Industry pundits have speculated on Oracle's ability to be stewards for Java. Since when does a good technology steward prevent adoption of said technology? Can you say greedy-failure?
I tried to register for the Oracle Certified Master, Java EE 5 Enterprise Architect (formerly SCEA) certification today. After the initial sticker shock of $900 for the cert, I soon realized that Oracle has increased the price by making it mandatory to take one of their training classes in order to gain this certification. I guess they do this for several of their other certifications. That is another several thousand or so. Mind the reader, they are not requiring that you take all the courses that would teach you about the different technology concerns in the architecture certification. So, where is the value of making candidates take a class if they can choose the simple "Web Component Development with Servlets & JSPs" or "Java Programming Language"? What architect cannot write servlets and JSPs, or not understand their positioning? What architect does not know the difference between HashMap and a Hashtable?
In my opinion, this is a blatant act of greed and a splendid display of stupidity. Oracle (and its mindless sycophants) can certainly argue that this move strengthens the value of this certification. Utter twaddle-speak says I! Pricing a certification to make it unreachable does not make it more valuable to the industry in aggregate; it just makes it unreachable. This benefits no one, but Oracle and those already certified.
I (along with several contemporaries) believe this will severely limit the certification to those of us not already engaged in austerity measures (self imposed or not), brought on by the poor economy. Are those the boundaries that Oracle was actually hoping for? With this callous, and extremely short-sighted folly, they have effectively isolated a segment of Java architects not backed financially by an organization willing to pay the ridiculous expense. They have created a class of Java technologists based solely on monetary funds available to the technologist. Way to go Oracle!
Instead of making the exam more valuable by making it harder to pass (currently you need a 57% to pass the "multiple-guess" exam, part 1 of the exam trilogy) , they seem to be trying to make it more valuable by placing it out of reach, monetarily. Technology is supposed to facilitate the crossing of economic boundaries, not put in place those of its own making. This myopic move will only further dilute the viability of Java as an enterprise solution. There is already a split within the Java community, many of us embracing the simplicity and reuse of the multiple technologies (Spring, Hibernate, Freemarker, Groovy, etc.) not directly espoused by the EE spec and leaving the complexities of EJBs and JSF behind. I mean, I can certainly specify and write EJB 3.x and JSF; I just choose not to in most cases. And do not even get me started on Oracle's WebLogic platform.
Large corporations seem to have a knack for destroying technologies with "kinetic stupidity". IBM and Lotus Notes/Domino anyone? However, isolating an entire segment of your long-time supporters just to make a few more dollars is just a colossal failure. They had an opportunity here to move in a positive direction. In true monolithic fashion, they took the opportunity to miss that opportunity. It seems that they chose to increase their bottom-line at the expense of the community that has bolstered Java for the last decade or so.