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Special Report: State of the Java Art

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The Experts of the Roundtable
Get to know the panelists of the 2006 Java Technology Roundtable
Moderated by Simon Phipps

May 31, 2006

When the Java Technology Roundtable is held during the weeks of the annual JavaOne conferences in San Francisco, the event's only moderator to date, Simon Phipps, chief open source officer at Sun Microsystems, typically kicks off the discussion by going around the table and asking the participants to introduce themselves and identify their organization affiliations. In the spirit of keeping up with current trends and technologies, Phipps invited the panelists of the 2006 Java Technology Roundtable to provide brief bios along with their introductions as they might appear in a Wikipedia entry on a Web page. The exercise provided plenty of color and a few laughs at self-deprecating humor. It also provided some insight into the backgrounds, both inside and outside of the industry, of these thought leaders. Get to know the 2006 Java Technology Roundtable panel.


Simon Phipps: Welcome. Nice to see you all. This [roundtable] started out as a Java, [or] a J2EE, dissection session just after J2EE got going, and this year it's really a broader perspective of the Java platform that we're going to take. To get started, I would be really pleased for us all to introduce ourselves so that people can get familiar with the voices, and what I'd really like us to do—some of you already have one of these but I know you all don't have one—if there was going to be a Wikipedia entry about you, I wonder what would be the synopsis of your Wikipedia entry. If you understand the rules of Wikipedia, it's very important that it's a neutral point of view, no self promotion, warts and all description. Now to make this easy, the one person at the table that I know does have a Wikipedia entry is Tim Bray. So, Tim, what does your Wikipedia entry say about you?

Tim Bray: I'm old. I work for Sun, and I am a long-time Web geek, a heavy Web geek. Unless I manage to cure cancer or bring peace to the Middle East, my gravestone will talk about XML.

Phipps: Right. And that's because?

Bray: Well, I was there.

Phipps: Okay. That's what matters. Sam, what does your Wikipedia entry say about you?

Sam Pullara: It probably discusses how I was at WebLogic since basically right after the founders, and I've gone progressively even further down the Java path, even since then, as a member of the JSR teams and as a member of the open source community. So hopefully it would say something about the contributions I've made there.

Phipps: Excellent. Thank you. Mike, what's in your Wikipedia entry?

Mike Milinkovich: Poor golfer, better hockey coach, moose hunter… The programming language that I spent the most time with was Smalltalk, and I spent a lot of time in that world. [I] sort of bounced back and forth between large company and small ever since I started my career, from Nortel to a startup, to IBM to a startup, to Oracle to a startup, not for profit with Eclipse—and that was the ultimate startup. I was the first guy there and not even so much as a bank account when I started, so it was a fresh piece of paper.

Phipps: Excellent. Mr. Gingell, what's in your Wikipedia entry?

Rob Gingell: Well, I don't hunt moose. I do fly airplanes. I really wish I was doing that now instead of answering these questions. Let's see. I am the chief technology officer and vice president of product development at a startup called Cassatt Corporation. I suspect I'm here because prior to that I spent 20 years at Sun where I was chief engineer and head of the JCP. If I have an epitaph, I hope it says "arbiter of good systems takes.

Phipps: Sounds cool. Ari, what's in your Wikipedia entry?

Ari Zilka: Probably something about building extremely scalable e-commerce systems for Walmart.com based on Tomcat. Founding Terracotta and being religious, definitely to a fault, about not exposing to developers an API to solve what belongs in infrastructure. And that hopefully some day it says he was the first guy to successfully deliver customer-usable cluster JVMs.

Phipps: Larry, what's in your Wikipedia entry?

Larry Cable: What's in my Wikipedia entry? Loud, opinionated, Scottish, wearer of bright shirts, driver of fast cars… All four companies I have worked for have disappeared off the face of the map. Hopefully, my current one, BEA, won't. Probably a suitable epitaph would be many, many of my programming errors have appeared in industry standard technologies such as Linux, versions of Unix, XWindows, specs of the Java platform, some of which I'm quite proud of—JSP—some of which less so—BeanContext. I think that would probably be a fitting epitaph.

Phipps: That sounds like several pages.

Cable: I'm working on it.

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