01 May

Oracle vs. Google on Java (2012)

Some background: I spent many years as an individual contributor to a number of J2ME expert groups including MIDP 2.0, MIDP 3.0 and a number of J2ME APIs ~ around 10 different JSRs over 8+ years. I was a huge proponent of Java for mobile and still am.

In the next couple of days, the jury will decide in the trial of Oracle vs. Google on Java.

The Google vs. Oracle Java debacle is in my opinion, for the most part, the result of how Sun left behind a loosely defined and ambiguous Java, from the perspective of open source software (OSS).

To attract developers and win the community, Sun played the OSS “game”; but did it partially. I recall Schwartz claiming Java as open source, then trying to understand GPL classpath exceptions and whatnot.

Then Google started Android with Java, and Android became very successful.

As Sun shopped themselves around, Oracle, a coined-operated company, clearly understood the monetization opportunity that presented itself with Java and its state.

And here we are today.

Everyone in the business of SW knows that 3rd party SW must be licensed. The questions are “what is SW?”, “what requires a license?” and “what is up for fair use?” Is it the Java Programming language and related core APIs? The Virtual Machine and related bytecode? What about all the APIs developed by the Java Community and led by other companies such as Nokia and Motorola and others? All the above?

Google made a bet and decided to take risks — perhaps based on Schwartz’s OSS claims or the claims from the JCP vs. “fair use”.

But soon the court will decide, and all this will be over. Google may have to pay a lot of money for using Java, or maybe not, or maybe some kind of IP + $ arrangement is done between the companies, or maybe Google ends up using a different programming language on top of their VM.


30 Jan

Oracle announced it finalized its acquisition of Sun — Bye Sun and Thanks…

Sun Microsystems

As I read Terrence’s blog Goodbye Sun & Thanks, Scott, I think back at my days when I worked closely with Sun. Many believed that I worked for Sun but I actually didn’t…

I have been a fan of Sun Microsystems through out my school years and then during my professional career. Like many, I was part of Sun’s and Java ecosystem and developer community.

Sun and Java have played a big role in my professional career…

I had the pleasure to work with many great people and minds at Sun and use Sun’s technologies. I spent a lot of time working with Sun’s mobile (from KVM to J2ME/Java ME) and server technologies and even writing for them (also see my Mobile Java section on my blog).

For years I ran a popular website/blog called J2MEDeveloper.com and I wrote one of the first books on MIDP. I participated and contributed to many Java Specs (JSRs) and was a very active member of the Java Community Process (JCP) and the Mobile & Embedded community where I was recognized as a community champion/star. I also helped co-design Sun Microsystems’ Mobile Java Developer Certification Exam (SCMAD). Even recently I provided advice to the ME executive committee on the future of mobile Java. In 2009 I was nominated to the 7th JCP Annual Awards.

While I was at AGEA, a startup where I was one of its first employees, I helped bring both companies to work very close to each other. Back in 2000-2003 we created products based on J2EE and J2ME and created NetBeans extensions for developers to create mobile apps. I even helped raise $12.2 million in funding most of which as the lead investor came from Sun, making AGEA a Sun portfolio company. And when I was at Aligo, I created or help create a number of software solutions based on end-to-end Java. And at eZee and others. And via Artemis Wireless Werks the dozens of companies I helped with their mobile Java solutions. And today it continues from Java ME to Java on Android.

As you can see, Sun played a big role in my professional career. Those were great days that I enjoyed very much and which I am very proud of. Those days as Sun are gone now; a new era indeed. I can’t get used to see Oracle’s brand on Sun’s sites. Bye Sun Microsystems, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish…


16 Oct

On the the rise of open mobile

While looking for information on how CTIA 2009 in San Diego went, I found an article by Richard Wong (who is a venture capitalist with Accel Partners) titled on “The rise of open mobile (and congratulations Android team)“.

A good article by Richard, he reminisces on how mobility used to be in the early days of apps (i.e. year ~2000) when operators were in total control — I do remember those days very well and all the unnecessary control and FUD that literally pushed innovation back about 10 years. Richard then compares that past with what he observed at CTIA 2009 and the lots of noise related to Android — the shift from an operator-controlled mobile world to “Open Mobile” players such as Android.

I have written about this before, on how “control” have been and will continue to shift from the operator and to the ecosystem — the developer and community where developers create (and add) value via their software innovations in applications, where the ecosystem, open systems and common sense will be the drivers for success, where the new deck is the “deck that is on the cloud” and users drive which application succeed or not via simple “application demand”, ranking, recommendations and comments.

For this shift that we are (finally) getting to see we have to thank Apple and Google, but these are recent players. We must recognize the impact made by the Mobile Web and also what triggered it all back in 1999 — Sun with their mobile Java technologies as well as the good old WAP.

I do believe the Android market is going to explode globally becoming a predominant mobile platform together with the iPhone, and that native/local apps will continue to rule for quite a while.

Update Oct 21: Days after I wrote the above, TechCrunch wrote a piece validating my post above on Android; see Android Avalanche: A Complete List Of The Android Phones So Far.


29 May

JSR 271: Mobile Information Device Profile 3 — Proposed Final Draft

It is good to see this. After a long time, hard work, lots of discussions, MIDP3 final draft has been submitted to the JCP…

MIDP3 includes a number of new APIs and functionality. And while the smartphones have gone their own way with their own platforms and environments, MIDP3 is relevant and will be a great environment for feature phones. For those asking what a feature-phone is, Phone Scoop as a good definition:

A Feature phone is any mobile phone that is not a smartphone or PDA phone. Feature phones have proprietary operating system (OS) firmware. If they support third-party software, it is only via a limited interface such as Java or BREW.

Compared to software for smartphones, Java or BREW software for feature phones is often less powerful, less integrated with other features of the phone, and less integrated into the main user interface of the phone.

This is changing, as newer versions of Java and BREW allow software to be more powerful and integrate with more features of the phone, although the difference is still present, especially on the interface side. While third-party smartphone software is a “first-class citizen” on the phone, third-party Java or BREW software is usually restricted to a special “applications” section of the interface.

The Proposed Final Draft Specification for JSR-000271 Mobile Information Device Profile 3 is now available at http://jcp.org/en/jsr/detail?id=271.

“This JSR will specify the 3rd generation Mobile Information Device Profile, expanding upon the functionality in all areas as well as improving interoperability across devices.”

I hope to start seeing MIDP3 devices later this year…