Oracle gets media-shy, hosting its first (Sun) Tech Days in India

Extends developer mela to two other cities,but limits them to techies.
In January this year, when James Gosling, the Father of Java, erected a tombstone to Sun on his blog, we noted that the Sun had indeed set – following the company’s acquisition by Oracle in $ 7.4 billion acquisition a year ago. But we were encouraged to find ( and applauded the fact ) that at Sun’s biggest annual gathering of developers in India – the SunTechDays in Hyderabad, it was to be business as usual. ( see our story "Sun sets -- but SunTechDays set to go on"  )

We spoke too soon. Yes, the event did go off – on March 24-25 – but we are unable to provide our readers with the spot coverage they had a right to expect. Because in its new avatar as an event hosted by Oracle for the first time, “Tech Days” as it is now called, was not open to the media. Yes, James Gosling was there and as always, his opening keynote ( we hear) drew a standing-room-only crowd of India’s best and brightest programming geeks. Gosling is now CTO of Oracle’s Client Server Software group and he has been quoted as saying “Oracle is incredibly committed to keeping Java and the whole ecosystem as strong and healthy as can be” (InfoWorld March 17). Other key speakers included Angela Caicedo, a technology evangelist and Abhishek Mahanty a member of the Architecture Solutions Team at Sun Microsystems.

However, for the Indian print and electronic media, the annual SunTechDays was an opportunity to meet with Java and open source icons like Gosling and to report on the innovations in Java and Solaris, flowing from India to the world – as reflected in the proceedings. Clearly, Oracle sees no value in an open ( I mean this, in the literal sense) environment, where the key elements of information shared with Indian developers, are widely disseminated to lay Indian readers and television viewers.
This is unprecedented.
There are a couple of dozen developer events in India every year, hosted by leading software and device players from Microsoft TechDays to Yahoo Hack Days, Google CodeJam, CA World, Nokia Developer Summit, VM World and SAP TechEd to similar events by WindRiver, ThoughtWorks, Sybase and  many others – and all of them without exception, welcome the Indian media. Indeed, some of them, use these events to set up dozens of interview opportunities with visiting thought leaders.

Ironically, Oracle has been doing the same – and I have attended editions of OracleWorld, both here and abroad and enjoyed stimulating times ( and great story opportunities).
Oracle is holding a ‘lite’ version of its Hyderabad event in Bangalore and Chennai on March 26 – but again, I am not aware of any invitations to the media.
This is a bad precedent for India-based IT, bad for Indian software developers – and an appalling signal that Oracle is sending out.
International ( mainly American) technology companies operating in India, have set a splendid example of media outreach and sharing in all their activities. Oracle has been no different – so I see the current media shut out of their Sun-related events in India as an aberration; hopefully a phase that they will get over, as they embrace the rich value of their acquisitions: Java, Solaris and Sun. They know and we know. that the jewel in the crown is Java’s largest body of developers – which is in India. Let the story be told of how they these technologies thrived under Oracle colours. Throw open your doors, Oracle!

Anand Parthasarathy

Link to TechDays