Gosling, Java's creator, joins Google

Gosling, Java's creator, joins Google

Summary: And, Oracle, with its anti-Google Android Java lawsuits can't be happy.

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James Gosling, the creator of Java, has joined Google. Oracle, which bought Sun, Gosling's former company, must hate this.

I always thought Oracle buying Sun was a dumb idea. While you can argue that, there can't be any argument that Oracle/Sun quickly lost its leading open-source lights such as Gosling, XML co-inventor Tim Bray, and Simon Phipps, Sun's chief open source officer. Since the purchase, Oracles seems intent on monetizing Java by suing Google, among others, for Java patent violations rather than producing new code or products.

Oracle may regret that approach. Gosling himself has said that many of Sun's patents were jokes. Gosling wrote, on August 15th, 2010, "In Sun's early history, we didn't think much of patents. While there's a kernel of good sense in the reasoning for patents, the system itself has gotten goofy. Sun didn't file many patents initially. But then we got sued by IBM for violating the 'RISC patent' - a patent that essentially said "if you make something simpler, it'll go faster". Seemed like a blindingly obvious notion that shouldn't have been patentable, but we got sued, and lost. The penalty was huge. Nearly put us out of business. We survived, but to help protect us from future suits we went on a patenting binge. Even though we had a basic distaste for patents, the game is what it is, and patents are essential in modern corporations, if only as a defensive measure. There was even an unofficial competition to see who could get the goofiest patent through the system. My entry wasn't nearly the goofiest."

Gosling added, "Don't interpret any of my comments as support for Oracle's suit. There are no guiltless parties with white hats in this little drama. This skirmish isn't much about patents or principles or programming languages. The suit is far more about ego, money and power." That said, Gosling is now working for Google.

Interesting isn't it? At his new job, Gosling wrote, "I don't know what I'll be working on. I expect it'll be a bit of everything, seasoned with a large dose of grumpy curmudgeon."

I'm sure he'll be working on bringing more rhyme and reason to Android. Indeed, in his comments about patents, Gosling also wrote, Google "had very weak notions of interoperability, which, given our history, we strongly objected to. Android has pretty much played out the way that we feared: there is enough fragmentation among Android handsets to significantly restrict the freedom of software developers." Besides that though I'm sure he'll be helping Google against Oracle's patent lawsuit. After all, if Java's own creator declares in the courtroom that the Sun/Oracle patents were 'goofy," that won't help Oracle's case one bit.

I'm not the only one who sees it that way. Jay Lyman, senior analyst for The 451 Group, an industry analysis company, told me, "Without knowing exactly what he will be doing at Google, I have no doubt that hiring James Gosling is certainly good for Google. It may be similarly good for open Java, given Gosling's credibility and support in the enterprise programming world. This may not be as good for Oracle, which lost Gosling from Sun Microsystems when it acquired the open source-heavy company, given Gosling has referenced Oracle's early questioning and thinking on the opportunity to sue over Java, which it has done."

Stephen O'Grady, analyst and co-founder of Red Monk, the developer-oriented analysis firm, said, "First, not that we had indications otherwise, but this cements the notion that Java remains a pillar of Google's technology stack. It begs the question, as well, of where he might be able to help them extend the role of Java from a product offering perspective. The real wild card, however, is the potential role of Gosling in the ongoing Google/Oracle litigation. Not only was Gosling instrumental in the creation of the technology itself, he was--by his own account--involved in the post-Sun acquisition pre-litigation process with Oracle."

Last, but never least, Dan Kusnetzky, distinguished analyst, head of the Kusnetzky Group and ZDNet's virtualization blogger, added "Many are complaining that Oracle has not really be a responsive or collaborative member of the Java community. It would make sense that 'Mr. Java' would prefer to join and organization that better understands working with communities for mutual and joint gain."

In short, as O'Grady told me: "Interesting hire." Why yes, yes it is. Were I Oracle, I'd be worried.

See Also:

Oracle vs. Google over Java: Android lawsuits may begin to pile up

Why software patents are a joke, literally

Microsoft vs. Android

Android Linux FUD Debunked

Topics: Open Source, Google, Legal, Oracle, Software Development

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46 comments
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  • oracle still have time to

    drop the lawsuit and apologise.
    Linux Geek
    • RE: Gosling, Java's creator, joins Google

      yawn, who cares about that loser. What's he gonna do for Google while in there? Sit all day long blogging about Java? I think he was hired as a decorative figure and nothing else.
      nomorebs
      • RE: Gosling, Java's creator, joins Google

        @Phil Spector<br>What astonishes me is the number of people who speak so ignorantly and with such outlandish claims that Java is a "complete joke of a language". Arrogance only bespeaks stupidity!<br><br>Go out to Dice and check the number of Java jobs available and what they pay. Ask yourself "why people are willing to pay so much for a language that is 'a joke'?" Hmmm... maybe because it is not and much of the industry is moving that direction!<br><br>Next time you open your mouth, make sure you can back it up!<br>(head shaking in disbelief)....
        SaipanMan95
      • RE: Gosling, Java's creator, joins Google

        @SaipanMan95 In its heyday Visual Basic (pre .net) was widely used and there were more job postings related to that language than to Java, and many others. Does that make it a good language? I don't think so. It was always a joke of a language. I'm not saying that Java is, just countering your bogus argument.
        nomorebs
      • RE: Gosling, Java's creator, joins Google

        @nomorebs and all the Java haters ...

