I'll miss Sun and the amazing people I knew there.
In mid/late 90s words like "Oracle", "Sun", "Solaris" and "Java" were used predominantly by older fat-faced salesmen types, while cool kids were coding C on Windows or playing with Linux. Yes, Microsoft was fun back then: it felt young, modern and innovative. Gates and Allen were Brin and Page of the 90s.
I was doing some cool real-time data acquisition/analytics on Windows NT with C++ and MFC. Yes, it felt bad-ass. In my geek circles Borland was considered the most exciting software company at the time. Sun/Oracle and IBM with OS/2? Those were for banks and GM.
Sun hasn't changed since then. I have nothing to thank this company for, except that with Java, they dumbed down our profession to nearly data-entry status and introduced an intolerable boredom to the world of software hacking, something it was missing before 1995. I also believe Java suppressed the development and widespread adoption of Lisp, Smalltalk, ML and Haskell: before Java lots of folks couldn't use them because computers weren't powerful enough, but now they aren't using them because schools stopped teaching and switched to vocational java training.
I wasn't surprised Oracle bought them. Their "Oracle Forms" BS always sucked. With Java and armies of school-trained drones supplemented by Indian outsourcers they finally have a wonderful distribution channel to keep pushing their overpriced stuff through. I guess SAP could buy them too. I've been fortunate enough to avoid this market, so I won't be missing anything.
It could have happened with just about any language. Java just happened to have a lot of things going for it that made it fit perfectly into the mold those vocational schools were looking for: simple memory management, platform abstraction, included libraries, and a large marketing effort creating jobs.
I remember when I was excited about Java. I was writing software for multiple platforms, and the thought of a write once, run everywhere was awesome. I felt so raped when it turned out to be a lie. I was so young and naive. :)
Now, I wish Java had never belched from the bowels of that leviathan. Even worse, I'm working at a game company, building an MMO, and using Java. Egads!
Talk about self-denial. Java is definitely not the one to blame for lack of adoption of Lisp, Smalltalk, etc. Many other languages showed that it is possible to thrive despite perceived Java domination (I think that Java is not dominant, neither on desktop nor in web space, maybe in enterprise, but I wouldn't bet my money on it). And, after all, who cares about Java - use the tools you are proficient with, I know I do. Don't bitch about stuff you don't use.
We were still doing everything in C, but the cool kids I listened too were saying skip C++ if you want something OO but C-like and go straight to Java. So when I saw Per Bothner's Scheme-to-JVM compiler (Kawa) I knew my next implementation of BRL should use it.
What surprised me was the number of people at MIT who said, "Yuck, Scheme" when I was pushing it as the best syntax for web development (this after 12 years of me ignoring it in favor of C). I think a lot of people did not have a good experience going through 6.001 (SICP), even though other people, like me, loved it. I hate to say it, but what really suppressed the widespread adoption of Lisps may have been SICP.
Ah those where the days, I remember them fondly :)
SPARC was a great architecture, and the Sun workstations of yesteryear were where a lot of cutting edge research was done... It'll be interesting to see how many more OpenSolaris features Darwin picks up (ZFS?). It has dtrace already.
OpenOffice the single worst piece of open source software available in any official repository. It is buggy, unfriendly, bloated, unreliable, and generally behaves in manners that do not make any sense. Crash and burn one boot, load fine the next.
Like this Oracle gets a very large number of extra contacts in the corporate database world.
Once Sun was forced to compete in the commodity hardware market, it was over.
Every disruption has three components to it: a technological enabler, a business model innovation and a new commercial ecosystem. In computing, the technological enabler of disruption in computing was the microprocessor. It so simplified the design of a computer that Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs could just slap one together in a garage. It transformed the industry’s fundamental technological problem—the design of a computer—from a problem that took hundreds of people several years to solve into one that was much simpler.
Then that simplifying technology had to be married with a business model that could take the technology into the market in a cost-effective and convenient way. Digital Equipment Corp. had microprocessor technology, but its business model could not profitably sell a computer for less than $50,000. The technology trapped in a high-cost business model had no impact on the world, and in fact, the world ultimately killed Digital. But IBM Corp., with the very same processors at its disposal, set up a different business model in Florida that could make money at a $2,000 price point and 20% gross margins—and changed the world. It’s a combination of the technology and business model that makes formerly complicated, expensive, inaccessible things affordable and accessible.
this reminds me of google. they are essentially providing what used to be complicated and expensive tools at a much lower cost.
Nice "real success": killing the innovators in the UNIX space and letting the vultures come in and eat up all the market share.
Sun paused to sleep on their .com laurels, and it killed them.
But I doubt it.
There is some hope that the legal shenanigans will stop once ORCL finishes taking ownership of JAVA.
By the way, I think JRockIt is the best JVM out there for server-side deployments. I've used both JRockIt and Sun's JVM on EC2, and JRockIt has much better memory management.
Bill Joy: "$%^&! I want it to be called UCBN! It has a better ring to it! No?"