#javaone Community Keynote – Java and Innovation Panel – Call for Questions!

As I noted last week, I’ll be moderating a “Role of Java in Innovation” panel during the community keynote.  It’s on Thursday at 9am in the Continental Ballroom (same room the exhibit hall has been all week).

We have a strong panel including:

Here are some questions I’m considering asking – I would love to hear any suggestions on questions or themes you’d like to see covered.

– Brief intro of each panelist and describe how Java fits into your ecosystem (Cloud, Big Data, Communities, Social, Hardware Tinkering).
– What does innovation even mean to you? (Audience is diverse, just trying to establish that innovation means invention, or improving on inventions. Also, to establish that invention of technology may be focus in many minds, but invention of business model, channels and markets equally important).

Some general questions
– What is the VC perspective on platform choice in start ups?  Do VC’s care?
– Bill Joy of Sun once famously said “innovation happens elsewhere” – why is it that communities do such a great job at innovation?
– Is there anything other communities are doing better that the Java community should emulate?
– Hardware tinkering seems to be all about heterogeneity (many boards, many architectures) – does this actually help with innovation, or hinder innovation? Aren’t we just reinventing the wheel over and over?

Questions around the Three Themes:
– Social diversity (geo, skill level, etc) — how does it help you innovate, what are the challenges?
– Tech diversity — does the technology breadth of Java help, or hinder, innovation in your community?

Rapid Prototyping
– Is complexity (in the platform / language) becoming a hindrance to pace of innovation? Are we (going to)/(are) facing the innovators dilemma?

Sharing and Remixing
– Java culture seems to embrace sharing and remixing more than others, why?  Can we cultivate it any further?

– Don


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#javaone Community Keynote Panel on ‘Role of Java in Innovation’

During the Community Keynote next Thursday at JavaOne, I’ll be leading a panel on “The Role of Java in Innovation.”  The goal is to highlight just a few of the many segments where Java is front and center in Innovation.

What are some really hot technology segments right now, areas where anyone can easily see lots of innovation?  Big Data, Cloud, Social Apps, Mobile, Hardware Tinkering come to mind.  Then consider the many developer communities where lots of innovation is happening, and has been happening for a long time, like Apache, Eclipse and relatively new on the scene github.  Java is front and center in pretty much every one of these segments and communities.

It’s not by accident, it’s because Java has a number of attributes that make it a great vehicle for innovation.  My colleague Cecilia took a stab at trying to annotate  how it all fits together, and I think this nails it:

In a nutshell, the culture of Java, it’s breadth and depth has led to a lot of diversity (in every sense of the word).  Java (in conjunction with OS licenses) has promoted sharing and remixing.  Java (thanks to it’s strong tooling ecosystem) has enabled rapid prototyping on a grand scale.  

All these things help make innovation happen.

I’ll follow up later in the week with more information about the panel, and include a call for questions.

– Don

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Even Flow – Java Embedded at #JavaOne

As I mentioned back in the spring, one thing that surprised me about my first year in the Java organization is it’s breadth.  As a long time “enterprise Java guy”, I had underestimated the global and technological reach of Java – it really does gets crunched into the smallest of mem spaces, wrapped up and hurled around in all kinds of devices, machines and applications.

I think these stories and applications get lost in the “enterprise shuffle” at JavaOne.  So I’m glad this year we are embedding (pun intended) a sub-conference called “Java Embedded at JavaOne“.  It’s more business and strategy focused than you get at the main JavaOne – and it’s loaded with content from partners and ecosystem participants who are showing off some of their successes and use cases, and some glimpses at what’s possible with the emergence of M2M.  It’s only 2-days, and even gets you into the Pearl Jam concert 😉  

If you’re at all interested in this space, you should check out more details here.

 – Don

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Sponsoring Some Eclipse Foundation Hardware

I’m happy to announce that Oracle has become a hardware sponsor for EclipseCon Europe 2012.  

