FYI - I'm the London JUG co-leader, we have a seat on the Java Standards Body (aka the JCP) and I've seen first hand the Oracle and Java community challenges :-).
I think Oracle's record with the Java community is turning around in the right direction. They clearly didn't know how to the deal with the community to begin with, but I'll give em credit for trying their damnedest to get better at it! For example:
- They offer amazing amounts of (no strings attached) support to the Java User Groups (we've certainly had it better than we did under Sun). They put their $/£ where their mouth is and offer logistical support for user group events to boot (again, no strings attached).
- They set a date for Java 7, and they delivered the darn thing.
- They're working on the JCP reforms, starting with openness and transparency (JSR-348) and they will have a follow-up JSR to address all of the legal/licensing etc concerns (promises to be a humdinger of a mailing list).
- They've gotten a number of major community players into the OpenJDK (some will argue dubiously, but hey having Apple, SAP, IBM, RedHat on board is not to be sneezed at).
Now before the sceptics spit out their coffee:
- Have they screwed up a bunch of times? Yeah sure they have, Hudson/Jenkins, the Java Web Start thing and a few others.
- Do they communicate in a way that the community would like them to? Definitely not always, they like to keep silent until they get the official ducks in a row.
- Are there issues around legal/licensing? Heck yes. and that's going to make for an interesting 2012, I suggest you become part of the JCP process so you can have your say.
So there's definitely stuff to work on, but they are listening and the community has worked with them on many occasions in the past year to get some really cool things done. Let's not forget they're mainly individual engineers like you and I trying to do the very best they can for the platform.
Now I'm off to put on my Kevlar ;-)