Java One, 2004

This year’s JavaOne conference was different. It felt different. If you were there, you know what I mean. In prior years, it was either about this terrifically new concept called Java software, and how the future is limitless – or it was about a new spec or application domain. Tantalizing, but futuristic. But this year, the CEO of Siemens VDO Infotainment demonstrated a BMW running Java on its dashboard, and we talked about helping them to cultivate a developer community for automobile platforms. I demonstrated a Medic Touch device that collected my biometry, and propagated it through my cell phone to a health monitoring service. I remixed a ringtone from AirMedia’s library of Sony’s music, and sent it to my phone. And we open sourced Java 3D, and Project Looking Glass. As in GPL’d it.

Which is to say, Java One wasn’t about Sun. It was about the community. And it wasn’t about alluding to a community, or fantasizing about a future, it was about demonstrating the shipping products the Java community is delivering. And engaging in a conversation about where we go next with the 15,000 attendees.

Even today, where we assembled some of the leading thinkers in the open source world to discuss the realities behind open sourcing Java – how the source is already available to anyone who wants access, the bug database is public, and companies are already implementing specifications in the open source community. We aired the issues – we committed to continue Java’s evolution, and the evolution of the processes which govern it.

It’s more evident by the year – Java’s primary value, when you got beyond the platform technology itself, is that it allows the functionality of a device to be safely decoupled from its physical delivery. A very simple concept. Whether it’s a medical instrument from GE, a mobile handset from China Unicom, a server from Sun, a BMW 6 Series running Siemens’s dashboard, or a smart card from the DMDC. Beyond the human interest in having new games delivered to your BMW, this safe decoupling and enhancement forms the foundation of a generation of disruptive pricing models I expect to see blanket the landscape. And not just for the subscription programs Sun’s been rolling out for about a year – or the myriad free handset offers you see everywhere you look. But to a further adoption of subscription models in any device that touches the network.

If you can expect to realize value in the future by enhancing a device – charging for a new module on a MRI scanner, for example – you can subsidize the delivery of the first device. Taken to an extreme, you can give it away. We’ve been doing a lot of analysis of new pricing models – I’m sure it’s been obvious in our public communications. And you should expect to hear more.

But in the interim, I’d like to thank our partners for their contributions and commitment. It was evident. I’d like to thank the Sun employees who’ve devoted intensity, tenacity, creativity and focus to the Java platform and Sun’s products. Ask your friends and colleagues who were at Java One this year – it was a different event. You know exactly why – it’s because you’re executing. Thank you. It’s a privilege to keynote that event.

On a more humorous note, I’d like to apologize to our friends at BMW, who somehow got the impression we’d promised they’be giving the new Java-based 6 Series away to developers. Much though I’m sure a great many of this week’s attendees would love that, even we couldn’t make that math work.

(and thank you, Mr. Winer, for pointing out the referers spam problem. And to your point about the other Jonathan Schwartz, my Dad had me convinced as a child that all the ads that ran in the New York Times that said, “New York City Loves Jonathan Schwartz,” were intended for me. He had me duped for years.)

UPDATE: I mis-identified the ringtone mixer. Corrected above, it’s AirMedia — go check them out.

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