Saturday 20 November 2010

Devoxx whiteboard votes 2010

As usual at Devoxx, there were a number of Whiteboard polls. These aim to capture the sense of the community and are of course only semi-scientific!

This year, picking questions was a little tricky, given the current disputes. I decided to ask questions focussed on specific topics and provide a choice of responses. Of course, you can never cover all valid responses, so there was always a comment area for extra opinions.

The +n notation after a comment means that n other people agreed with the comment. The <- notation means that what follows is a comment on the previous comment.

How do you feel about the Oracle vs Google lawsuit?

"It does not affect me. I do not care"10
"It is necessary to avoid fragmenting the Java platform"16
"There may be a case but legal action is a bad idea"62
"I really care - its a dumb idea"116
"It is encouraging me to look at non-Java platforms"9
Total votes cast213

View the photo. There were also some comments:

  • The lawyers will win. +3
  • Google should buy Java/Oracle
  • Google should create/drop Java+
  • $$Larry Ellison needs a new yacht. +2
  • Ban software patents. +7
  • Dimemma: Its fun to watch
  • Big powerplay for mobile space
  • Crazy SCO move!
  • Fight!
  • I know a good mediator: Equilon
  • Patent trolls
  • Patent should help small reality to contribute! Not help huge industry to black mail each other! <- (Ponies and Rainbows anyone?)
  • What's JSR nnumber for Android!

A very clear answer was provided on this topic - devoxx attendees that voted were solidly against the lawsuit (over 87%). While a high number thought there might be a case even more thought the lawsuit was just plain dumb. If Oracle wants developers on its side, it is clear that the lawsuit is a problem. As always, the comments were entertaining too.

Should Java 8 or 9 be backwards incompatible?

"Yes! Its time to remove some old stuff to make room for new"185
"Maybe! Some SMALL incompatible changes would be good"35
"No! Backwards incompatibility is essential to Java"27
"I don't care, I'll just use whatever I am given"4
Total votes cast251

View the photo. There were also some comments:

  • Java NG, Bytecode should still be usable. +5
  • Please cleanup IO
  • Cleanup. Pe Java 5 stuff
  • Remove java.util.Date. +1
  • Corbe pollutes APIDOC <- so use Jigsaw
  • Remove ESB2 compatibility +1

Clearly, a majority of voters wanted some form of backwards incompatibility (over 87%). This is a remarkably clear result and was more positive than I expected.

How do you feel about the JCP?

"It is very important and will continue to be"3
"Everyone needs to start working together"36
"It needs radical reform"24
"It is no longer relevant"5
"It is F***ed" (added by a conference attendee)12
"I don't know anything about it" (added by a conference attendee)8
Total votes cast88

View the photo. There were also some comments:

  • Who cares? OSS already demonstrates "de facto" standard to override JSR. +2
  • Hibernate is OS,Hibernate gave birth to JPA, JPA is standard, Hibernate implements the standard (<- Mostly), Hibernate is still OS
  • Design by committee
  • Will be James Brown, doubt it. "Get in it, Get involved, Everybody get funky"
  • Only good for big vendors, at the detriment of developers
  • Get out of the way. Turn in to a real open COMMUNITY!
  • The "new" mantra is cool: "Test stuff in the community first then standardize what really works"

Opinion was split here, on a relatively low turnout. Clearly compromise is still valued, but some believe it may be too late.

Does Oracle believe in the Java community?

"Yes! They are investing $millions"10
"Maybe! They just see it differently to Sun"83
"No! They are severly damaging the community"36
"I don't care, the community is not important"2
Total votes cast131

View the photo. There were also some comments:

  • Bad communication, but they really wat to learn. +1
  • Google and ASF should join forces and start working on BIJava cause Oracle will never have the balls to do it
  • JavaOne needs to be 1st class citizen again! +1
  • Demonstrate first: Free talk +3
  • Trust must be earned
  • Larry Ellison pick up the phone, Eric Schmidt pick up the phone, Geir Magnusson Jr pick up the phone, DEAL
  • <-(someone forgot to call me!)
  • Java community is watcing! If Oracle f****up something new might come out and takeover
  • Communication is the key!

The message here seems to be that many are still willing to give Oracle a chance. I'm interested in those that do not believe community is important ;-)

How should Oracle make money from Java?

Paid for$Free
"Core JVM"039
"JVM tools (JRockit mission control)"2610
"Application server (Webloic)"304
"Middleware (ESB/Fusion)"313

View the photo. There were also some comments:

  • Not +2 ("not" as in should not make any money I presume)
  • Stop paying lawyers! <- LOL
  • In whatever way works to max income

This vote only started on Thursday, hence the lower voting figures. The results ought to be predictable, but clearly a few want $free everything. In general it looks like Oracle's paid vs $free choices are about right.

OpenJDK is now the "heart" of Java

"I will contribute to OpenJDK"12
"I like OpenJDK but don't want to contribute"16
"The OpenJDK GPL license is uncertain because of Oracle's patents"31
"I don't believe OpenJDK should be the only Java SE implementation"37
Total votes cast96

View the photo. There were also some comments:

  • Troll? +1
  • A clear statement from Oracle is needed on WHY they do not want to make it possible for others to have Java implementations (Harmony). Would like to hear BUSINESS reasons. +8
  • <-Maybe mreinhold could explain?
  • More communication is what will solve the problems & stop damaging speculation
  • Oracle should make TCK available w/o field-of-use restrictions. +5
  • Harmony FTW, keeps them true. +1
  • It should be. +1
  • Should be LGPL

There is definitely support here for other Java SE implementations, yet not a huge number of votes overall. I suspect that amongst those that know the story it matters, but in general it doesn't. I also find the (popular) comment for an explanation interesting.

What is your favourite non-Java language?

Objective C7
Z80 assembler3
Human language3
Body language2
Modula 31
Total votes cast244

View the photo. Last year Groovy came top, this year it is Scala. One point to bear in mind is that Groovy conferences are now well established, so possibly those most dedicated to Groovy nonw attend those. Or maybe Scala is getting more popular. And I was personally surprised to see how popular Python is.


Devoxx votes are nothing more than a snapshot of opinion by a proportion of the attendees of Devoxx. Yet despite the caveats, their results can be interesting. Its the power of the community!


  1. Stephen,
    thanks for the effort and being our Java devil advocate!

  2. i guess thats when you wrote this blog post: :) taken at 2010-11-19 11:38

    in my opinion, oracle needs to wake up a bit. they are getting some serious bad press and this will have some impact in the coming months.

    i dont really agree with the BIJAVA thing. BCJAVA+alternative languages which are competing in features + usability are what the ecosystem needs.

  3. The thing that irritates me somewhat is the desire to break compatibility in future Java releases. If devs so desparately desire language features that would break compatibility, there is an insane number of alternative languages for the VM out there already. Why not use these and maintain Java's language features? You can't wait for lambda expressions? Take a look into Scala or Groovy (obviously two of the most accepted java.lang.Object languages out there).


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