Oracle scraps SPARC and Solaris: Will Java follow next?

It’s rather clear that large companies have to make money. And it is clear that less invests are spent when a product or division does not produce enough revenue. In Germany we have a saying: “You can spend your money only once.” — so you certainly invest it in the most promising field.

On the other hand, SPARC and Solaris do make money. Both are a tightly related team, providing valueable solutions. But not as much as x86 and Linux. So what do you do? You lay off thousands. My hope is, other SPARC and Solaris vendors will chime in, and hire at least some of these experts to continue the good work and products for some more years or even decades.

What makes me fear is the question whether Java will follow. With the same justification Oracle could close the Java section just today. I doubt that Java makes more revenue thatn SPARC + Oracle. Yes, Java still is the #1 developoment platform as of today, and with huge distance. And yes, Java is continuously adjusted to latest trends, so it will even stay for decades. But money? No, really, no. Looking at all the people and companies I am in discussion with — nobody, really none, is paying for Java. The reason is that the free part of Java is so good (namely OpenJDK and Oracle Java SE and lots of open source tools and frameworks) that nobody simply needs to buy additional stuff or services. Yes, Oracle has paid services and really really great embedded JVMs for sale — but again, you can spend your money only once.

So what next? My assumption is, after Java EE then will follow Java SE and with it all the rest of Oracle’s Java assets. Will that be the end of Java? No. There is a huge community, and there even when no big stakeholder will chime in, smallers will do. Instead of IBM or Google owning Java as a whole, there will be something like “The Java Foundation” (just like The Linux Foundation or The Debian Foundation) who is democratic, has hundreds of members, and will control the Java Universe in possibly an even better and more stable way that any single company could or would.

So let’s just wait and see what happens. My personal guess is: Java 10 will be the last one from the big red company, and it would make sense to start more community activity now.

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About Markus Karg

Java Guru with +30 years of experience in professional software development. I travelled the whole world of IT, starting from Sinclair's great ZX Spectrum 48K, Commodore's 4040, over S/370, PCs since legendary XT, CP/M, VM/ESA, DOS, Windows (remember 3.1?), OS/2 WARP, Linux to Android and iOS... and still coding is my passion, and Java is my favourite drug!
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