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Pitoyable élection au Conseil d’Etat de Neuchâtel October 31, 2010

Posted by Sacha in Français, Regional.
3 comments

Après le pitoyable épisode Hainard – l’adulescent qui croyait bénéficier de super-pouvoirs – c’est dans une continuation de ton qu’a eu lieu ce week-end l’élection de son remplaçant. Pitoyable.

Nous avons donc vu défiler une brochette de 8 candidats dont la plupart n’ont absolument ni les compétences ni un programme digne d’une élection d’une telle importance. Pire: les partis au pouvoir n’ont pas jugé nécessaire de faire appel à quelque ténor actuellement en mandat à Berne afin d’apporter une solide compétence à un exécutif totalement déstructuré, et donc d’augmenter nos chances de re-crédibiliser ce qui peut l’être du canton de Neuchâtel. Les partis au pouvoir n’ont pas été au niveau de la situation.

Après ce premier tour, nous nous retrouvons donc avec deux candidats en lice:

  1. Le premier, sans aucune expérience à un exécutif politique, avait la tâche ingrate de représenter le parti qui s’était lamentablement illustré dans la défense de Super-Hainard. Le casting du parti avait probablement déterminé qu’il fallait un candidat qui ne change pas radicalement la donne au Conseil d’État (pas de deuxième Alpha dominant!) tout en étant suffisamment sympathique pour séduire l’électorat. Et hop, voici que je sors la carte du sympathique vigneron bedonnant, proche de la terre, proche des réalités (car entrepreneur), proche des Hommes et cui-cui font les oiseaux dans le ciel – pour les compétences on verra plus tard.
  2. Le second était président de la CEP, la commission d’enquête censée faire la lumière sur les agissements de M. Hainard et qui, soudain!, s’est déclaré une vocation pour le poste de celui sur lequel il était censé enquêter le plus objectivement du monde. Deux choses l’une: soit i) M. Erard avait ce plan en tête depuis le début et cette stratégie n’est absolument pas éthique et devrait donc automatiquement le discréditer, soit ii) cette vocation lui est véritablement venue durant sa présidence de la CEP et une telle inaptitude à l’anticipation politique prouve qu’il ne dispose pas des compétences permettant de gérer l’exécutif d’un canton.

Pour qui voter au second tour? Un soldat de plomb ou une personne inapte à anticiper (dans le meilleur des cas - sans éthique dans le pire des cas)?

Ce qui ont finalement perdu le plus de crédibilité dans cette affaire sont les partis politiques. Habitués à leur petits arrangements entre partis, ils se sont probablement mis d’accord afin de ne pas changer l’équilibre des forces politiques au gouvernement: si M. Grosjean ne fait pas de grosse bourde durant la campagne, il sera parachuté Conseiller d’État. Les apparences seront sauves, les électeurs auront voté. Cependant, les partis ne se rendent probablement pas compte de la perte de crédibilité qu’ils s’infligent en opérant de la sorte. Les électeurs ne sont pas stupides, aucun candidat ne les satisfait vraiment, mais c’est le seul repas réchauffé qui leur a été servi par leurs baillis. Alors ils s’exécutent semi-contraints ou s’abstiennent, tous certainement frustrés. Et un jour, ils voteront en masse pour un parti d’une extrême populiste quelconque – et les partis historiques nous chanteront le refrain de l’ingrate perte de crédibilité des politiques face au peuple…

IBM joining OpenJDK – repeat after me “pragmatic”, “pragmatic”, “pragmatic” October 12, 2010

Posted by Sacha in English, IT.
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11 comments

Things have started to move quickly in Java-land. Yesterday, IBM announced they would partner with ORCL on Java and participate in the OpenJDK project. They also said that in doing so they would shift their Apache Harmony resources towards OpenJDK.

Note: I can insure you that the “pragmatic” word is going to be used and abused in the next few weeks when talking about Java…

Market

From a market standpoint, ORCL played hard-balls and won.

One of the only possibilities for a Java fork to be successful was for IBM to co-lead it. With this announcement, the “pragmatic” view wins. I imagine IBM was able to negotiate and obtain from ORCL a proprietary license on the OpenJDK codebase. I also hope they were able to negotiate substantial *and specific* changes in how the JCP will work in the future.

