My $0.02 worth of opinion on how all the Oracle shennanigans are impacting my development focus choice. You don’t know me. Larry Ellison certainly doesn’t know me. I am a nobody. A typically esoteric strange developer coder type nobody. But still a nobody in the big picture of industrial software platforms.
Yet, there are enough of me, of nobodies, to eventually matter. And thanks to Ellison, Jobs and Ballmer, I am now planning to use FLOSS Mono influenced MonoTouch to produce .NET/C# apps on the iPhone. That’s the only way I know to punch each of them in their groin while simultaneously maximizing _my_ market value. Jobs has to _hate_ my choosing to use .NET/C# on the iPhone. Ballmer has to hate I am doing anything on the iPhone. And Ellison loses the mind-share of a disillusioned Java enterprise developer. How does this help Oracle long-term?
And I know I am not the only Java developer like this. In fact, I am seeing lots of nobodies out there…enough to eventually make a difference emergently. If my attention moves away from enterprise Java and into, say, .NET/C# via MonoTouch, how does that help Oracle long-term? And if enough of us move away from Java and into whatever else is out there, Java heads towards the same fate as FORTRAN and COBOL. It will still exist. It will just do so in obscurity while its descendants thrive. Perhaps that’s the future. Java’s descendants; Android and .NET/C# via MonoTouch. How does this help Oracle long-term?
I’m not a star Java developer with a blog about how awesome Java is. I am just one of those mundane day-to-day enterprise application code sluggers that has been happy with Sun’s FLOSS directions in and around Java and OpenOffice for years. And then Oracle/Ellison purchased Sun. And I tried to stave off the feelings of dread I had about what might happen as Sun was consumed and digested by the Oracle/Ellison behemoth. But the staving didn’t work. And an internal motivation threshold was crossed. And I am now actively pursuing a .NET/C# future. First in MonoTouch. And then, in MS’s own products as they are introduced (as opposed to Java) where I’m responsible for architecture and design decisions. How does this help Oracle long-term?
I am not an Ellison fan. I’m not into the psychologically immature narcissists (probably adjectively redundant) that seem to plague US technical corporations (I don’t know if the same occurs elsewhere). I particularly don’t care for Oracle/Ellison, Apple/Jobs and Microsoft/Ballmer. Maybe it’s because I cannot relate to them and their corporate juggernauts. It’s probably why I remained a Sun fan. I like underdogs. I wasn’t very keen on Scott McNeily, Sun’s original CEO, as he seemed to be a personality alignment wannabe for those others. However, he stepped down and was replaced with Jonathon Schwartz. And he was my kind of guy. Unfortunately, he was left with quite a mess upon his arrival. And in spite of that, he was able to achieve some great progress, at least for those of use who value FLOSS. And he was able to communicate pretty effectively with his development community. Schwartz fell away as Sun entered the great maws of Oracle. I trusted Schwartz.
And as I watched Oracle digest Sun, I became aware that I was no longer comfortable with Java’s future as I didn’t trust Java’s new steward. How OpenSolaris was treated was one of the earliest signs. Then, there was the activity around Apache.
So, I began to think about “What’s next?” I couldn’t help but notice all the activity around Android. I became interested in moving in that direction. Oracle helped push me further into that interest by suing Google for software patent infringement within Android. Nothing gets me more anti a company than for them to offensively use software patents. Okay, maybe ANYONE using the DMCA as a censorship mechanism might get me hotter, still. So, how does their litigation help Oracle long-term?
And then there’s OpenOffice. Oracle’s behavior in this area is just atrociously apathetic. And then they have made things even worse in the way they treated those who might be able to be liasons to help bridge themselves into the FLOSS community’s new LibreOffice. Instead, they acted like the community clueless corporate hacks I had feared they might be. Guess which nobody isn’t in alignment with, isn’t going to advocate for and will run from the NOracle as quickly as possible? Is Oracle even thinking long-term?
Since I currently own an iPhone 3G and my two year contract doesn’t expire until April, I decided to look at developing an app for the iPhone. As I investigated creating the app, I invested two weeks into researching what my options might be. And that was my first real foray into “Objective C”. I happened to get a copy of “Head First iPhone Development”. I was immediately put off by Objective C. And then I recalled Jobs requiring I use it (or C or C++) to make apps for the iPhone. So, I began a hunt to see what other options existed.
And that’s when a friend pointed out MonoTouch. I investigated and liked how comfortable it felt. So, I have taken a series of very low risk and low cost choices as I move to generate my first iPhone app using MonoTouch. And thus far, I am VERY happy with what I have discovered. Plus, if Windows Mobile 7 takes off, I have leveraged my iPhone experience to help me eventually do .NET/C# development on Microsoft’s new mobile OS (which is the most likely one for Nokia to pick up now that they have offed Symbian).
All in all, I am a nobody. And as such, I have to hedge my bets. And thanks to Oracle/Ellison, I have decided to go explore other ways to hedge my bets as opposed to endure their hegemony. .NET/C# are now mature enough. Mono is FLOSS free enough. And thanks to Oracle/Ellison, it appears that Java has begun its eventual decline into the same status as COBOL.
As to Android, that’s just second nature to my existing Java experience. Of COURSE I will be producing apps for that. It’s a slam dunk. And knowing that producing apps on Android is annoying Oracle/Ellison’s juggernaut, bonus!
Java-like code remains in my future. It’s just descendants of Java; C# and Android, which will be my new partners.
So long Java, and thanks for all the FLOSS!