Over at ASF a bunch of smart people are building Hadoop and Hbase. The latter is the open-source version of the BigTable, similar to Hypertable, but written in Java (not C++) and being super actively developed in the open and under the ASF umbrella.
Hah, a Journal on Slashdot.
In a five year period we can get one superb programming language. Only we can't control when the five year period will begin.