Global CIO: Danger, Danger, Larry Ellison: The T-Shirts Are Coming! - InformationWeek
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9/3/2010
12:18 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: Danger, Danger, Larry Ellison: The T-Shirts Are Coming!

Instead of campaigning to marshal support against Ellison's Java plans, Java creator Gosling has trivialized the issue with his insipid T-shirt "protest."

Picture this boxing match:

"In this corner, we have reigning champeen Larry Ellison, one of the world's most-competitive individuals whose hyperdriven personality has created the largest business-software company in the world, won the America's Cup, created enormous influence across the globe, and generated staggering wealth.

"And in the other corner, we have brilliant challenger James Gosling, who led the creation of the magnificent Java software product and is now designing T-shirts to try to convince the champion to change his mind."

But wait a minute, wait a minute—that's not fair, because I've seriously short-changed the challenger. In addition to the T-shirts that are at the center of his battle plan, Gosling is also offering coffee mugs, pin-on buttons, and refrigerator magnets bearing the same slogans as the T-shirts.

And not just any slogans—these are guaranteed to be even more menacing than face-to-face staredowns. Slogans like "Java" and "Just Free It" and "We're Long Past 1984."

Those slogans, Gosling said, will "let Larry know you care".

Yes, indeedy: Ali-Frazier was the Thrilla In Manilla, and this is one's gonna be Nitroglicero In San Francicero. . . .

I don't know James Gosling, but in reading the exchanges he's had with commenters to his blog post announcing his T-shirt battle plan, he comes across as sincere, smart, friendly, and not at all full of himself. Seems like a great guy, and one you'd want very much to connect with during Oracle Open World as he promises to "cruise the disreputable bars in the neighborhood looking for interesting parties" (second comment in thread).

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And as for his Java creation, well, that secures for Gosling a place among the most-influential developers the enterprise-software era will ever know.

But his T-shirt campaign is simply silly. Worse yet, it's counterproductive. And here's why:

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