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Oracle Lays off Java Mission Control Team after Open Sourcing Product

| by Kesha Williams Follow 2 Followers on Jun 05, 2018. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

The Java Mission Control suite of tools, also known as JMC, was open sourced by Oracle on May 3rd with much applause and excitement from the Java development community. The excitement was replaced with unease as sources reported that the entire JMC development team had been laid off.

JMC is a well-known profiling and diagnostics tools suite for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) primarily targeting systems running in production. It is used by developers to gather detailed low-level information about how the JVM and the Java application are behaving. The official open source announcement came on May 5th from Marcus Hirt, a member of the Java Platform Group at Oracle. 

Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who helped open source Java Mission Control in the relatively short period of time it was done in.

According to Hirt, the intent behind open sourcing JMC was to provide the community with the opportunity to add new features and capabilities to the tools suite.

Open sourcing the stand-alone JMC application will provide the community with a base suite of tooling for advanced JVM features, such as Java Flight Recorder. It will also provide the community with an opportunity to build upon this tooling to, for example, expand the number of IDEs supported, not to mention provide new features and capabilities.

The final decision to open source JMC was decided by a unanimous vote on May 1st by the current OpenJDK members. As per Lazy Consensus voting instructions, voting was required to be in the open via the CFV: New Project: Mission Control discussion list. A total of 28 votes in favor (with none opposing) came from OpenJDK members Oracle, Red Hat, eBay, Twitter, and SAP.

Just a few weeks after the open source announcement, a tweet from Marcus Lagergren indicated that the entire JMC team was laid off, including his wife Klara Ward.

Following InfoQ’s attempts to get more information regarding the exact number of Oracle employees impacted and whether the layoffs came as a surprise, Ward simply stated that she wasn’t able to talk to the press. However, in a follow-up tweet on May 26th, Hirt confirmed that of the JMC team, only three were left at Oracle, including himself.

This turn of events has the community wondering if Oracle has largely ceased development on JMC. The community involvement and support may now be more important than ever to the future of JMC. For developers looking to get involved, the initial source of the project is based on the development branch of Mission Control 7. The final development and stabilization of Mission Control 7 will take place in the open.

InfoQ approached Oracle for an official statement, but they declined to comment on this story.  Readers can also keep up to date with all Java-related news by visiting the InfoQ Java homepage.

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Not a surprise by Cameron Purdy

The pressure to cut the Java team to the bone (and beyond) has been there for years. Oracle execs (or at least one Oracle exec in charge of all product development) just don't understand the whole "invest and monetize where you have competitive advantage; partner or acquire where you don't" concept. Instead, they're using repeated cuts to core product groups to (under-)fund 500 different random projects that are glacially attempting to create shallow clones of various market leaders (e.g. AWS, GitHub), albeit years or even decades too late to compete, under some absurd assumption that the world is just waiting for the Oracle branded version of GitHub and AWS to show up so that they can switch to it. Internally, the koolaid is strong, with the official party line being that Oracle is totally dominating the market in Cloud, totally destroying Amazon, absolutely beating Salesforce, totally dominating Microsoft, absolutely wiping Google off the face of the map, etc.

In reality, Oracle just continues to dramatically increase maintenance and support on older products that customers can't easily escape from (that accounts for almost 100% of Oracle revenue), while trying to strong-arm those same customers (via threats of software audits, coupled with massive discounts if they agree) into trying some of these new, half-baked products that kind-of look something like what has already been status quo in the market now for a decade or more. It's a model that worked so well for IBM and CA, and now Oracle has adopted it.

Apologies to the JMC team, but the Stockholm Syndrome is strong at Oracle.

Re: Not a surprise by Andrei Damian-Fekete

> "while trying to strong-arm those same customers (via threats of software audits, coupled with massive discounts if they agree)"

And some managers are very happy to close those deals, thinking they've sealed a great deal.

The bigger the price, the better the tag «X% discount!» feels, right?

Never been a fan... by gilstrac gilstrac

Never been a fan...Oracles purchases companies and runs them into the ground.
You have to be blind to not see it is bad for Java and technologies.

Re: Never been a fan... by Cameron Purdy

Contrary to your claim, Oracle has been quite good for Java. Demonstrably so. Java is in much, much, much better shape now than when Oracle bought Sun, and it's much more open (OSS) as well.

However, there are exceptions (ahem ... Android lawsuit), and past performance is also not necessarily indicative of future results. The disinvestment from Java does not bode well for the future.

Re: Never been a fan... by Will Hartung

There nothing to suggest that Java wouldn't be in the same place if Sun were still around, or if Java were shepherded by another company. Java stalled because of the Open Sourcing process and the transition over to Oracle.

Oracle is dumping Java because Java is not Oracle's business. I appreciate how some folks think that all the cutting to Java is to make it leaner and more competitive, but I view it rather as Oracle cutting the stuff from Java that it doesn't use and doesn't affect it directly. "Do we use Java FX? Anyone? No? Bu-bye." "Let's cloudify Java EE...wait, we have to give it, to, everyone? We signed WHAT!? Hmm...Bu-bye! Ok, now we can cloudify it for ourselves."

Java and the consortium of vendors rose up as one as a mechanism for the industry to present a unified face to the marketplace as a distinct, but viable alternative to Microsoft. When the industry improved Java, it improved the marketplace for Java products which boosted the respective marketshare of the different organizations. Didn't necessarily make their individual pieces bigger, but it made the overall pie bigger. More opportunity. Sun was happy to sell a server running WebSphere, for example. BEA was happy to sell you an app server for Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, Linux, or Windows <XXX>.

This is also why the Industry was so invested in Java EE. Adopt Java EE and get broad support from...everyone, ANYONE -- but Microsoft.

Oracle is the anti-thesis of that. Oracle "is", essentially, "a" Microsoft today. Oracle has no reason to empower the industry and lift all boats. It needs only lift it's own boat. And Microsoft is no longer the looming threat it once was as the industry opened around it.

Now that Oracle has got its money from Google, it can wash itself of the Java burden and leave it to "the community". The entire purpose of releasing Java every 6 months is to scare the pants off of corporate America and sell support licenses.
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Re: Never been a fan... by Cameron Purdy

"There nothing to suggest that Java wouldn't be in the same place if Sun were still around, or if Java were shepherded by another company. Java stalled because of the Open Sourcing process and the transition over to Oracle."


There is reality, which is that Sun had stopped investing in Java, and had allowed Java to deteriorate, and had not addressed some huge, looming problems like security.

As easy as it is to blame Oracle for stuff (and they deserve most of it), the truth is that Oracle saved Java from a tragic early death. Credit where credit is due.

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