Google technologist derides Oracle's lack of developer focus

Google may have pulled out of JavaOne because of diminished developer focus, says Tim Bray

When it bowed out of the JavaOne conference this year, Google cited Oracle's lawsuit over Java use in Google Android. But one Google technologist suggests a second possible reason for Google's reticence: Oracle's lack of focus on developers.

In a blog entry posted Monday, Tim Bray, a Google developer advocate widely known as being one of the inventors of XML, recounted a conversation he had with someone "familiar" with how Oracle runs its OpenWorld conference, alongside which JavaOne will be held this year. Bray asked why the company didn't focus more on developers at this event. The individual responded that, for Oracle, building rapport with developers was not its chief priority.

"The central relationship between Oracle and its customers is a business relationship, between an Oracle business expert and a customer business leader ... The concerns of developers are just not material at the level of that conversation; in fact, they're apt to be dangerous distractions," Bray quoted the unnamed individual.

Although a short post, it does provide a glimpse into how priorities differed between Oracle and Sun Microsystems, which Oracle purchased in January.

Oracle executives have expressed enthusiasm for supporting the development communities around some widely used Sun technologies such as MySQL and Java. But other less successful or harder-to-commercialize projects -- such as OpenSolaris,

OpenOffice, and OpenSSO -- have seemingly been neglected or even abandoned by the company.

A number of reader-contributed comments on the post noted that Oracle's focus on the business side of technology may not necessarily be counted as a negative for the company, especially when compared to the developer-focused ways of the less successful Sun.

"How is this a bad thing? It's all about building the best applications for your customers," one poster noted. "Imagine if airlines treated their relationship with the flier as the most important. Imagine if politicians treated their relationship with constituents as most important."

Bray was a Sun Microsystems chief technologist who resigned from Oracle shortly after its purchase of Sun. Bray posted the comment on his personal blog site, where he stresses the opinions he expresses are not Google's.

Oracle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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