Java in the real world
Having been to FOSDEM, at some of the same Java talks as Damon, I can more or less confirm his account of things. To understand it, you have to remember that the world is very rarely black and white, as the Daily-Mail-esque headlines of some of the tech press would want you to think, but is generally shades of grey.
Yes the atmosphere at FOSDEM was a bit tense but most attendees were grown up and were ready to hear what Oracle had to say before pillorying them. And Oracle did the right thing in addressing the problems head on and then concentrating on the technical aspect of things. So the impression I got is that the technical people at Oracle are trying to do the right thing for the Java language and the community (which is not the same thing) while having to navigate carefully around the controversy generated by the accountants and lawyers.
Do I agree with the way Oracle as a corporation has managed Java since acquiring it? No but I understand the situation their techies are in, having been in similar situations myself where what is good from an accountant's point of view is anathema from a technical point of view.
Do I agree with Damon that Oracle understand they have been clumsy and can't afford to drop the ball on Java any further? Yes, you just have to look at their Fusion middleware portfolio: if they fuck up Java, they fuck up a large revenue stream. And this is why I am reasonably optimistic about Java and why I think Oracle will try to do the right thing in the end: they can't afford not to.
The point Damon is trying to make about Java on his Mac is simply that from JDK 7 onwards, the Mac OS-X implementation will be delivered by Oracle rather than Apple and should follow shortly after the Windows, Linux and Solaris implementations.
Last but not least, the areas where Java could be easily replaced by another language are mobile and desktop (JME, JSE), which is a tiny fraction of the install base and not where Oracle traditionally makes money. Java EE is a completely different kettle of fish, not because of the language but because of the API and platform that goes with it and this is also where Oracle makes money. In order to support their business, they need the JEE platform to keep being successful and in order to do that they need JSE and Java as a language to keep being successful. And to be honest, every single company I've dealt with recently that has a significant investment in JEE has no intention of reducing it, rather the opposite.