I highly encourage other organizations to do the same, if not for this EclipseCon, then at any time in the future.  Having funding to support additional hardware purchases gives the Eclipse webmasters much needed flexibility to keep doing their excellent work supporting the projects (doing equally excellent work).

One thing I’m particularly grateful for (recently) is that the recent Eclipse Juno release has Java 7 as a reference platform.  I’m sure additional hardware contributions help everyone involved keep up with the pace of technology change.


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On CloudBees and adopting OpenJDK

Awesomesauce.  I just wanted to do a quick hat-tip to the folks at CloudBees for making it easy for their customers to do build and test using early builds of OpenJDK.  I’ve not dug deeper into their offering than Nicolas’ blog, but I do know that making is easier for people to try early runs of JDK 8 into their build and test environments is win-win-win.  Also good on the call out to the “Adopt OpenJDK” effort by LJC, SouJava, JavaBahia, Greenville JJUG and others!

– Don

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(belated) Congrats to the Eclipse Ecosystem!

A bit belated, but I’d just like to throw out my $0.02 of congratulations to everyone in the Eclipse ecosystem for another on-time release train.  It’s been said 1000 times, but bears repeating at least 1000 more — one of the keys to success of the Eclipse ecosystem is it’s predictability.  A new release train comes the last week of every June.  Service Releases come out predictably in September, and February — and repeat.  Tool chains relying on Eclipse can be assured that every June there will be a stable release to base upcoming product plans and scheduled upon.  It’s an important success criteria that can’t be overstated. 

Having worked at the Eclipse Foundation for almost 6 years, I can say achieving this goal is not trivial.  It requires a lot of feature management by the projects (a polite way of saying, features get deferred to the next train if there’s any doubt of making it).  It requires a lot of synchronization across project dependencies and lots and lots of milestones.  It requires an engaged ecosystem that’s banging away and testing up and downstream – and a feedback loop to pick up issues early.

So congrats to Eclipse and those in the ecosystem!

 – Don

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Quick Links related to linux leap second issue (especially for Java users)

Wired ran a highly circulated article last night regarding a leap second issue that quickly caused a number of popular websites to have issues, including Reddit and Mozilla.  Java was mentioned – as one might expect from such a highly pervasive platform.

Mozilla seems to have been early to learn and report that the core issue is related to highres timers on linux, and in particular applications that make use of ntpd – the Network Time Protocol Daemon.  There has been some code activity related to that in the kernel lately, but it’s not clear to me (as a self-admitted linux-n00b) if that code is live, or somehow related – please check in with your linux provider to see what they’re recommending.  It’s not certain that’s the (or only) issue, but it seems to be the way the internetz are leaning at the moment.

In addition the Mozilla’s link, there seems to be a really good analysis and discussion on the issue happening over on serverfault.  Worth checking out.

If anyone stumbles upon any other sites with good technical information, please let me know!

– Don

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[off-topic] Open letter to 1997 Road Warrior Me

Dear me in 1997,

You’re about to embark on a multi-decade journey involving millions of air miles and hundreds of nights on the road.  Here’s what you should know, from yourself, 15 years later after you’ve perfected some of the finer points.

Buy Noise Cancelling Headphones.  This may be the single most important thing you do.  Knowing you, you’ll complain they’re too expensive and wait 10 years before you buy a pair – BUT BUY A PAIR NOW.  Flying for 6 hours without them is exhausting – your brain processing an extra 10db for that long is subconsciously tiring.  Trust me, you’ll feel the difference even on short flights.  They’re also great for shutting up chatty neighbors.  Don’t be cheap, buy the good ones.

