Some of the tech blogs are working themselves into a lather about new tools from Sun Microsystems, which holds its Java One event this week. Java FX will, like other products from Microsoft and Adobe, intended to make it easier for developers to build interactive and colorful web sites. The crowd was less impressed, as our correspondent reports.
CONFONZ — 8 AM. Downtown San Francisco, underneath Moscone South. Boom boom boom! The thumping tones of DJ Anon rock this concrete room back and forth. Thousands of bleary-eyed developers, still with sleep crust in their eyes, move into their seats and await the coming keynote. It's a 50,000-decibel rave, designed to wake everyone up and get them ready for a day of indoctrination and learning. And then, as the DJ finishes her set and wanders off-stage, out comes the opening speaker. And it's John, fucking Gage again. The single most boring and patronizing person in the entire Sun stable of engineers. The man has a doctorate in absolutely, mind-numbing dullness. And this is how Java became lame.
Apple's got Steve Jobs, slick as oil, turtle-neck-wearing, a great public speaker. His counterpart at Sun: Rich Green, a man with cheeks like a three-year-old, a giddy Christmas-morning grin, and a perfectly tailored form-fitting black t-shirt. Jobs' demos rarely go off track, and the word "um" is almost never uttered from his pie-hole. Green, on the other hand, stammers and stops during his presentation, then finds that all of his demonstration hardware is completely broken. The whole affair is fucking clown shoes.
It wasn't always like this. Time was, back in '99, that Java was going to change the world. It was the hippest programming language, the one true way to drive Microsoft's monopoly out of the marketplace. It was a cool, high wave, washing away the old and the crummy.
What the hell happened between now and then? Sun Microsystems happened. As consistently as Xerox, the largely forgotten company which invented the mouse and the graphical user interface, Sun has germinated new and innovative ideas, and failed to make the most of them. It wouldn't matter so much that Sun can't make a decent profit, if the company would throw open its inventions to the world. But it's been terrified of real open source software. It's only now, after twelve years of its users screaming for an open-source Java, the company has finally responded. Too little, too late. If the keynote-attending developers yawning their way back to slumber-land are any indication, nobody is paying attention.
Perhaps the best example of just how messed up Sun really is, is John Gage's little spiel on carbon-neutralizing the JavaOne conference. He stated, in his meandering monotone, that last year, he said he'd make JavaOne 2007 a carbon-neutral event. That meant offsetting the environmental damage done by the attendees and conference workers by paying for wind power, solar power, or some other environmentally-friendly thing. Well, old Gage climbed up on stage this morning to inform the entire world that he'd screwed the pooch. In fact, carbon neutralizing things isn't easy, and thus, he asked the audience for help in making JavaOne 2008 carbon Neutral.
Standard Sun approach. Look at the problem. Try to solve it. Fail. Look to the community to do it for you. Fail to get anyone interested.