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Sun Is Intent on Growing the Market

Rich Green Unveils Bold New Trajectory for Java

(June 12, 2003) - It was "One Architecture" day here yesterday at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, where JavaOne 2003 is being held for the eighth successive year.

Day Two began with a warm-up routine by "engineer/comedian" Don McMillan - a former chip designer and a full-blown member of the SunOffice team, with an MSEE from MIT and a unique line in developer-oriented humor. (" 'Linux' is a Latin word meaning: I don't do Windows")

No sooner had John Gage, chief researcher and director of Sun's Science Office, introduced the day's opening speaker, Rich Green, Sun's VP of Sun Developer Tools and Java Software, than Green was beckoning Jonathan Schwartz back onto the same stage that he had dominated so successfully at Monday's opening keynote.

A special announcement. Hot off the press.

Schwartz, Sun’s EVP of Software, announced that - per a newly-inked agreement - "HP will now be shipping Java on all of their PCs and all of their personal systems." To a spontaneous round of applause from the Java faithful, Schwartz publicly thanked all those HP employees who might happen to be in the audience.

Green then announced that Sun and Dell, too, had reached a brand-new understanding: the latest version of Java will be delivered on all Dell's computers running Windows and Linux. "So we’re doing our absolute utmost to make sure that Java is everywhere…" remarked Schwartz, before turning the stage back over to Rich Green.

"Turning up the developer volume"

Carefully clad in developer-friendly jeans and black turtleneck, Green addressed the key question of the week: what is Sun doing for Java developers? How is Sun, in a nice turn of phrase, "turning up the developer volume"?

There are 3 million developers currently writing for the Java platform, Green noted, and one metric Sun uses for measuring software platforms and assessing how well things are going is to look at how many lines of code has the developer community has written, divided by the number of lines of code Sun has written.

"If it grows," Green said, "Then that is good. And this number is indeed growing."

"We have a plan," he continued. "More of the same. Continue to build great technology. Continue to work with the community. Bring more folks to the platform, create new opportunities (mobile devices, Java Cards, etc.) and further energize the community to add power and substance to the Java platform."

Worldwide, Green pointed out, IDC predicts an increase from 7.8 million professional developers in 2001 to 13.3 million by 2006. Then, in a compellingly simply formula, he broke down the universe of developers into four types, represented by four quadrants.

Quadrant number one, Green said, is the Technologist - in other words, the archetypical early-adopter, top-line developer such as comes to JavaOne. Quadrant number two is the Enterprise Architect.

Quadrant number three is the Corporate Developer, described by Green as "folks who build apps of medium complexity and prefer not to write lots of code. They look at assembly rather than code to get the job done."

Quadrant number four is the Integrator – the developer involved mostly in EAI-like solutions, involved with, for example, taking legacy systems and wrapping them in standard interfaces, that kind of thing.

"Java's been successful in the top two quadrants," Green observed, before making the most telling point of his morning presentation: "It's a lot easier to build in the bottom two." Meaning, increase the market, the sheer number of developers.

"We all need to go after corporate developers next…"

In other words, he explained, lest anyone not follow the math, there just aren't that many folks like Java gurus James Gosling, Tim Lindholm, and Graham Hamilton - the lead architects of Java. There just aren’t thousands of developers of that caliber… let alone hundreds of thousands.

"The enormous growth opportunity," Green assured his audience, "is in the area of the corporate developer, and it's where we all need to go next…"

Green then recapped Sun's recent activities aimed at beginning this process, including JSR 223 as a way of bringing 3 million scripting programmers over to Java. He mentioned the improvements over the past 18 – 24 months to the Java platform, to support and promote ease of development – Java Server Faces, JDBC Row Sets, a metadata JSR, new mobile APIs to simplify mobile development.

But the message of the morning, just as Jonathan Schwartz had said in his keynote 24 hours previously, was that Java is now on a new trajectory: from Sun’s perspective, there is no higher priority than the expansion of the worldwide Java community from its "mere" 3 million… to five, ten, or whatever the ultimate number of millions might be.

In the words of the song - and no, this is not Rich Green’s song but the one that maybe came to the minds of a number of delegates to this year's JavaOne - "You gotta have a dream / If you don't have a dream / Then how you gonna have a dream come true?"

Let's see what Scott McNealy has to say about all this when he puts this conference to bed on Friday.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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