Be obsessively loyal to specific travel brands.  It’s a given that if you’re going to travel, you will take advantage of the points programs.  You’re going to think it’s smart to ‘spread the love’ and get mid-tier status at the three major hotel brands.  You’re going to get your ass up at Air Canada and start flying on United and occasionally even American Airlines.  You’ll think it’s OK to fly Lufthansa to India because you still get Air Canada status miles.  You’re wrong, wrong, wrong.  Focus maniacally on a single vendor, and only deal with their partners when desperate.  They can tell if you’re a floater or not, and later in the game they’re going to start introducing retro-active rewards like flying a million miles on their metal, or having acquired Gold/Platinum status in their hotels for 5+ years.  You’ll want that.  Pick a single airline, fly their metal as much as you can.  Pick a single hotel chain, stay in their beds as much as you can.  Pick a single rental company, rent their cars as often as you can.  It’s the better option than spreading out.


Coffee and Alcohol are your friend.  For years, I eschewed caffeine and alcohol when traveling because that’s what all the travel magazines said to do.  “Don’t get dehydrated” they all say.  BULL!  I literally spent 2 years feeling like crap on the road following this pucky until I realized I was doing it wrong.  When you’re traveling, the first thing you should do every single day is start an aggressive caffeine regimen.  If you’re in Europe, double up on that regimen.  If you’re in India, triple up on that regimen.  If you’re in Vegas, you need to learn what “depth charges” are in relation to coffee.  Your goal should be to make the Batista go flush when you place your order.  Keep this up until about mid afternoon, then focus on hydration.  Water, lots of it.   Then, as you approach mid-evening you’ll want to focus on the depressants, usually in form of fermented wheat and barley.  You’ll wonder why single guys sit at the bar at 10pm and have a couple beers by themselves?  BECAUSE THEY’RE SMART, SEASONED VETERANS.  Have a beer, even if you’re alone, and it’ll help you sleep.  REPEAT DAILY.

Do something fun and personal while you’re there.  At first, this will be easy.  Every time you go somewhere new, you’ll want to check out the biggest and best of the tourist traps.  Alcatraz.  Napa.  Taj Mahal.  Space needle.  World Trade Center.  Broadway.  Eiffel tower.  Big Ben.  Burj al arab.  Check them out.  Make the time, pay the money.  See some sports.  Make a checklist of how many hockey stadiums you visit.  Try an NBA, NFL and MLB game.  It’ll give you something to look forward to, and it also helps recruiting other colleagues in your company that should get out more and meet customers/partners – but are too afraid to travel or think it’s too disruptive.  After a while, you’ll start to cocoon.  “I’ve seen it all” – you’ll think.  You need to broaden your horizons.  Before long, you’ll have friends smattered around the country side, set up some time to see them.  Find new restaurants, go to places you otherwise would not (Japanese gardens?  WHY NOT?!)  If it’s always about the grind, you’ll burn out in no time.  Don’t be that burnt out air rage guy getting angry at a check-in agent for some random reason.  Look as forward to where you’re going as you do to coming home.

You can balance travel and a family.  You may think that once you have a family, you’re done.  But in fact, it can be well balanced.  Some of the best road warriors you know will also be the best parents you know.  If you do it right, your significant other will look at you funny if you’ve been home for more than 3 weeks and ask hinting questions like “so, when is your next trip again?”  The key is to focus on scheduling.  You can actually leave Ottawa on a Tuesday morning and hit the opening keynote of a conference in California, if you time the flights right (book far in advance).  You can work right through early afternoon on the west coast,  and be back on the east coast by midnight – in time to see your kids in the morning.  You can even do this without flying red-eyes.

It’s worth it to keep up on gadgets.  I know you look around and see most people reading books made of paper, but trust me that in 15 years this will seem almost odd.  In the meantime, keep up with the flow of gadgets – it will make being stuck on a plane entirely bearable.  Get a PSP when they come out, they play content quite well and the games aren’t bad.  This will hold you over until “smart phones” are invented (and no, your Samsung a600 is *not* a smart phone).  Get an MP3 player.  Get a rocking smart phone as soon as you can.  You may try to resist Apple for a while, but trust me – the heroin they provide is ultimately good stuff.  Get on it as soon as you can and enjoy virtually all the content you can muster while people around you watch yet another Will Farrell movie.  Get a “tablet” when they’re invented.  You’ll know it when it happens.  Your budget should average about $500 a year for devices and content.  When you meet Ms. Right, assure her that all your gadgets are necessary for your career.

