Oracle and Sun: JSF Comes Full Circle
So, the big news today is that Oracle is buying Sun. This is definitely the biggest thing to happen to Java since it's original release (not to mention the rest of Sun's portfolio). Overall, I believe Java is in pretty good hands. Oracle has bet their entire non-database business on Java. It's their lingua franca, the basis of the Oracle Fusion Middleware stack, which includes the entire BEA portfolio (WebLogic, Tuxedo, JRockit, etc.), JDeveloper, Coherence, and tons of other development and server products. More importantly, Fusion Middleware is the technical foundation of Oracle's next-generation Fusion product line, which includes their original business applications, plus PeopleSoft, Siebel, and JD Edwards applications.
The Fusion applications are built using Oracle ADF Faces Rich Client, and run on Fusion Middleware. So, not only is Java central to their application stack, but so is JavaServer Faces --- ADF Faces Rich Client is a suite of JSF components, built on top of the open source Apache MyFaces Trinidad component suite. ADF Faces Rich Client is so important for Oracle's strategy, they even have a site to explain how these new "Rich Enterpise Applications (REAs)" work.
So, I think we can all rest assured that JSF is in good hands -- it's a core piece of Oracle's strategic foundation. IBM, on the other hand, has less incentive to care. However, they've been making quite a few improvements to Rational Application Developer's JSF tooling over the past few releases, and they have also been contributing to MyFaces 2.0. So, given the fact that they already have quite a few JSF customers, and it's gaining market share, I don't expect that to change too much. I don't think things will change too much for JBoss/Red Hat, either, except they may no longer enjoy such a close relationship with Sun.
What's funny about the JSF RI becoming part of Oracle is that in many ways, the framework is coming full circle. JSF 1.0 was heaving influenced by Oracle UIX. ADF Faces Rich Client is, in essence, a very advanced version of UIX.
Time will tell how well this merger works out, which product lines will survive, and so on. No doubt, the landscape has changed. Let's just hope that Oracle improves the Java Community Process instead of ditching it, and that the platform remains as open and prevalent as it is today (or even more so).