Swan Song for JavaOne? Better Not, Larry

Sun Microsystems kicks of what will be its last JavaOne conference as an independent company on Tuesday. A prelude show aimed at open source developers, called CommunityOne, starts Monday.

Sun (NASDAQ: JAVA) is in the process of being acquired by Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) for $5.6 billion net ($7.4 billion payout minus Sun’s $2.2 billion piggy bank). At this point, Oracle has been rather non-committal, not saying much of its plans, although it has promised to stick with Sun’s hardware business.

As for its software plans, Oracle has been mum. It is heavily invested in Java, with many products fully dependent on Java to run. So Oracle’s stewardship of the language will be on the minds of many.

Calls to Oracle for comment were not returned.

At first blush, it would seem likely that Oracle would make JavaOne a part of its massive OpenWorld conference. OpenWorld brings 80,000 people to San Francisco every year, far more than JavaOne, which drew 15,000 last year. Those that InternetNews.com spoke with think Oracle should keep the show separate, however.

“I don’t think Oracle should end it,” said Mark Driver, research vice president for Gartner. “The Java platform is a huge standard for developing next generation IT solutions. It’s important that Oracle keeps a separation of church and state between Java and their products, something Sun should have done better.”

Wayne Citrin, CTO for Java developer JNBridge, also voiced support for keeping JavaOne going. “I hope they keep JavaOne as a stand-alone conference,” Citrin told InternetNews.com. “I think it will make a lot of sense for Oracle and the community. For Oracle, their conference is very product-centric, whereas JavaOne is very tech-centric. You can mix them, but I think a lot of attendees of JavaOne don’t want to focus on specific products.”

There’s also the issue of questions about Oracle, notes Driver. “I think they should keep it separate, if only because there are so many questions of Oracle’s intentions,” he said. IBM and SAP in particular will be watching closely, and if they sense Oracle is acting in a way to tilt things in its favor, they might very well fork the Java code and go their own way.

Merv Adrian, principal with IT Market Strategy, also opposes the idea of folding the show into OpenWorld. “The decision for the first year or two is a business one: can JavaOne make money, and generate business for Oracle? Clearly, it can. And both shows are so large that it’s impossible to do everything one wants to at either. Why compound the problem? It would seem sensible for Oracle to continue JavaOne, at least for now,” he told InternetNews.com via e-mail.

Hell freezes over. Hello Microsoft

It’s almost a case of where-have-you-been-all-these-years, but Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is making an appearance. It will host the Thursday keynote, titled “Software + Services: The Next Application Platform” and feature speeches from Dan’l Lewin, corporate vice president of strategic and emerging business development and Steven Martin, senior director of developer platform product management.

A Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement, in part, “Over the past several years, Microsoft and Sun have cooperated to enable greater interoperability across core server, client, database, virtualization and identity technologies… This commitment to greater openness and choice is critical for our customers because it ensures innovation in the marketplace and delivers value in difficult economic times.”

There has been pressure on Microsoft for the last several years to interoperate with Java and it’s finally doing so, said Driver. “Microsoft customers don’t just leverage Microsoft technology, they leverage Microsoft and Linux and Java. I don’t expect Microsoft to jump in bed with Java and revamp their strategy, but focus on interoperability and coexistence. It’s what their customers are demanding.”

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