It is possible to imagine that things aren’t going all too well in Oracle’s community management department at the moment. They’re busy suing Google over the Android “Dalvik” virtual machine that executes Java code (and Google are getting feisty in their responses) instead of making sure new versions of the JDK are out. They’re also trying to keep the MySQL community happy by promising they’re not actually going to screw up their popular database engine MySQL. However, it seems they also now have a bit of a community revolt on their hands.
The Guardian have reeled off a rather long (and embarassing) list of what Oracle have been doing to hurt Java in recent weeks. From scheduling the JavaOne conference at the same time as Oracle OpenWorld (decreasing its significance somewhat), to IBM abandoning the Apache Harmony project, and Apple deprecating Java support in OS X. (Harmony is a Java SE project run by the Apache foundation, from which some code was allegedly used by Google when building Dalvik). On top of that, Oracle are in trouble with the Java Community Process, a group of vendors responsible for the Java specification. Oracle (through their Sun acquisition) have a majority veto, but many members are “unhappy” with how Oracle have been running the show and interacting with the community – numerous members have expressed concerns.
On top of all of this, C# is making quite a play at Java’s ground. Through the Mono project, C# and .NET are now pretty much proper cross-platform applications (especially when you take Windows Phone 7 into account), and the language is evolving significantly faster than both before and after Oracle took control. There are also other JVM-based languages such as Scala that are rising in popularity, particularly in the web community. Some say there is a risk of Java turning into the latest COBOL (widely used, but not cutting edge) – but that is very much in Oracle’s hands over the coming months.