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Bill Gates on Java

Saturday, April 5, 1997 by Dave Winer.

Here's some of what Bill Gates, billg@microsoft.com, is thinking about on a Saturday morning.

"When Microsoft wanted to do Java, Sun told us we had to help fund JavaSoft in a big way and do a lot of other things, so we did what they asked. When Sun wanted to clone Windows they didn't call us or pay us or anything. Which is open Java or Windows?

"Why are they trying to create a religion with purity concepts? Is native code compilation so bad? Is being able to call a platform a bad thing? Most languages can call the database libraries, multimedia libraries, graphics and text libraries that have already been created. They are insisting everything be rebuilt.

"Imagine a pure application running on the Macintosh - no clipboard calls. No desktop integration. No scripting support. People rejected every application on the Mac that didn't exploit the platform. Now this is being demanded as part of the Java religion. Is this driven by what users want or what an industry insider wants?

"Microsoft embraces Java as one of the languages that people will develop in - in fact we brought good debugging to Java and we have the best performance VM. Our AFC libraries give people graphics and UI richness. So we are one of the companies involved in Java but we think C, Visual Basic and other languages will still be of great importance. We have an advance in our object model we will show next month that allows all languages to work together with some big benefits.

"As long as we are talking about Java, another important thing to disclose to people is that 16-bit machines (the 60 million computers running Windows 3.1) will never have usable Java performance. Netscape never went final with their 16-bit VM. Sun didn't even do one. Netscape claims they will do one with Communicator but Communicator won't fit on 90% of 16-bit PCs. Our Caffeine marks were tripled recently from 13 to 41 but it's too slow to be usable. We are over 1000 on Win32.

"All languages are independent of hardware assuming you have the right code generator. Most applications require operating system services whether it's a duplicate operating system on top of the main one or the primary OS on the machine.

"Of 6 emails I sent early on a Saturday morning I have already had responses to 4 of them. You, Esther Dyson and 2 Microsoft people. It's kind of crazy how much people are available on email but it's very nice."

© Copyright 1994-2004 Dave Winer. Last update: 2/5/07; 10:50:05 AM Pacific. "There's no time like now."