Jim Hughes Tech Days Keynote: Big Messages for Beijing

In this morning's Sun Tech Days Beijing keynote presentation Jim Hughes's big message to the audience was that Sun is here to support developers in whatever creative individual and community projects they want to work on, without barriers of access to technology and tools.

"China is number one in the world in terms of growth," he said to a standing-room-only audience of 1500 in a room in the Beijing International Conference Center, located downtown across from the new Olympic Stadium, aka the Birdsnest.

"That's why we're here. Sun open sourced everything so that we can provide you with the technology and tools you need. Your job is to be the innovators. So download it, change it, make it your own . . . . become famous! You don't need Sun's permission to become the next Google."

Jim moved on to the topic of . "Welcome to the Webolution," he said, presenting a set of slides with buzzwords like Ajax and jMaki. "It's a stunning revolution . . . Remember when content was published on static web pages? No more. The new way is all about communities, sharing, exchanging data, co-creation, participation and sharing your work as you're doing it.

"It's about wikis and the blogosphere. Did you know there are now fifteen million blogs? It's about social networks like FaceBook and MySpace. It's about The Long Tail. The world is fundamentally changing. I'm old enough to have seen it start and this is exciting!"

Personally, the statistic shown in the keynote slides I was really impressed with was that China currently has 430 million cellphone users, with a growth of 4 million per month. "Most people will get their first taste of the Internet on a mobile phone," Jim said.

Mobile is an exciting topic in China. Last week I read an article in China Daily that reported that, "Abolition by the government of its manufacturing approval system this month could help push sales of mobile phones by another 20 percent." This means that handset manufacturers and sellers no longer need to apply for a license from government regulators. How can this not push competition in China to even greater heights? In the same article, a China Daily source made this prediction: "Beside normal organic annual growth, there will be an additional 20 million mobile handsets flooding the Chinese market next year, spurred solely by the deregulation of China's mobile phone production approval system," said Shen Zixin, an analyst from Pday Research, a Beijing-based research firm.

While I was musing about Mobile, Jim announced to the audience that Java was 12 years old, and a cake was wheeled out so we could all sing Happy Birthday to Java, in English and then in Chinese. (The massive cake was wheeled back out and served to the hungry developers at breaktime.)

At 12 years old, Java's not even a teenager yet. Is a bigger growth spurt still to come? Already Java claims:

  • 6 million Developers
  • 5 billion Devices
  • 2.5 million GlassFish users
  • 300 million Desktops
  • 2.1 billion Phones
  • 11 million Televisions

An observation: Before the keynote I was wandering the show floor and stopped to talk to the guy at the book booth, who was doing a brisk business. Snake Guang (his English name) of China-Pub told me they had 1000 books on hand for the conference, and 200 different titles. The best seller? Thinking in Java by Bruce Eckel Fourth Edition, in Chinese, published by China Machine Press. (On the book site, I noticed that our well-respected friends The JavaPosse has pronounced the book "Bigger than the Lord of the Rings.")

Observation, extended: During my conversation with Snake I needed a bit of assistance with the language barrier and got it from a proper-looking Englishman standing by. Allistair McArthur, Sales and Marketing Director of Education Software Program for IPS, but more importantly, Fluent in Mandarin, was hanging around the booksellers booth. "My company takes books and designs online courses from them," he told me, after his task translating for me. "Java's always the number one best selling course, then C++."

Observation ended.

Back up on stage, Jim listed some of the important technologies that would be presented in the next days; among them:

What's GlassFish? "It's a lightweight implementation of the Java EE Application Server that opens in 1.5 seconds."

What's NetBeans? "It's an IDE, a platform, and a community."

Sun Studio 12? "A serious compiler focused on parallelism."

"How many people use GCC?" he asked the audience as an aside, and over a hundred hands shot up. "Did you realize that you can get a huge automatic performance increase just by moving to Sun Studio 12?"

As for myself, I had to look up GCC at http://gcc.gnu.org/, where they explain that GCC is a GNU Compiler Collection that includes front ends for C, C++, Objective-C, Fortran, Java, and Ada, as well as libraries for many languages.

A self-proclaimed "Solaris Guy," Jim talked a lot about the benefits of the operating system. "You can run Windows and Linux inside of Solaris," he told the audience. "And you know, an operating system is really only there to support your applications. Solaris will make your job easier. There are zones in Solaris so you can consolidate applications and users into one machine at ten times the productivity of VM Ware." He also briefly explained the DTrace tool, bundled in the operating system, that debugs slow transactions. "It's a real productivity aid."

"And I don't understand this," he complained to the audience, "but a lot of developers are moving their Linux applications to Solaris, debug them using DTrace, then move them back to Linux. Why not just leave it on Solaris?"

Finally, he addressed the important topic of scaling. "If you can't scale your applications, your competition will." How do developers scale their applications? Using Sun tools and technologies, of course . . .

More details on what does what for whom, later. I'm off to the sessions.

Stay tuned for more as the event continues.


Some Resources

Of Peripheral Interest


Carla King reporting live from Beijing on Sun Tech Days.


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