By pelegri on Nov 11, 2010
This is the story of a tweet...
Last week Adam went to QCon San Francisco to talk about "The Road Ahead for Java". Adam covered the Java SE Strategy, presented by Oracle at JavaOne via a PR, keynotes and sessions like S319476 by Paul and Henrik. The relevant section from the PR is:
The Oracle JDK and Java Runtime Environment (JRE) will continue to be available as free downloads, with no changes to the existing licensing models.
Premium offerings such as JRockit Mission Control, JRockit Real Time, Java for Business and Enterprise Support will continue to be made available for an additional charge.
Now, I don't know what exact words Adam used to describe the premium services but Michael Nygard posted this tweet:
"It's our intent to have a premium version of the JDK." Said in addition to the open source JDK. #qconsf
Nothing wrong there, it's just a tweet; and maybe Adam even used those exact words. The only problem is what happened afterwards.
That one tweet was retweeted heavily, somewhere in the process was reinterpreted as "premium JVM" and given all sorts of extra attributes, was then taken as truth by some journalists , and was then further spread through news, blogs and tweets. The whole thing moved quickly around the world. The original tweet was Saturday, the 6th, I spent 5 minutes at Google News yesterday, only looked at a few local editions, and came up with these stories:
- Nov 6th, Oracle cooks up free and premium JVMs
- Nov 7th, Oracle vuole monetizzare Java... Sai che novità!
- Nov 8th, Daily Dose - Oracle to Sell "Premium" JVM
- Nov 8th, Oracle: Novos Planos para Java Virtual Machine
- Nov 8th, Oracle: ora spunta l'idea di una JVM a pagamento
- Nov 8th, L'ultima mossa di Oracle: la Java Virtual Machine a pagamento
- Nov 8th, Oracle: ci saranno due Java Virtual Machine, una sarà a pagamento
- Nov 8th, Oracle wil met gratis en betaalde JVM-uitvoeringen komen
- Nov 9th, Oracle prépare une JVM "Premium" payante
- Nov 9th, Una Java Virtual Machine a pagamento?
- Nov 9th, Oracle podría bifurcar la JVM en dos: una gratuita y otra de pago
- Nov 9th, Oracle будет выпускать платную и бесплатную версии Java
- Nov 10th, Oracle To Offer Free and Paid 'Premium' Versions of JVM
- Nov 10th, Developer Week in Review
- Nov 10th Oracle planche sur une version payante de la JVM
All of this from a single tweet, "validated" by "the press".
Several of us spent a fair amount of time over the weekend trying to point folks to the correct information. Yesterday, Henrik got an extra-quick approval for an official Oracle's JVM Strategy and Dalibor then used it in Extra! Extra! Oracle Premium JVM! Read all about it! and I'm using it in this note. But it's much easier to spread misinformation than to correct it; go through the list above and see how many are publishing corrections...
The moral? To me there are two:
Journalists (and bloggers and tweeters) should remember this quote from
Graeme Philipson (via @robilad):
journalists must be vigilant for the facts in an online era of instant disinformation
- And readers need to use your judgment when reading news.
Sounds like motherhood and apple-pie, but good reminders for all of us...
And before going back to our normal topics, I'll mention that last week saw a similar fire-drill around InnoDB and MySQL - see Get The Facts: MySQL Licensing and Pricing.
PS. And, to be extra clear, I do not blame Michael at all; his tweet was totally fine.