Why I Left Oracle - A Confession
(See Job 27:5)
I left my job as Java EE evangelist at Oracle on March 4, 2016. If you take a look at my blog post announcing my joining Oracle a few years ago, it won't be hard to spot my skepticism of the role of a professional evangelist and my skepticism of Oracle as a responsible steward of Java. One of the reasons I accepted the job was because of Cameron Purdy amongst a few other key folks at Sun and Oracle. I have followed Cameron's career for a long time. He is clearly a gem in the executive ranks of our industry. He helped pioneer one of the most successful pieces of enterprise infrastructure that has stood the test of time. Yet he is humble enough to still code even in front of a keynote audience. My faith in Cameron was not unfounded. Things have been good for a while certainly in the Java EE community and most importantly inside Oracle. Then Cameron was made to leave Oracle...
The surroundings around Cameron's departure saw my skepticism of Oracle grow exponentially. Make no mistake - this skepticism is not merely around Java standard APIs for the enterprise. It extends to Java on the desktop, browser, client, mobile, embedded and yes, even the core language runtime (this last one being the one most people get distracted focusing far too much on). Indeed the skepticism extends to Sun's entire promising open, collaborative technology portfolio largely centered around the JCP. Whatever your actual or perceived usage and dependency on any part of this portfolio, you shouldn't think for a moment that this doesn't concern you (the sheer number of near-sighted, unbelievably apathetic people in our industry never ceases to amaze and confound me). This is the portfolio that has helped make us all successful for the past two decades. You can be rest assured that if this portfolio does not remain robust we probably won't be celebrating Java's thirty year anniversary like we celebrated it's twenty year anniversary a few months ago.
My growing skepticism is of course independently shared by the ever vigilant Java EE community outside Oracle I have had the honor to serve. They have started to coalesce around these concerns quietly for months now. These are courageous folks I have the greatest regard for. The time is well past due I rejoined these folks in the community to help safeguard the well being of millions of Java developers worldwide and perhaps the well being of global IT itself.
Many people seem to have an impression of Oracle as a company full of corporate drones. This is far from the truth. I wasn't, Cameron wasn't and we are very far from being alone. This entry would not be complete without a respectful salute to these courageous folks. They will need our continued total support no matter what and they do what few others would dare or care to (now including myself). I wish the corporate drones and their masters lots of luck - they are going to need it more than ever.
As for my skepticism of professional evangelists and professional evangelism I am afraid that too remains intact but has decreased slightly over the past few years. One upshot of all of this is that I get to return to what I have found fulfilling for so many years - down-to-earth consulting in the enterprise. Having worn so many different hats now in our ever colorful industry it is the role in which I still find it the easiest to do the right thing for the right people at all times.
Home sweet home.