Posted by editor
on January 5, 2011 at 12:25 PM PST
If the voting in last week's java.net poll are indicative of what the broader Java developer community is thinking (the poll, of course, is not scientific), then the events of 2010 didn't ally much of the concern developers have regarding Java's future...
If the voting in last week's java.net poll are indicative of what the broader Java developer community is thinking (the poll, of course, is not scientific), then the events of 2010 didn't ally much of the concern developers have regarding Java's future. A total of 339 votes were cast, and 5 comments, expressing a variety of views, were posted. Here's the exact poll question and results:
Are you more optimistic today about Java's future than you were a year ago?
- 23% (77 votes) - Yes
- 14% (47 votes) - Somewhat, at least there's less uncertainty now
- 23% (79 votes) - Not really, I still have concerns
- 35% (120 votes) - To the contrary, I'm more pessimistic now
- 4% (14 votes) - I don't know
- 1% (2 votes) - Other
With more than a third of the voters saying they're more pessimistic than they were a year ago, and almost a quarter saying they still have concerns, a clear majority is expressing dissatisfaction with the events and/or direction they're seeing. We could observe that 37% of the voters stated that they are at least somewhat more optimistic than a year ago, while only 35% are more pessimistic. But that large "Not really, I still have concerns" group looms ominously, in my view.
Consider where we were a year ago: silence about the future was legally imposed on both Sun and Oracle, due to the laws of corporate mergers. Sun had laid off many people, and many more were leaving ahead of the finalization of the acquisition. Rumors abounded regarding what Oracle's approach was going to be -- could Oracle possibly understand the Java community and open source projects?
Today, there is much greater clarity about Java's direction and Oracle's intentions. Normally, clarity brings at least some optimism, or at least grudging acceptance of the new reality. But these poll results don't reflect that today's greater certainty is inspiring optimism about the future. And based on the ongoing public debates, and recent actions of some groups/companies aside from Oracle, it's clear that there is a lot of dissatisfaction out there.
Still, from my point of view, there are also a lot of positives. I ask people to consider some of these in the current java.net poll, which asks "What was the most significant Java-related news in 2010?" That poll will be open until this coming Monday.
What people thought five years ago
While thinking about last week's poll, I searched the java.net poll archives , looking for a poll that captured people's views about Java's future in years past. And I found one. The poll ran in late April and early May of 2005, almost five years ago. Voters responded to the statement Java's "best days" are ... 55% of the voters said Java's best days are "Ahead of it"; 29% said Java's best days are "Right now"; and 15% said Java's best days are "Behind it."
I wonder what people would say now. My guess is that the results would be quite different. I think I may re-try this poll (or something similar) next week, to find out.
I also plan to write more about both the poll from 2005 and last week's poll -- analyzing the comments in particular, since both polls produced interesting expressions of people's attitudes toward Java at that specific point in time. I'll probably do that in my next blog, after I reread both sets of comments and give them some more thought.
As always, if you have an idea for a poll, contact me. I'm happy to make the java.net polling facility a tool that's open to the entire Java/JVM community...
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Our latest java.net
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Our current java.net poll asks What was the most significant Java-related news in 2010? Voting will be open until Monday.
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-- Kevin Farnham