Gadgets need content – old TV series are like time travel machines.  Six feet under – Best. Series. Ever. Best. Finale Ever.  That series has about 20 trans-continentals worth of content.  Sopranos are good.  Dexter is OK, but it blows in season 5, so stop after 4.  The Wire, Breaking Bad, The IT Crowd, Black Adder, Mad Men are all awesome.  Get the highly rated episodes of Top Gear.  Actually, just get all the episodes of Top Gear.  Time will fly.  You won’t even notice the screaming baby in 23D.

– Don

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#OpenJDK interview in Java Magazine – direct link, no reg required.

I saw a few comments about the OpenJDK Interview I did in the most recent Java magazine, and some concern friends raised that it’s a “register to read” publication.  I highly recommend Java magazine to anyone in the Java Community, and we’re looking for ways to make it easier to get, so stay tuned if this really puts you off.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in just the OpenJDK interview section of the most recent edition, you can get it – no registration required – here: OpenJDK Interview in Java Magazine.  And as always, follow @Java on twitter to keep up on various tidbits in the Java ecosystem.

– Don

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One year back at Oracle and my first year of #openjdk

Today marks the end of exactly one year since I started back at Oracle, working on OpenJDK and other things.  It’s been a heck of a year, and a lot has changed.  Many things I thought would be hard, turned out to be easy.  Unfortunately, many things I thought would be easy, are still in progress.

Here’s a really quick summary on some of the high/lowlights of my first year:

  • Working with Dalibor is a pleasure.  As a manager, my key responsibility to Dalibor is to make sure he doesn’t burn out – which is a challenge, because he’s maniacal about the Java community.
  • I was blessed to have Cecilia join the team a couple months ago.  She’s brings a lot of development experience from running JRockit sustaining engineering and is going to be instrumental over the coming months in making OpenJDK build/test/qa more accessible and understandable to OpenJDK participants.  It’s an area I unfortunately neglected from a PM perspective over my first several months, and am so glad to have Cecilia able to help.
  • I personally wish I had more time to do technical and speaking type engagements.  I managed to do about a dozen or so events, JUGS, conferences this past year, and even got to write some code (!) and talk about what’s new in Java 7.  Unfortunately, though, I tend to be doing more internally focused activities – including closing up some loose ends from the SUN days.  It’s actually a lot of fun though, as I’m working with a diverse team who are all keen to keep moving the ball forward, and trying to pickup the pace.  The phrases “technical debt” and “process debt” comes up a lot.  And I’m getting to work with and meet all kinds of interesting people and companies that are keen to keep ramping up their participation.  So, it’s not all hum-drum.
  • I underestimated the scale and momentum of the Java platform.  My whole technical career has been focused on “Enterprise Java” and “Tools”, so I thought I knew all there was to know about Java.  HA!  Java is in more geo’s than I ever imagined, and there are some amazing niches in all kinds of componentry that I had never heard of.
  • I underestimated the legacy of Java.  This actually leads to one of the areas we’re struggling – opening up the infrastructure in OpenJDK.  When I joined last May, I had expected the bug tracking system to be migrated to JIRA in ‘a few months’.  Unfortunately, it’ll still be a few months.  It’s easy to underestimate the effort, until you experience the history.  The Java code base is starting to get onto twenty years.  Thousands of developers have touched the code base in that time.  Millions of developers have used the code, and billions of desktops, servers and devices are executing the code.  When you have that level of inertia, it’s really a challenge.  Everyone agrees in the direction!  But it’s like trying to steer a battleship – it takes a wide berth.

– Don

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