they kicked butt, had fun, didn't cheat, loved their customers, and changed technology forever.

Which they did. But not with SunRay...

He asked the question that was on everyone's mind: What is going to happen?

With SPARC? Solaris? MySQL? Java?

Oracle has run ads confirming their commitment to SPARC and Solaris.

The MySQL issue that is explored by the European Community may have some potential merit, and it could of course be easily dealt with by spinning off MySQL. I suspect there is stubbornness on both sides. The Europeans may be miffed that Oracle took their sweet time asking them to approve the merger. Anyway, what we care about is what will happen to Java. Scott McNealy quotes Larry Ellison as saying “Java speaks for itself.”

They don't call that company “Oracle” for nothing...

James Gosling went on stage to tell us that he thinks that Oracle will be good for Java. He is looking forward to working for a software company :-) He mentioned that Oracle may be a bit underprepared for the size, enthusiasm, and rambunctiousness of the Java developer programs—there seem to be 100x more Java user group members than Oracle has.

James also remarked somewhat cryptically that San Francisco might be big enough to host both the Oracle conference and Java One at the same time if they commandeered some ships, which should be no problem during Fleet Week.

If they are seriously considering combining the conferences, I wonder if it will work. The attendees I talked to were very nice, but they weren't, well, coders. I mean it is all good and well for people to come to Oracle OpenWorld to find out how to replace an aging Oracle Whatsis sytem, but I go to a conference to meet people who care about what I care, and that is Java and not Oracle Whatits.

Larry Ellison, who joined the stage later, was a very confident speaker who talked a good game about how SPARC and Solaris run Oracle much better than IBM, and I don't doubt that they do. There was a lot of talk about how engineering everything from the network to the processor, storage, operating system, and database makes for a more compelling offering. I hope it does, so that it makes a lot of money for developing Java further :-)

Afterwards, I joined a meeting of representatives of Oracle and Sun user groups. (Kathleen McCasland, the executive director of the Oracle Dev Tools User group, turns out to have much in common with me. She also has twins, and she too lived in the beautiful San Francisco Presidio.) When it comes to user groups, I sensed a bit of a culture difference. Sun has been extremely good in fostering diverse and opinionated groups. Oracle seems more revenue-driven and top-down. We'll just have to see how all that goes.