Summary: With a mixture of sadness, relief, and hope for the future, former Sun CEO Scott McNealy took the stage this morning at the final keynote address of JavaOne 2006. Saying "All of us are desperately trying to grow ponytails" (a reference to new CEO Jonathan Schwartz), he drew a round of laughter with his list of the "Top 10 best things about not being CEO". Afterwards, James Gosling came up to to embarrass Scott with a video, show off some toys, and judge the finals for the slot car races. Then John Gage closed with a few inspiring words for the Java faithful.
(The rest of this article goes into more detail about this morning's events. -Ed)
Scott McNealy: Let's recap where we are. We're adding an enormous number of folks, 3 million users to the network per week. Eight out of ten phones are Java enabled today. The PS3 is coming out this fall with Java in it. (applause). There are 1.5 billion Java smart cards in the hands of people around the world. Java has become a top technology brand, 100% recognition among IT folks. And there are 5+ million Java developers worldwide.
Our cause at Sun is to eliminate the digital divide. Three out of four people in the world don't have an internet connection, they can't participate in the digital age. We can solve it through web services, thin clients, and network computing.
(Demo: At this point Scott brought out a demo of GE Imaging using Java (JOGL).)
This technology saves lives on an every day basis.
(Scott introduced James Gosling and turned the stage over to him. James ran a video he and others had put together about Scott's tenure, thanking him for his contributions to Sun and Java, and presenting him with a "Golden Duke". Scott was clearly touched by the gesture.)
(Then James presided over a series of demos showcasing Java software, The demos included:
- The Jackpot project (a semantically aware pattern search and replace refactoring tool)
- An order tracking and notification system involving a cell phone, a Java EE server, and an RFID scanner all running Java.
- The SavaJe Jasper S20 phone, running multiple Java applications at once including the new advanced UI (JSR 209).
- The Java Real Time System 2.0 and Real Time Application Server, showing predictably short response times to user requests in one demo and smooth streaming video in another.)
James Gosling: Now it's time to get aggressively stupid and have a little fun: slot cars!
(James judged a run-off of the top three finalists of the slot car programming contest. Scott McNealy brought his son up on stage for a better view. It was very close but the first place winner today was Robert Chou.)
(The autonomous robot car "Tommy" also made an appearance, with creator Paul Perrone. Paul explained that "Tommy 2" was being prepared for the next DARPA Grand Challenge, where it would have to drive itself around a city, parallel park, and merge with traffic.)
James: Who's going to be driving the other cars?
Paul: The interns. (laughter)
(James made a few closing remarks and turned the show back over to John Gage.)
James: The Call to Action is - Forget the box. Think about what you're doing, where you're going, and get out of the box. There's a lot of landscape out there. Have fun doing what you're doing. There's so much stuff in the Java space that's outside what you're working on.
John Gage: We're in the real world; we have to think now with our heads up. Go out and look at it, for example preventable disease. The devices we've built aren't there yet. There will be a way for the voices from the poorest parts of the world to be heard. Think about early warning systems, for diseases like the bird flue. How do we bring the power to bear on the things that are coming? It's only 30 days to hurricane season. Tsunami early warning. Devices, sensors, distributed eyes and ears, all brought together.
Take a look at gapminder.org(http://www.gapminder.org). A Swedish professor took 40 years of public health info, looked at the reports, and had a moment of inspiration. He wrote 2,500 pages of Flash code so you have the best visualization of how we are as a planet. This is the world's largest Flash application. 40 years of how each country in the world changes. You could spend hours playing with it. It's an example of how something important can be instantly visualized, allowing anyone anywhere to see things that affect their lives.
Politics just means human beings making choices. We can choose to change how the world works. Let's spend this next year building with these tools. Reinforce that feeling that we can change the world. Let's go do it.
Take-away image: Scott McNealy as "Java Man", from James Gosling's video.