Thursday, 30 June 2005
So, this week was my first JavaOne. It felt like most other industry conferences; an exhibition floor, free lunches, good technical sessions, and so forth.
The big news this year was Microsoft; they had quite a few MSFT people present, to demonstrate interoperability between Java and .NET. This included a panel session that I participated in; if anybody was there, I’d love to hear feedback in comments (or e-mail).
Anyway, yesterday evening’s entertainment was a large conference hall filled with semi-surrealistic lighting, video games, pizza, beer, nachos, hamburgers and hot dogs; in short, a fairly accurate caricature of geek “culture,” such as it is.
After that, they had another large hall featuring a fairly well-known stand-up comedian. What started as a pretty funny monologue (despite him being apparently half-drunk) turned into what I could only describe as a Bush Campaign 2004 Rally Revival, full of jokes at the expense of the rest of the world, frank admiration for Bush and Cheney, and plenty of disparaging, puerile remarks about Clinton and Kerry.
Here’s a little tip, McNealy and friends; politics and business generally don’t mix. Especially when you’re hosting a conference that draws from a global crowd, and especially when statistically, your views (apparently; why else would you hire him and allow him to speak his mind?) are in the minority. And, especially when you ask people for a few grand for the privilege.
I won’t get into why I believe the politics were wrong; that’s a (hopefully) civilized discussion that people can have if they choose. Forcing them on your business partners and customers is another thing entirely. I left early.