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The Java space is not really unique in this situation, as we contribute our fair share to the computing buzzword thesaurus. So it's not really surprising when someone trips up using the wrong word every so often. They can be forgiven. However, this month I've been researching one particular boo-boo that Mr. Larry Ellison made in his quarterly earnings press conference.

Oracle has always had a reputation of being a rather bold and some would say bullish company. But their latest claim takes them to new heights. One question posed to Larry was about the performance of Java and whether or not Oracle would be working more closely with BEA and their JRockit virtual machine. Larry responded with, "JRockit isn't really BEA's but Intel's...and will be part of Oracle's app server."

Wait a minute, doesn't BEA own JRockit? I am sure they did. Oh well, maybe I have it wrong; it wouldn't be the first time. I pinged an e-mail over to BEA for confirmation; they did indeed confirm that JRockit was 100% BEA owned. BEA responded with, "[We] can assure you that JRockit is owned by BEA." JRockit, originally developed by Appeal Virtual Machines, was acquired by BEA in early 2002. Maybe it was just a one-off slip from Larry.

But Larry continues the distancing of JRockit from BEA: "BEA has no proprietary rights to that whatsoever," citing Intel as the true owners of JRockit. Oh, maybe this wasn't a slip, but a clever subterfuge. Larry continues to reinforce Intel's ownership, "...JRockit technology that we have complete access to, and we have had a meeting with Intel to confirm that."

BEA and Intel have indeed pooled their product engineering efforts to ensure the best possible combination of BEA's JRockit technology on Intel processors, but as far as BEA is concerned, Oracle has not entered into any relationship with them for a similar optimization effort.

Did Larry get it wrong? He was assuring the original person who asked the question that Oracle9iAS would be using the latest VM technology from JRockit to ensure it was the fastest application server on the market.

I asked Oracle to comment on this with a series of questions. In true politician style, 50% of the answers I got back are definitely not in response to any of my questions. The other answers from their VP of app server marketing appeared to contradict what Larry was saying in his press conference, with quotes such as "...Oracle's internal tests show that JRockit has performance and stability issues when compared with the currently available JDK 1.4.1 solution from Sun." If this really is the case, shouldn't someone tell Larry that they aren't planning on using JRockit anymore? I am sure BEA will be interested in seeing the tests Oracle has conducted to see if this really is a problem, and I would urge Oracle to share any data they have that might help BEA address any issues. Maybe there's a configuration problem that BEA could assist with.

I hope Oracle gets its message straight sooner rather than later, because I feel it's important to the Java community not to introduce any confusion. It is good validation for us as an industry and with such heavyweights as Oracle and IBM, I feel very confident that Java is here to stay no matter what nonsense is being propagated from the Seattle operating system company.

.  .  .

I knew this was going to happen at some time: the moment when I would have to whip out my hanky and wave goodbye to a dear friend and wish him all the best. Fortunately that time hasn't come yet. Although that Jason Briggs boy is leaving the post of J2ME editor, he'll be contributing every so often, so we haven't lost his wit and charm completely! Yup, his life is about to get a lot more complicated with the arrival of a brand new Briggs v0.1. So on behalf of the JDJ crew, we wish him all the best.

Author Bio
When not answering your e-mails and working on the next issue of JDJ, Alan heads up a small team dubbed the "Thunderbirds of the Java industry," providing on- and offsite rescue for Java projects in trouble. For more information visit www.javaSOS.com. You can also read his blog: http://alan.blog-city.com. [email protected]

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