For IBM, no drama, no legal fees, no long lawsuit, just business as usual. For ORCL, a first victory in how they intend to treat the Java community. Oh, and for the other players (VMW, RHT, SAP, HP, etc.) it probably means they will have to shut-up and follow IBM “leadership” (with one possible caveat explained below).

Community

This is really a blast against the Java community. The JSPA dictates that companies leading a JSR have to provide a license to anybody requesting it. That is the very foundation of the JCP: to create a market place where all competitors are on an equal-playing-field. Yet, in that case, SUN refused to grant such a license, providing an interpretation of the JSPA that would make laugh a 5 years old kid. Everybody else thought this interpretation was vastly nuts. Fast-forward a few months and this becomes ORCL’s interpretation.

This probably also means the Apache Harmony project just died (Yes, resources allocation and life and death of a project are indeed topics that should be discussed on a DEV mailing-list… don’t hide behind your finger.)

How can the Java community trust a leader which doesn’t stand by its own constitution?

Anything good?

So, “pragmatically”, this news announces the end of a long-standing deadlock in the Java community: we can all hope the JCP will be rejuvenated on top of the JSPA and Harmony dead bodies, that new SE JSRs will be initiated, that ORCL will start investing more resources in new JSRs, etc. That’s the best case scenario.

Yet, I have a hard time seeing how a new “JCP” can work if any JSR lead can, at any point in time, refuse to grant a license on that JSR to a competitor… What if ORCL was to refuse to grant RHT of VMW a Java EE license?

What’s next?

The only free electron that could change the situation is GOOG – and that electron is pretty excited given their lawsuit with ORCL.

Until now, nobody really leveraged that JSPA issue aggressively. Yet, GOOG could decide to sue ORCL for refusing to give the ASF an appropriate Java SE license (or help the ASF sue ORCL). I see this as the only remaining open item that could change the game. And if this doesn’t happen, ORCL will have won by KO.

Oh and obviously, it will be interesting to see what the JCP EC members will vote on the new JSRs for Java SE 7 and 8 (be ready to count the number of times the “pragmatic” word will be used in the comments section). My bet is that unless GOOG sues ORCL, the JCP EC will just “pragmatically” accept those new JSRs and send some flowers to the Apache Harmony project.

Conclusion

Unless GOOG initiates a lawsuit against ORCL over the JSPA, I think this is game-over. ORCL essentially tells the Java ecosystem that the good old JCP is dead, that they are willing to rejuvenate it but not at the expense of loosing control on the only FOSS JVM out there, that is the price to pay. While that might seem fair, the problem is that this is a unilateral decision done at the expense of a legal agreement signed by many.

Next time you shake Larry’s hand and he tells you “we have a deal”, don’t get too excited…

CloudBees is hiring! Product Management & Marketing position October 8, 2010

Posted by Sacha in CloudBees, English.
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1 comment so far

CloudBees is hiring for a Product Management & Marketing position, you will find the detailed description in this document.

For you to be a fit, you are probably a rising star, much brighter than me, with high energy, extroverted and with a great personality. You are also a self-starter, you don’t need to be micro-managed, you are very comfortable with blogging and social media (your online activity will impress us). Oh, and obviously, you are familiar with the Java infrastructure world and you are convinced that the cloud is a massive paradigm shift.

If you didn’t run away, why don’t you send me an e-mail?

This is going to be a fun ride – don’t miss it!

Onward,

Sacha

 

Are you ready to put your source code “in the cloud”? October 4, 2010

Posted by Sacha in CloudBees, English, IT.
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1 comment so far

One question that comes up frequently when I introduce CloudBees is whether companies are actually OK to host their code “in the cloud” (or at least build/test it over there).

==> complete article available on blog.cloudbees.com

Time to Fork Java? si vis pacem, para bellum October 4, 2010

Posted by Sacha in English, IT.
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12 comments

Here are my 2 cents on Greg Luck’s post about whether the time has come to fork Java (in what he proposed could become “Lava”).

Some context

First of all, some background. Since its inception, SUN had done a decent job stewarding Java into a multi-billion dollars ecosystem. It has not always been an easy ride, but things have steadily progressed (remember the days where it wasn’t legal to provide an Open Source implementation of the J2EE specs?)

