Since SUN was bought by Oracle, many people are speculating what is going on at Oracle, and how this will affect the future of Java. When you are relying heavily on java for your daily work, it is obviously extremely interesting, what is going to happen with java. At least I don't want to become a COBOL developer. So speculating about the future comes natural. But as a saying goes: Predictions are difficult, especially when they are concerned with the future. So I think there are two things which are more important to consider then what is actually going on at Oracle:

What are the signs to look out for, that Java is turning into just another kind of COBOL?

What are you going to do when these signs show up?

For many the answer to the first question obviously will be: Java already is the new COBOL. It's true in the sense that there exists tons of legacy codes, which will continue to exist for the decades to come. But Java has still a big difference: Tons of new projects get started. This includes commercial products as well as FOSS.

Another difference compared to COBOL is: Java is moving forward. Java 7 is (still) announced for 2010, and possibly more significant, new languages are living on the JVM, like Scala, Groovy and Clojure.

This leads to the signs, that mark the point in time to switch to something different:

So one day you will notice, that to many of the indicators mentioned above are flashing at you. What do you do?

Of course your mileage will vary but for me, it is about time to consider alternatives to Java. That is one of the reasons, why I learned a little Scala, why I will learn groovy and grails, and why I will have a look at Clojure. I'll do personal projects doing those. And I am marketing that decision right now.

And even if Java stays healthy and Scala dies, I'll profit from learning new languages and concepts.