So as I indicated yesterday, last night was James Gosling’s visit to the Atlanta Java Users Group. Standing room only, as expected.
The evening started off with a Sun representative giving the pitch about how Sun is reinventing itself. I'll save my rant about their hardware business, the Java Desktop System, and the Java Enterprise System for another day.
Probably the weak point of the evening was the structure of the session. We had the creator of Java available to us, and all we had was a question and answer session which, by its nature, was all over the map – put a bunch of techies in a room with an expert, and each techie is likely to ask veiled questions to address immediate problems of agendas of theirs.
James has recently moved into the job of CTO of Sun's tools group, which he said is responsible for NetBeans, SunOne Studio, and Project Rave. He says the technology preview for Rave should be out any day now. He expressed some regret that so much of his job is PR (such as this session) and meetings rather than dedicated development and research.
He mentioned that Java is now being used even in 3D gaming, such as The Sims Online and Harry Potter. It's not Doom III, but it's respectable. Other recent interests of his include the work that's being done with Java on the Mars landers. Apparently this generation of landers is remotely controlled, and the code hasn’t even been installed yet (they'll beam it to the landers when it's done). The next generation will be largely self guiding.
He doesn't seem worried about the “weight” of Java/J2EE becoming too cumbersome, nor about the ability of Microsoft to dictate the .NET agenda outpacing the slower JCP in innovation. Both answers were framed as a comparison of advantages and disadvantages. The expansion of Java has been to meet the needs of developers, and you can ignore what you don't need. The JCP meets the needs of the community better when the solution does arrive compared to .NET.
The evening was definitely worthwhile, but I would have wanted to hear him give even a 10-minute blurb on what has been interesting to him lately. The closest we got to that was an animated blurb on how much he enjoys developing on his PowerMac – this seems to be a trend amongst the tech elite.
Perhaps the most amusing part of the evening was Marc Fleury's question – he asked an extension of someone else's question while subtly riffing on several of the features in JBoss 4 (with actual mention of JBoss) such as AOP, JMX, etc.