As time passed, SUN became more financially challenged, and it became obvious that SUN wasn’t willing to relinquish its control over the JCP, but yet, wasn’t able to inject as many dollars as it used to in JCP specifications, research and engineers. So essentially, the Java ecosystem was forced into increasing its investment in something a competitor had control over. Furthermore, SUN had always done a terrible job at monetizing its own spec work, and this actually helped to position them as a benevolent dictator. Yet, when Schwartz decided it was time to aggressively monetize their Java investment, this over-control/under-investment situation became embarrassing.

But the real contention point was Apache Harmony, the Apache implementation of Java SE. While SUN had Open Sourced their Java implementation, they did it under a GPL license + Exception for SE and a straight GPL license for ME (more on this here). The goal was clear: they wanted to open source Java *while* maintaining their ME royalty revenues intact. From that standpoint, Apache Harmony was potentially a very big risk as it would allow phone vendors to migrate to a royalty-free Java implementation! Consequently, against everybody’s interpretation of the JSPA, SUN refused to grant the Apache Harmony project a full fledge Java SE license. That decision put Java in a complete dead lock:

  • EC members (who only have a negative power i.e. they can only enforce a NO vote, they cannot enforce a YES vote against SUN’s will for the base platforms) refused to let SUN start any new spec;
  • Only SUN could start a new Java SE (or ME) spec;
  • ==> No new Java SE (7) spec will be created unless SUN gives a proper license to the Apache Harmony project

All EC members had made it VERY clear that they would stand by their word, and they did! Well, all members … until ORCL became the new JCP prima donna.

What’s the deal today?

So, while ORCL’s stance on Apache Harmony and the JCP was crystal clear back when SUN was in charge of the JCP (ORCL wanted a SUN-independent JCP body, they wanted SUN to give a full license to the Apache Harmony project, etc.) and had been very vocal about it, things have changed since they acquired SUN.

ORCL is now the one in charge of the JCP and, guess what, they refuse to give the Apache Harmony project a suitable license, as requested by the JSPA. ORCL’s lawyers, who yesterday were reading that document in one way, now read it the exact other way around.

Will this become ORCL’s new signature: “when ORCL’s lawyers have the same opinion two-weeks in a raw, the only conclusion you can draw is that they changed their mind an even number of times.”

And that is exactly in that context that the ORCL vs. Google Android lawsuit has to be seen: ORCL sent a very clear signal: they won’t allow any dissident implementation, be Harmony or Android. Either you play by the rules, or you’ll suffer ORCL’s punishment. Except that in Harmony’s case (which is clearly not in the same situation as Android since they politely asked for a license), ORCL is interpreting the rules as they see fit.

I was hoping for ORCL to announce something meaningful for Java at JavaOne this year (better renamed JavaHalf), but they didn’t. This is bad, it means they are not likely to change their mind easily.

What are the consequences?

Larry made the bet the Java industry would bend and surrender. Possibly. This is a tough call: if ORCL remains in charge of Java the way they do today, it puts the IBM/RHT/VMW/GOOGL of the world at his mercy – which is not a sustainable mid-to-long term business decision. On the other hand, if they go nuclear, fork Java and take their independence, this could hurt them short-to-mid term. Tough call.

So, fork or no fork? Si vis pacem, para bellum.

My opinion: si vis pacem, para bellum (“If you wish for peace, prepare for war”).

Larry will not change his mind unless the battle of will evolves.

Consequently, Palmisano, Schmitt, Maritz and Whitehurst have to join forces and work towards an independent Java Community, a complete fork. Whether this will ultimately have an impact depends on i) how fast they move, ii) how good their plan is and iii) whether they can demonstrate to the world they can work together in a non-partisan way. If the above are true, the threat to ORCL will be too big and ORCL will be the one to bend. I think such a fork is very feasible.

Furthermore, it would be such a A-Bomb PR that this could actually help rejuvenate interest in the Java platform – especially if the launch of this new standard body was coupled with some technical announcements (new “ForkedJava” 7.0, roadmap for a new ForkedEE, etc.)

But all of this can only happen if IBM is part of it. IBM owns IP rights on a LOT of the Java IP; this would mitigate the risk of ORCL suing this new standard body. Furthermore, I’d love to see some of ORCL’s best customers join this standard body: while this has to be led by the key Java players, the ecosystem at large must stand up, and that includes the END USERS of that technology, the SI, the ISV; not just the usual suspects.

Bottom line: unless Larry decides to become the nice Java guy, the Java ecosystem has to stand-up.

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