Checking In From JavaOne

Greetings from JavaOne 2005! Wow! This look like it's going to be a great conference! It's Monday afternoon, and my head is already spinning.

I got in last Wednesday, hit the ground, and crashed. Nine timezones and a 12-hour flight is enough to wipe me out completely, especially since I didn't sleep at all the night before the flight. (I didn't even go to bed; too much to do!) Thursday, Friday, and Saturday was the Software & JavaTM Ambassadors Conference, an internal Sun conference to share our product direction with a select group of engineers from the field. This year we had a very high density of information. I can't give you any details, but suffice it to say that we've got some great stuff coming up in the next year. We're announcing (and have announced) some of the stuff here at JavaOne, but a lot of it is still coming in FY06 or later.

I spent all day Sunday in the hands-on lab making sure that my Building Grid-enabled Applications lab works in the lab environment. There were quite a lot of minor tweaks and changes that had to be done, including updating all of the screen shots for NetBeans 4.1. After I got everything cleaned up and ready to go, I made the mistake of calling my co-presenter for the Building J2EETM Grid-enabled Applications Technical session (Thursday at 2:30!). We are have a demo that we are using for the session, and it was down. I spent two hours hanging from a pay phone while trying to talk Eric through finding and fixing what was wrong. (By the way, we failed.)

Today, I got to the Moscone center a little after 7:30. When I got there, there was already a line for the general session. It was only about 20 people, though, so I went on about my business, which was doing some speaker and lab preparation and getting some coffee. I was rather impressed to see the line in front of the breakfast room. It was rather long. By the time I got my coffee and got back upstairs, the line for the general session had reached around the corner. And kept going! I finally found the end of the line at the next street corner, in front of the Metreon theater. That was about 8:15. By 8:30, the line had reached around almost all the way to the next steet corner! I haven't seen a line at JavaOne like that in years! I felt like Chistopher Eccleston as Doctor Who, looking at the exceedingly long line that I was going to have to stand it, smiling broadly, and quietly muttering, "Awesome."

The general session was OK. Because of the SJA Conference, the announcements had already been spoiled for me. The level of enthusiasm was overall a little low. Last year was great because everyone was stoked about the new features of Tiger. This year, Jonathon and JonnyL didn't really have much exciting to say. (See the next paragraph.) Even the t-shirt hurling contest entry was a bit of a dud. The highlight of the session was when McNeally jumped up on stage and heralded the entry of Duke followed by a jazz band and a birthday cake. Even cooler, Gosling brought up on stage the original members of the Green development team. That was the only rousing sound of applause in the entire session.

Among the things announced was Project GlassFish, the open-sourcing of the platform edition of our app server. I thought GlassFish was huge, but the audience reaction was non-existent. No applause. Nothing. I talked to another conference attendee about it over lunch, and he said that with JBoss out there, it just wasn't an exciting announcement. It's nice to now have a choice, but he didn't see it as particularly thrilling. Interesting. The gentleman sitting beside me right now has a very interesting perspective. He says that from a product perspective, the announcement doesn't make any difference; companies don't want free software running in production. He says, however, what is going to fundamentally change the app server landscape is that Sun has just declared that they're willing to listen to the community about what a "good" app server really is. Interesting.

I'm off now to the Sun bloggers meeting. This will be my first year to make it. I'm very curious to see how many people show up.

Before I go, though, let me plug my BoF. I have a BoF panel on grid computing tonight at 9:30pm in the Golden Gate A3 room at the Marriott. I have some CTO's (and one CEO) there to talk about what grid computing means to the future of Java computing and computing in general. Come on over!

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