Interview: James Gosling, 'the Father of Java': Page 3

Posted October 21, 2007

Tim Scannell

(Page 3 of 3)

James GoslingQ: So how do you sell it through channels and work with partners and developers to offer it as a product or collection of products?

It's hard to know. I don't think the notion of a developer community is going to go away. Certainly, the depth of the developer community has been increasing pretty dramatically. There has always been an uneasy relationship between the engineering side of software and the business side of software. A lot of software engineers are somewhat depressed because technology has not been the leader for some time. The hard problems are not technology.

Q: What is your impression of Google and its potential impact on the market and Sun's efforts?

They're having an unbelievably huge impact, and in many ways I love them to bits. I just hope they don't self-destruct. Their hiring these days just feels crazy -- more like a cancer than growth. They've really got one business, and that is advertising. Part of me feels really deeply disturbed that the killer app for the Internet is turning out to be advertising.

People talk about how wonderful being able to search the world's knowledge is and how wonderful being able to connect to people through things like Facebook is, but at the end of the day all that is turning out to be just a scam to sell advertising.

Q: Do you think part of the problem may be that the whole area of collaboration is hot right now and companies may be pushing that concept as a solution instead of an enabler?

Yeah, and just what is collaboration for? There are all kinds of collaboration facilities for enterprise software developers, for example, who are not geographically integrated to work together.

Then there are collaborative tools for college kids who like to go out on the town and party. That's actually pretty cool and you can make money from it. You're not going to sell that, but you may make a lot of money by putting advertising next to it. You just have to figure out what kind of economic model is best.

It's really the long-tail argument, that the number of big communities is actually very small, but the number of small communities is really big.

Q: So how does a large company like Sun deal with the concept of micro-communities and long-tail marketing when it really levels the playing field and dramatically increases the competition? Just how any ways can you see a product?

For us it's mostly the stuff we sell doesn't solve any particular problem. The stuff that we sell is more like clay that people mold into whatever they happen to need. We don't build much of anything really that is focused on any one community. But a lot of stuff is applicable to many communities.

We've got things identify management software that people use for all kinds of stuff, but we don't have identity management stuff for people who are deeply involved with a particular community of users.

Q: So Sun prefers to be the technology that is way inside and leave the focused stuff up to partners.

We're definitely a company that does deep subterranean plumbing. A lot of our intellectual property and a lot of our skills sets, and the way are sales force is built, is based on doing this kind of subterranean technology.

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