        Yeah, I was one of them too. I despised Java because I didn't have Java skills and envied those who did, and I tried to find any substitute, python being my latest. I finally decided to take the plunge and realized that ... holy crap ... this J2EE thing works very well. Yeah, python has a bunch of frameworks for db pooling and app server wannabe's, but I'm loving Tomcat and the plethora of libraries. In fact, take a look at C#; it's such a Java clone ... now why would MS clone a "complete joke of a language"?
        davidr69
      • RE: Gosling, Java's creator, joins Google

        @davidr69 hey fool, don't you know how to read? What did I say that qualifies me as a Java hater?

        No wonder you took so long to learn that language: with your limited reading skills is not surprising
        nomorebs
    • RE: Gosling, Java's creator, joins Google

      @Linux Geek That would be the smart move for Oracle.
      I got a feeling Oracle may of bitten off more than it can chew on.

      nomorebs.

      Maybe but I suspect that he will be going over Android and Oracle complaints with a fine tooth comb, he knows where crap patents are and he knows . He will probably act as lead technical advisor in the court case for Google lawyers, answering there questions and potential out maneuvering any of Oracle witnesses it brings to the stands, through I hope he can speak lamen speak, US lawyers are not the most technical savvy brunch in the world. Plus I would not be surprise if he takes a interest in Go.
      Knowles2
      • RE: Gosling, Java's creator, joins Google

        @Knowles2 : Oh I see, and once the trial is over, his a$$ will be kicked into a relic museum for everybody to see. Hey, come over, look at our decorative pet , he invented Java and helped us win against the evil forces of Mephistopheles Ellison, and now he makes a good piece of museum.
        nomorebs
  • Will be great to see James Gosling back in the spotlight!!!

    It will also be interesting to see if he works on Java or a new language.
    DonnieBoy
    • You act like you knew who this guy was

      @DonnieBoy
      fess up - you never heard of hime before this article!
      Will Farrell
      • Well, being an old fuddy-duddy C/C++ programmer, I never had time for Java,

        but, the concepts were none the less revolutionary at the time. But, hey, I bet James uses vi as well, I would love to talk to him over a beer about vi. I am sure we have a number of things in common!!

        And, hey, they could put James baby on the new native client intermediate language!!!
        DonnieBoy
      • RE: Gosling, Java's creator, joins Google

        @DonnieBoy
        Take a look at this chapter from emacs' history.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gosling_Emacs
        DannyO_0x98
      • Interesting that Gosling is into Emacs. Richard would be proud!!

        NT.
        DonnieBoy
      • RE: Gosling, Java's creator, joins Google

        @Will Farrell I used Gosling's Emacs on UNIX systems at CMU back in the day... a huge improvement (particularly on slow terminals of the day) over the CMU-modified version of Stallman's TECO-based Emacs at the time. I mean, you could sorta-kinda write macros in LISP (well, yeah, MockLISP wasn't real LISP, but it also benefited greatly by not being TECO). I once has Gosling's Emacs on 40-or-so 5.25" floppies. I started porting it to AmigaOS one year, but GNU Emacs got there first.

        Java is a very good language for many things, particularly rapid application development. It's not C++ and it's not intended to be, but C++ is not the best language for most programmers, either ... too many people get in trouble with it. I don't know about "revolutionary", but definitely some very good ideas in there. Garbage collection is a useful enough concept to implement within languages that won't be used for OS development. The Virtual Machine concept is very good for adding a real programming layer to modern devices. You want your smartphone or Blu-ray player to run code, but it shouldn't be locked into a single CPU architecture the way the PC was.
        Hazydave
      • RE: Gosling, Java's creator, joins Google

        @Dave

        3d floor Wean Hall FTW!!!

        :)
        DeusXMachina
    • Yes it will.

      @DonnieBoy All bets are off though as to what he does. Still it is very hard to leave your baby.
      DevGuy_z
  • Why should Oracle be worried?

    it clear as day that Google didn't give a rats butt about Gosling before (why didn't they hire him after the merger?).

    But now that Google looks to have "borrowed" java code, all of a sudden Gosling is "an important and talented person!".

    BS - Google hired him, gave him a lot of money to "defend" Google from these accusations.

    Money can make even the developer or Java say "it's not the same code".
    Will Farrell
    • Gosling, in case you did not know is a technical guy, he is NOT a lawyer.

      Gosling was always welcome at Google, but, before Gosling did not want to work for Google, and there is no guarantee he will stay. He does not need the money, and he will not toe the line for anybody.
      DonnieBoy
    • Sun released Java as GPL in 2007

      @Will Farrell
      SO Google, and anyone else for that matter, can use Java as they like, under the GPL license. Oracle's lawsuit is a joke, and adding Gosling to the Google payroll will help kill the lawsuit and help Android.

      Great move by Google.
      linux for me
  • RE: Gosling, Java's creator, joins Google

    Is it Java that's "goofy" or the gpl licenses it's released under?

    A patent is still a patent no matter what anyone wants to call it, it is up to a court to decide whether it is "goofy".
    alsobannedfromzdnet