JavaOne Opening Act: The Power Of Java

Half of the fun of JavaOne is seeing who is sitting in the first two rows, and who comes by to offer greetings, compliments, criticisms or venture funding. It's a mash-up (literally) of people in suits, people with pony tails, people in sandals, marketing people, engineers, production folks, and world-class musicians. Some people fit more than one profile, which is one of the things that makes JavaOne so much fun.

Opening act: Katoja, the Nigerian Highlife Orchestra. Outstandingly good "world music," continuing the aural tradition of Papa Wemba and other talent discovered by ex-Talking Head David Byrne.

Here's a secret: I think Jonathan was nervous. Usually he's got something quick and insightful to say during these fly-by meet and greets, but today was he quiet. Then again, this was his first gig as bandleader.

To get a feel for his task, though, this is what the big tent at Moscone looked like 10 minutes before Jonathan took the stage. The room was almost full, and was completely filled by the time the opening "Power of Java" reel spooled. The analogies to a concert aren't lost here -- everyone wants to see a good show and (nearly) everyone is here because they want to learn more.

Want to know how Mary Smaragdis gets all of the cool scoops at big shows? She hangs out in front of the stage monitors, at least during the pre-show. Caught her in the act.

The "Power of Java" video really hit home. About two dozen people transparently using Java to accomplish every day, important things, from paying a parking meter to getting medical information to sharing bits with the world. JavaOne is all about developers, and the how and what of constructing Java-based systems. The opening reel showed how those systems can change the world - the true power of Java. And before anyone dismisses that as the rambling of an overly avuncular CTO or nice, foofy Kumbayah talk, it's based on exactly the same principles that make wikipedia work: People will do things if they're fun, if they're doing social good, and if they can showcase and share their talents.

The Power of Java is in harnessing that energy and channeling it around the world. Then consumers of the technology -- via web browsers, cell phones, kiosks, desktops, and software delivered as a service -- will realize that Nigeria is the source of a strong drum-and-bass beat, not just Section 419 scams. And that's music to my ears.

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Hal Stern's thoughts on software, services, cloud computing, security, privacy, and data management

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