Duke is the official mascot of Java technology. Each year, Oracle releases a new Duke personality. This year we offer "Scientist Duke." Much like a genius developer would with Java technologies, Scientist Duke is engaged in developing, mixing, testing the latest ingredients to create the greatest formula/product/innovation ever.
Last year, Adventure Duke was off on a mission of adventure and discovery to find the latest Java wonders around the world. 2011 unveiled Future Tech Duke, moving Java forward into new technology and platform arenas. In 2010 it was Surfing Duke, who tagged along for the ride at the Java Road Trip: Code to Coast. In 2006, Duke was officially "open sourced” under a BSD license. Developers and designers were encouraged to play around with Duke and for the first time had access to Duke’s graphical specifications through a java.net project at http://duke.kenai.com.
You'll be able to have your picture taken with a living, life-size Duke at the JavaOne developer conference in San Francisco. Also, I heard that Duke can't wait for JavaOne and may be visiting some coffee shops in the Bay Area in the next few weeks!
If you don't know the history, back in the early days of Java development, the Green Project team created its first working demo—an interactive handheld home entertainment controller called the Star7. At the heart of the animated touch-screen user interface was a cartoon character named Duke (think clippy but better!). You can learn more at java.net.