Oracle may hurt Java much more than it wanted to…

The Blogosphere is heating up on the Lawsuit of Oracle vs. Google. It seems people start to worry a lot about what level of openness they can expect from Java, and what consquences it may have for their projects. I stumbled upon a very interesting thought by Bruce Eckel:

Now, if you are choosing a programing language, aren’t you more likely to consider something truly unencumbered like Ruby or Python — where something like this just wouldn’t happen — than you are Java? Joel West points out a problem that Sun always had — that of semi-openness — which now comes back to bite those that trusted it.

Interesting thought. The current lawsuit does not effect an end user of Java, but an implementor of an alternate virtual machine, so it’s probably a bit over the top at this point in time.

It is, however, interesting what kind of movement such an action can cause. Maybe people will develop an even stronger tendency to avoid Java than they did before. Not only because it has never really become open source, but also because it is now in the hands of a “dark power”.

This train of thought, combined with growing interest in dynamic languages, could raise the traction towards technologies like Ruby or Python.

Not sure I’d think of these in the first place, but you get the idea. If you think about future platforms for your project, why not consider Smalltalk? Over in Smalltalk-land, you can get a lot of what you really need for your projects:

  • Smalltalk has been very influential to all of today’s object oriented languages like Objective-C, Ruby, Python, and, heck, even Java
  • Multiple Decades of stabilizing and evolution
  • Modern and reliable frameworks for web services, web applications, database access and so on
  • You can choose between open source implementations like
  • And commercial offerings like

[Update] In the meantime, ever more blog posts and news articles show up that show how much Oracle is playing a risky game marketing-wise, like “Oracle’s Java lawsuit undermines its open source credibility” by ars technica:

It raises very serious questions about the company’s stewardship of other open source technology that it obtained during the acquisition of Sun. The resulting uncertainty will likely not be conducive to retaining the customers and mindshare that Sun had built around certain open source products. It will also likely have a serious chilling affect on community involvement and third-party contributions. It’s important to recognize that the impact of this lawsuit will be felt far beyond the scope of Java […]

Oracle is arguably shooting itself in the foot, because Android has helped to restore Java’s relevance as a client-side programming language as well as attract developers. With the lawsuit, Oracle is seriously undermining Java’s prospects for growth outside of the enterprise server software space.

The full article is well worth reading…