The headline for a recent InfoWorld article about Oracle’s plan for Java reads, “Java’s Future Uncertain Under Oracle’s Grip.” Interesting choice of words, since we usually reserve grip to describe things like Stalin’s handling of Eastern Europe after WWII.

The tone of the article is a lot less dire than the headline might suggest. Of course, no one knows exactly what will happen to Sun’s IP, post-acquisition, but messing up Java is probably one of the worst possible outcomes, from Oracle’s point of view. (OpenOffice, on the other hand…)

As the article recognizes, Oracle has been “more focused on monetizing its technology than Sun has been.” Which might not be all bad, considering how at least one aspect of Java, the JSRs, might benefit from a bit more market discipline.

All we can say at this point is that Oracle’s handling will be different. However, it’s way too early to say in what ways it will differ from Sun’s Java strategy, or even the magnitude of difference, which might turn out to be negligible. Java is now so widely adopted that even Oracle might have a hard time screwing with it, even if the company wanted to.