Posted by duanegran
on March 10, 2004 at 5:48 AM PST
Rick Ross, the founder of Javalobby.org, wrote a reflective article about how things have changed since he started the initiative in 1997. He reflects a little on how things have changed and how he would like to reorient the focus industry leaders, like Sun and IBM, on developers.
I was an early member of the JavaLobby while I was still in college. At the time I was doing an internship for Kraft Foods in Chicago where I gently prodded the IT group to consider Java as a viable technology. Today I can't imagine having the same conversation. Since then I've worked on projects for the federal government and currently manage several Java-based projects at a University. Nobody asks if Java is ready for prime time. It is almost like the mantra of the 80s that "nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM."
Gone are the phrases "write once, run anywhere" and "100% pure Java" that were the vanguard of Java advocates. Times have changed and in many ways Java doesn't need us to lobby for it.
What then do we need the javalobby for? Rick argues that we need a lobby for developers to be a decision making partner with Sun with regard to the Java platform. He cites the private discussions between Sun and IBM about the possible open sourcing of Java as a matter of concern for developers, however I don't think we can find consensus on this issue.
No one can dispute the success of Open Source, but it isn't a silver bullet to open source Java. Put yourself in the IT managers seat for a moment. It is already enough of a decision matrix to consider Java versions as well as the platform quirks as you "write once, debug everywhere." We have come to accept this as part of our jobs, but some are concerned about non-Sun endorsed Java. If the task of assuring that a program runs correctly becomes too difficult (and let's face it, it is sort of hard right now) then Java will lose traction to other platforms.