JavaOne seemed to be near extinction last year, but Oracle’s acquisition of Sun revived it. We talked with some notable attendees to see how the conference went.

Mike Milinkovich, director of the Eclipse Foundation:
The good news from JavaOne is that Oracle has a clear vision on where they want to take Java over the next couple of years, and I believe that they are putting the resources and leadership in place to actually execute on their plan. It will be refreshing to the point of relief if the Java platform team can execute on delivering regular and innovative Java releases.

I am concerned, however, over the lack of clarity on the future of the JCP and the involvement of the Java ecosystem in its governance. Oracle has a well-deserved reputation as a fierce competitor in the marketplace. Can they successfully lead an inclusive community? Java needs Oracle to be a better steward than Sun was over the past couple of years.

Laxmi Poruri, partner at Primary Global Research:
There were rumors that Mark Hurd was going to take over the Sun business. That makes sense because he’s an HP guy.

I’ve heard differing views about the Oracle middleware. The Oracle people are touting it, but some users are likely to call it con-Fusion. I’m hearing that it’s doing well, and that Oracle is positioning it to encroach a little on SAP and take away some interest in NetWeaver.

I know Fusion apps got good reviews from the beta testers. I think the big question is implementation costs. It’s a significant upgrade, so the cost associated with that is going to be two to three times what an upgrade would cost, and I think in this kind of economy that would be scrutinized a little more. I’ve heard good things about the technology, but there’s skepticism on uptake because of the cost.

Al Hilwa, program director for application development software for IDC:
I was at JavaOne last year. Really, it seemed like it was a dying conference before, and last year it was dying. It was moribund to me, very somber.

But this year, notwithstanding how many attendees there were, at least the energy level was high and people were excited. It wasn’t ideal, but it’s doable. Sometimes there are conferences in New Orleans where you can walk the same distances across town at Oracle entirely in the convention hall.

I think the energy level is good. I think they succeeded in showing that Java is here to stay and it’s being invested in. It’s got a road map, and they’re going to aggressively tackle things. They’re not going to kill NetBeans, they’re not going to kill HotSpot. They got that message across, and I think that was a comfort for the community to hear.

There are some great innovations in all of the Java technologies that were acquired. While I completely get that you have to rein in the proliferation of projects, there was probably too much spending going on at Sun, so I respect the fact that Oracle is trying to control some of those costs and that they’re valuable to the community.